Infidelity's Paradox: Is It Better to Stay and Try to Heal or Walk Away?

Samuel answers a viewers question about when it's better to walk away from your spouse.

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Lies, Narcissism and Trauma

My wife and I are in our 33rd year of marriage. We have been going through recovery for over 16 months now. Over that time, I have caused her great pain and trauma by revealing truths in bits and pieces, lying, withholding and couching information, in spite of her pleas to reveal everything all at once. Through much research on our own (thanks to my wife) it seems pretty clear that I have strong introverted narcissistic tendencies that have caused me to act in extremely selfish ways throughout our marriage, including over the last 16 months with the slow and painful revelation of truth. At the same time, my wife, who grew up an only child with a narcissistic single mother, is an emotional and empathetic person who has always supported our children and myself. She is extremely sensitive to selfish behaviours, especially related to dishonesty. She has been traumatized by my behaviour, and is showing signs of complex PTSD. She suffers from extreme anger, depression and emotional pain, especially following an episode of my lying or withholding truth. We are at a point now where I have revealed all the truth that I can recall, much of which has revealed past dishonesty. The problem is that when I have a new thought that needs to be revealed, I still can have a tendency to lie or delay telling it. My wife is at a point now where even the slightest digression is a trigger for her traumatic feelings. We both want to put this past us and move ahead with our lives together. What can we do in this situation?

so glad you reached out.

graciously, yet pointedly, you absolutely need our ems weekend and our expert staff my friend.  it will be life changing for you and for her.  we can also do some trauma care at the weekend with her that will help immensely.  it's the best suggestion I can make for you.  it's everything you need and more my friend.  i promise you that. 

Walking Away - everyone thinks I should

After 15 months of stress, fear, abandonment, shame, guilt etc etc etc I am lost. Dealing with a husband - the unfaithful - who is either so overcome with guilt and shame that he has shut down, or conversely - really doesn't know or want to fix what he sees as a "minor" indiscretion. Finding the "right" counselor has not happened.. Our first couples session was a disaster. The second was lack of knowledge by the counselor. Now my husband is unwilling to participate. He feels that they are only sessions to "bash him" with no reconstructive ability.

Multiple counselors that I have sought out for my own "rescuing" have asked me what I'm waiting for. One advised me "file for divorce" to test the water if you will - call his bluff.

I just need his willing participation to do what it takes to ease my anger, fear, anxiety. - to help save "us." I'm too old to start over again.

Walking away will not be easy. Neither will be staying.

This is not the story i wanted to write for my life.