Surviving Infidelity: Four Ways to Help a Betrayed Spouse See the Unfaithful Spouse Differently

Samuel shares important key principles to repair the lens a betrayed spouse sees their unfaithful partner through.

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Thanks so much to you, your cameraman and the rest of the AR family for continuing to make these videos. In uncertain times, they are a lifeline for those of us who are on this journey with AR. With the disruption of our lives while we are facing a mandatory state order to “Shelter IN Place” for an unknown amount of time, these videos are a blessing.

Hi Samuel,

Hi Samuel,

I've been watching many of your videos/blogs and have signed up for the H4H course. I'm the unfaithful spouse and my wife has requested temporary separation. We are not legally separated but living in different apartments at the moment. I agreed to the separation because I knew that she needed time and space. But since we did not set any conditions for this separation I have no idea what is happening with "us." It's been 8 weeks since D Day and 6 weeks since we've been separated. Communication has improved in the last 3 weeks as we were seeing each other once a week, and this week twice already. We normally have a meal together at my place or hers. I've tried asking her how she's doing and how she's feeling, but she refuses to open up and show/discuss with me. However, this past Saturday, she did ask me how my therapy is going. And I started describing to her what I've been doing and what I have learned thus far, but still have more to understand and work on. It's an on-going process I told her truthfully. And I tried to ask her how she was, and how she was feeling, but she didn't say more than just "I'm doing ok." I sense that she does miss me at times and thinks about us, but she doesn't often reach out. I feel as though I'm mostly the one trying to get in touch with her and initiating contact. Given that she is the one who asked for space, I also do not want to seem needy/annoying to her. How can I tell/judge whether what I'm doing is right or not? And given the separation, how do I help her change the way she sees me? And how are we to work through this if we are separated? I don't even know whether she's decided or not if she wants to work on our marriage. She acts tough as though things seem to be okay but I feel as though it isn't the case. She's lost significant weight and not much appetite to eat, so I've been cooking meals and delivering them over to her. I'm truly confused as to how I can help her heal and show that I care when we are separated and I'm not sure whether she even wants me to be reaching out. Should I stop trying to reach out and wait until she reaches out to me? I just do not want to further push her away by getting in touch too often.

tough call

hi tk_85.  thanks for posting.  every situation is different.  it's a common struggle you're facing and when communication is strained it's very tough to navigate.  i would help her as much as she lets you and i would support her as much as she lets you.  she's probably hesitant to talk much or open up for fear of being taken advantage of, or she's hesitant as she doesn't want to let her guard down, then feel like she was stupid.  i would be extremely patient and compassionate with the day by day interactions while you continue to do all the heavy lifting you can do in your own work.  it's vital you progress in your own healing so that when she does open up and when she does give you a chance to discuss what you've been working on, she hears your heart and sees fruit of it.  hope that helps. 

I am about 14 months past D

I am about 14 months past D-day. I am the betrayed. My husband immediately wanted to focus on our unhappiness in life. He made a mistake in the past, had handled it himself and moved beyond it. His opinion was/is that asking for phone/credit card bills, requiring counseling, etc was demands put on him. We told our children we were divorcing and he move out about 1 year ago. I went to counseling, HH through AR and continue to work on healing. The divorce process has been slow, he owns his own business and was not up to date with bookkeeping. I have discovered some financial infidelity, which he does not seem to understand the significance of. He has recently started asking questions, trying to understand the past and what his deficiencies were and my perspective. On one hand I respect that. On the other, it is very hard mentally to go down that road now/again. I started that for myself over a year ago. I am not sure it is healthy for me to do this. It is emotional and confusing that he would want to do this now. I asked for his purpose. I do have some fear that it is manipulation as he also continues to ask me to drop the divorce process for now, he needs more time to catch up. His reply is wouldn’t it be good to learn from our mistakes and that he would like a friendship more than just being able to get along in front of our kids. We both agree that we do well working together when it comes to the kids. I answered some of his questions and then suggested he and/or we go to a counselor if he has more questions. I can’t say he refused but now wants a reason that a counselor would benefit if we are divorcing. He has had the opinion that he can think for himself and doesn’t need someone else to tell him what to do. I am afraid if I go down this road he will manipulate. He can’t understand why I struggle with feeling safe - he has spent the last year providing financially while going through the divorce process. Does is seem healthy do work on recovery WITH him at this point? I would hate to be blinded by my own fears but I don’t see the benefit at this point. I feel if he wants this healing than maybe he should do it himself. He says he has been doing recovery work - himself. He has not sought outside help or resources.

