A Recovery Timeline

It’s easy to find yourself hopeless and exhausted during the process of recovery. Let’s face it, this whole ordeal is a nightmare for everyone involved, none more so than the betrayed spouse obviously. Time and time again though, I find couples who are exasperated not by the infidelity per se, but the frustration of trying to heal on their own, or with a ‘one size fits all’ counseling approach. Let me be so bold to tell you that’s a recipe for disaster. With no desparaging remarks towards any counselor or pastor, rabbi, priest or layman, the fact is unless they have been through it, and are an expert, they will not get it.

I say pretty boldly that Rick saved my life and saved our marriage. Yes we had to do work, and we had to plough through the process (and my darkness and dysfunction) but without an expert like him, I have no idea what life would look like.

Regardless of our own unique situation, we need an accurate timeline to shoot for. I have posted one below. It’s optimal as one would hope that a couple and spouse, would shoot for this. It’s impossible for the timeline to make allotment for a spouse who refuses to try or continues to hide information, or PTSD on behalf of the betrayed, that’s why I say this is optimal and something we should hope for.

Regardless, you’ll notice it’s not an overnight deal and it’s a process. Dare I say a, painful, difficult, and excruciating process at times. Please take a look at it and I hope it gives you some insight into what we should hope for. Sometimes we get it, sometimes it’s longer, but my emphatic point is, it is evolving in it’s nature. If you want to read Rick’s full article, you can find it here:


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Best case scenario

I usually love your blog but I do think this is a very unrealistic graph to show because there are too many variables. I do not believe it is healthy to set lofty expectations, especially for the betrayed spouse. It is hard enough to have an effective recovery without this fear that we are not healing fast enough. And sometimes, especially if you have a spouse that struggles with empathy and understanding, the marriage cannot heal as quickly. I wish there was no such graph because I think the less than sensitive spouse can also use it as evidence that we should just "get over it".

lofty expectations....

Hi Monroe. thank you for your comment and your kind words. i'm sorry the post upset you, but I do believe we have to have some sort of graph to give us some expectations. early on, i had no clue what to look for. i wondered if the rest of our lives together would be chaotic and uncertain. i had no graph to look at or see, till we found Rick. it helped us. we were ahead of schedule in many ways, but then struggled with some things that couples easily overcome. so while i'm sorry it's concerning to you, this is a bit of a guide post to look to for clarity and understanding. like alluded to though, the fact is, everyone grows at different levels. some will excel in some areas like forgiveness, but struggle in other areas like reminders and sexual intimacy. i hope it wont upset you and send you reeling, but give you some insight into what to expect and what to hope for and be concerned about if it's not happening. if the spouse is using this as evidence to 'just get over it' then I'd vouch for you to stand your ground and get the help necessary from a third party to help him see he has just crossed over to a place of stubbornness and disconnection. i'm sorry for any hurt you suffered because of the timeline. i hope you'll still find help on the site and in the blog. if i can help at all, i'm all ears.

I healed in 5 months so when

I healed in 5 months so when I look at the graph I think it is way overstated but that is me I see nothing wrong with the graph from what I am hearing from the other couples in our group the graph seems to be pretty close. I think it can be helpful from what I hear if people did not have some gage to compair themselves to they could lose hope' I thought 5 months was a long time I could not even think what it would be like going into the second year and still struggling but that is the norm and knowing that can be a confort to the ones who are struggling. I think the graph is a good thing. I know for me it has been an eye opener and how blessed I have been to have healed so quickly. Now our marriage still has work to do and my unfaithfull wife may still not be healed but I am and am sure of that. I think the key to my healing was my knowing and being able to forgive verticaly very early on and I mean early on with in days of d-day which was so helpful for me to beable to look at my wife in a positive almost from the start. Oh I struggled with pain and all the rest had to keep a towl in the truck for when at work I flooded I could go out side and recover but I was able to use the stable times I had to process what had just happened and make plans to mend and heal at just over 3 months we started EMSO but my healing was well on I was in the pretend normal stage at the start of it but flooding was almost not a problem by then. Anyway if you have a spouse that tries to hold someone to a chart even when it states that it is under ideal conditions then there is more problems there then having a graph posted here. Thank you Samual for your blogs I still look forward every week to reading them.

Starting over

This timeline is helpful until you have done the work for 20 months, felt that you were ready to commit to the marriage again, finally reached forgiveness, and then you have a series of new revelations about your spouse's affairs come to light. You find out he has been lying to you about the depth and scope of his affairs not only for the past 20 months in his most recent affair, but for the past 18 years in a previous affair. So back to the beginning I go! I am shattered again, only more so because, if the truth had been told at the beginning, we would well be on our way through recovery or maybe even completely healed and reconciled by now. Now I have to begin again and try to figure out who this person is that I married, grieve the new revelations, deal with the re-shattered trust, and see if I can get past the selfishness that he demonstrated for lying at the beginning. He watched me hurt for those months and never seemed to care. This may take way longer than the 18-24 months on this timeline. I don't know if I can make it through the process again. I am so very weary of it all. So, so sad.

