5 Reasons the Betrayed Spouse Gets Stuck in Recovery

Samuel provides insight into just a few reasons the betrayed spouse can find their recovery paralyzed.

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Thanks you.

Thank you for your dedication to continue to help others.

You mentioned one of the issues you and Samantha had was you feeling like she tried to control or manage your recovery. I have been so guilty of that with my husband. Why do you think so many unfaithful spouses drag their feet in this area?

thank you....

thank you for the kind words SLM.  there is a litany of reasons why they drage their feet.  shame, despair, hopelessness, self absorption, refusal to get expert help, still involved with their affair partner, bitterness, anger, and so many more.  anything that has significance in their life can hold them back without the right help. it's so hard to pin point but you can see it varies across the board.  sometimes it's pure uncertainty if they want to stay in the marriage, or sometimes, and this isn't a subliminal jab, but sometimes it's because the betrayed spouse enables the dysfunction and so they stay stuck in patters that only create more damage. 

hope that helps.


Talking without shaming


Thank you for these video's. Your video's on Youtube are what brought us to AR.

We are about half way through EMSO, and are still really struggling. Because of our situation I still deal with a lot of trigger and flooding. I think I wrestling with all of the problems you discuss, minus having my own affair.

How do I tell her what is currently bothering me, without shaming, or hurting her? What tends to happen is that I will be upset, and we start talking. It is something related to the affair, or her ambivalence, and later she will tell me that what I said hurt her feelings or I was throwing the affair in her face. During the conversation I talk about how I feel (scared, hurt, sad), or how her actions/words worry, or hurt me. I have even started saying during the conversation something like, "I'm not trying to shame you, just tell you where I'm at right now."

I sometimes wonder if I'm doing my part of the conversation correctly, but because she is really wrestling with shame, she add it to the conversation and then attributes it to my words.

Any help with this would be appreciated.

hey bulldog...

thank you for your kind words.  shame is a tough thing.  it will twist, turn and contort anything to make it about them and not you.  it may be a good suggestijon to have her do the hope for healing course on the site so that an objective curriculum can confront her about her shame and how it may be causing her to see things only from her perspective and not yours.  also, i'm not sure how far into this you are, but early on, i was the same way.  it will take time and it will take the process to get her to be more empathetic and remorseful and to not make it about her.  it will take transformation for sure, but at least you're doing the ems online right now.  you may consider saying to her, at a safe time when things are going well, 'i'd like to talk to you about something that's not about the infidelity per se, but more about our communication.  when i feel flooded, unsafe, or grief, i want to connect with you about it and don't want to shame you.  how would you like me to communicate at those times?  what can i do to process this with you, without you trying to fix it, feeling shamed, or hiding, or worse getting defensive?'  now that doesn't always work well and she may not be able to do it, but at least you have tried to get her to hear you outside of a fight.  she will most likely never hear you if you're already in the middle of a toxic conversation that's already teetering on emotion and shame ya know?  so it's a bit of a tight rope now, but won't always be that way.  she really will need hope for healing and maybe to help her see that you're committed you may consider the harboring hope course for men.  which, will help for sure with flooding and triggers.  tell me your thougths on what i've shared and we'll continue the dialogue.  or you can email me at samuel@hope-now.com my friend.


Sad and Stuck

First, thank you for your blog. My husband and I watch every video and are struggling with reconciliation. It’s been a year since I discovered my husband’s affair. He is full of shame and remorse and says he is willing to do anything to reconcile. But I can’t seem to get past being hurt and angry. We’ve been seeing a therapist a marriage counselor together and individually for a year. I think the part that’s the hardest is that he never told me he was unhappy or feeling lonely. I would at times sense something was wrong but he would remain distant and silent. His affair lasted over a year, was 5 or 6 physical acts only, and ended long before I found out. It’s tough to understand how he could do that over that length of time and still look me in the eye. I would ask him if there was someone else and he would always insist no. I absolutely was shocked to find that he was capable of such betrayal as it is completely out of character. We have been married for almost 30 years, have 2 wonderful kids and have generally had a happy family life. Apparently there was something missing for him that he now calls “loneliness” but I believe it was self imposed. What would make it easier for a man to turn to a physical relationship with an unavailable women instead of confiding in his wife, who he claims to love? He says she could have been anyone and he regrets using her for sex, and seems genuinely sad and regretful, yet he can not explain his choices. My lack of understanding keeps me stuck. I would like to be on a better path. She was married as well and he really had to throw out his integrity to be with her, which is completely out of character. I would have bet my life (as would everyone who knows him) that he was not capable of such actions. Looking back, he also says can’t believe his choices. How does a betrayed spouse accept that they will never understand?

same question

I could have written the above paragraph. I would love to hear Samuel's response.

hi there.....deep question indeed..

thank you so much for watching and commenting.  i'm glad the videos help in some small way. 

so for starters, i don't believe 'you'll never understand.'  you will, with time and with proper recovery work.  this series on why they cheated will help:  https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-unfaithful-why-did-they-cheat-part-one-the-role-of-oxytocin  also, this series on the mindset of the unfaithful and how they are able to cheat and make the choices they make will help you make sense of the entire process:   


also, seeing a therapist usually (and i mean this delicately) usually, is not enough. you need recovery work that's 'infidelity-specific' not generalized care.  have you done anything like that?  here are my suggestions for infidelity specific help:  

https://www.affairrecovery.com/programs-and-courses  if you did as many of those programs as you could, it will help immensely in terms of understanding why they cheat, what led them to cheat and what is truly going on internally inside you and him.  

let's see what you think after reading those articles and we'll talk again soon.


Comment to blog

Thank you! The videos have helped.
I struggle with telling the OW's husband.
I would like her to know my pain...

I am really struggling with

I am really struggling with the “How could you do this horrible thing?” type of responses to my unfaithful husband. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks since disclosure so I know that more time is needed to grieve. I also know that more time is needed to come to an understanding of some of the complex issues that brought these affairs about (one physical and one non-physical). They both ended the day of disclosure and my husband is feeling such great relief as he had been unsuccessfully struggling to bring them to an end on his own for months. He’s been committing to all the work and very transparent with his marriage supporting friends and our pastor and elders. We are involved in therapy from the first week.
Whenever he answers my questions I find myself unable to stay unemotional and just listen. I just look at him like he’s some stranger and I feel such disdain in that moment, and that usually results in him retreating in shame and disgust at himself, and then that turns to resentment towards me for staring down from a high place and condemning him. I have my own guilt for neglecting him both emotionally and physically for the past few years, I was not a welcoming and affirming spouse.
My anger seems less directed at him and more directed at this terrible event in my life that is threatening my marriage and my security. I sometimes can’t handle the weight of grief and anger at this terrible wound, and I sometimes beat the walls with my hands until they are bruised, crying out to God and asking him how this could have happened. I recognize this is part of grief, the marriage I once knew was destroyed, and also probably because I’m sleep deprived and I’ve lost about 10 pounds in the last three weeks! No wonder I’m a bit crazy with it all.
How do I grieve in a healthy way, and how do I stop shaming my husband who is filled with such remorse? For the for the most part I feel like I am properly grieving. I spend hours weeping and crawling into the lap of my Heavenly Father with my concerns and prayers, and I let him comfort me. I am also able to talk to a few close people in my life and they are a great support. Talking to our counselor has helped too and so are the times that I can lay in close proximity to my husband, and we talk and i cry. Is there more that I can do to grieve this properly? Of course my anger is also wrapped up in this grief and I think that it makes my husband fearful and also burdens him, he feels like a monster and this just makes him feel worse.

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-D, Texas