I am so sorry for your pain

I am so sorry for your pain and frustration this is part of the problem of affairs recovory programs they tend to have the hurt ones personal recovery dependent on the unfaithful ones willingness to help. Now think about that you are bependent on healing from a lieing cheat don't mean to be mean but it is the truth. Then every time they fail you are starting over again, that's just not fair or easy to deal with. In my own healing I relied on my relationship with Christ to heal not my wife. I handled everything on a bibical point of view. Christ said he would never leave me or forsake me. From there I started my healing, finding my worth as a person from his point of view. Learning to trust him lean on him. It did take some time for me to seperate my feelings from my situation and start to look at the trial I was facing was alouded by God for my good and that something was needed to be learned by this. Once I was able to start to think this way everything else was not as baf as I was making things into. I was learning to get my meaning of what was going on from Christ and not my situation I was going through. When you can start to look for good ib bad situations you will be amazed how quickly you gain real hope I was not alone. Someone of great power was with me and had great value of me. Then when about 1 1/2 months I found out about a near 2 year online affair that took place before the one I just found out about complete with the chat messages and cyber sex I was not shaken and sent back to the begining I was learning when I get my value from man I will get hurt. I pray you will be able to find your true value in Christ and heal.

thanks for the comment dfulcher

appreciate the compliment and glad to hear about the positive healing and momentum you're experiencing. it's a journey indeed my friend. your compliment means more than you know.

Samuel you are very welcome

Samuel you are very welcome you are in dead offering hope to many people coming here to read. It is a shame that you write from I hate the term unfaithful side (so how to me always calling someone unfaithfull can be harmful in the long run I have seen and read many times that many of the ones who have affairs are trapped by their own emotions and not done on purpose, emotions can be a powerfully allied or curse but we lable them unfaithfull yes they were but to continue to give them that title after time when they have reformed and trying to over come much I feel may tend to just start to do more harm then good, please do not ask what term I would use instead I do not know but unfaithful to me sounds very harsh good at the begining but need of change after time) I would so love to hear the thoughts and trials of the faithful side. Even though you have been through much and your wife may have been very good at explaining what she had gone through it is not the same. Knowing some of her thoughts at times and how she delt with them could be real helpful to many. Even Rick is from the dark side and he may have been through so much with so many he did not expearance the same thing and you can tell from his comments. In a sence you and Rick do write as if guilt still has a sway on you. Not saying that is bad but it does effect your comments. Again I do look forward to you blogs. The more informed I am the better I am to be able to be p repaired for what ever may come my way.


What is the normal time period for my spouse to "get it", and begin to have empathy and compassion? It has been 7 weeks since D-Day and he is still angry and indignant whenever it comes up. He has become obsessively secretive with his phone, and laptop. Hiding his phone from sight at all times, and hiding his laptop in a lock-box in the basement. He says that OW is only a sexual partner whom he likes very much, but I have been hearing about her since we met. He says She is so much fun, and smart, and sexually liberated...etc...he insists that she is a good friend, and that I am paranoid and crazy and jealous for being upset that he wants to continue seeing her. He says that if I don't just "get over it", it will eat me like a cancer. He says that I just don't understand that monogamy is unnatural and that just because he needs to have other relationships, it doesn't mean he doesn't love me. It is my emotional immaturity that is causing me pain. That I am the one who doesn't "get it".

Just Reading this

I am just now reading this. I am just wondering how PTSD plays into affair recovery. I have been diagnosed with it. I am on medication, my husband and I are seeing a therapist that has helped our relationship, but I don't know what to do to recover from the PTSD. The affair opened up a lot of trauma from my childhood and the affair was discovered while I was still recovering from the death of my mother, which I was told was the first trigger for the PTSD and because of my mothers health issues and being the only one that cared for her I saw things a daughter should never have to see. My mother lost her, toe, then her foot, then her leg. Next was the other leg. This was after a month of being in the hospital while they tried several different things to save her legs.
I am just looking for direction on what sort of help I should be seeking for myself.


i'm so sorry for you pain my friend. that's devastating to say the least. here are two pieces from the site on it: https://www.affairrecovery.com/13181-2 https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founders/2009-12 it can absolutely exacerbate the entire process if not dealt with appropriately. some of the toughest situations I have seen have been because the betrayed spouse had ptsd and didn't want to acknowledge it or get help to treat it. the pain of it all is immense enough, add ptsd to it and it ramps it all up. there is hope for you my friend, but you can't proceed as though everything is as common and as normal as usual ....it will need some specificity to treat it but YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT. if i can do anything else, please let me know. id read the articles and then see if they help...i'll also be glad to talk to rick about it.

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