tough questions...

hi giveittoGod....i'm not sure.   no one really knows his motives and heart but God and him.  the truth is, he may be genuine in his desire to work it out and get healthy...or there could be ulterior motives.  the fact that he STILL isn't open to getting expert help is a red flag to me and very concerning.  if you're wanting to talk things through and if you're wanting to help each other heal or even help YOU heal, why would he be opposed to expert care?  so that's another red flag to me which is concerning for sure. i would go at a pace you feel safe with and comfortable with.  i would also not go in blind and just let your guard down blindly.  i hope that helps and gives you some perspective.  

Thank You

Thank you to Samuel and his cameraman for producing this video.My husband and I just watched it together. Honestly, there are a lot of videos that I can’t watch with him because the people doing the videos often use laughter as a coping mechanism and it is like an arrow to my heart. I’m grateful that I have never seen this in Samuel’s videos. As the BW, I can tell you it means do much to me to be able to watch these videos with my husband, or by myself without being triggered by what seems to be people making light, through laughter, of a life destroying topic. Thanks to Samuel for your professional and serious demeanor, showing equal empathy for both the betrayed and the unfaithful.

thank you my friend

thank you for such kind and encouraging words.  i'm so sorry that's happened to you.  thank you for reaching out my friend.  

I agree with you, 2Blue, that

I agree with you, 2Blue, that laughter often comes across as offensive when it comes to this topic. I often get triggered by the small talk in our group calls, and I guess it's supposed to make it easier for the unfaithful, but it feels disrespectful for me. Just wanted to say I'm with you on that, and I hadn't seen anybody else say that before.

Still OPEN to a miracle and still waiting for one

Samuel, once again I am so encouraged by your vlog today. We are 6 years out from the original D-day. The most recent bomb was 4 mos ago. This time we are venturing down the road of sexual addiction therapy and I am trying to get my head and heart around what recovery is supposed to look like with addiction in the mix. I WANT to see my husband differently! I am being told now that I forgave too quickly in 2014. That I did not give consequences or set healthy boundaries, and that my openness to starting "fresh" only enabled him to string me along while still delving in his secret life. This is TOUGH!! I know that forgiveness is the only way to move forward for both of us. I do not ever want to put a label on anyone other than beloved. I am still believing for a miracle. I know that "I NEED" one as much as he does in order for us to rebuild trust.

thanks for reaching out...

so proud of you.  thank you for your kind words.  well, please don't let yourself feel blamed for his actions though...i'm not sure if i'm reading the info correctly but it's NOT your fault he's done what he's done.  that's on him, not you.  i'm so glad you're encouraged as that's one of my biggest goals in these videos.  thank you again so much for watching and sharing. 

 

It takes TWO to heal

I do realize that it's not my fault. What I can say is that through all of our counselling, intensives, retreats... I have stayed "gracious and forgiving" yet completely honest. I had a deep gut feeling that the acting out was still going on - and that it was not safe to trust. I have longed to feel safe and trust again. If anything this "extended" recovery work has assured me that God has been with me and that He was not letting me be fooled. It has been painful for both of us. But I have also seen how much God loves my husband that he just didn't let him away with it. HE wanted the truth completely out and the wound completely healed. This time around my husband is even talking about HOW we might be able to help other couples. He was never open to that during the last 6 years. I see the relief starting to emerge. He is working on a full disclosure with his CSAT therapist. It hasn't happened yet. I know it will be more pain. I HOPE that we are able to get to "the other side" of this and see each other with new eyes as we embrace transparency as the new standard. I want to be safe for him. I want to forgive and cheer him on as he walks in the light. Please do pray for us!! I hope we get to come down to Texas and share our story of redemption. I know it is possible.

so great to hear and read that my friend.

i'll be praying.  thank you so much for sharing some of your story. 

I only saw a loving caring wife..

Samuel, First of all your videos have been tremendous in helping me get through the worst times of my life. You really "get it". I have a bit of an unusual circumstance that does not get addressed much in all these boards (keep in mind I am in HH, Married for Life, EMSO, individual Therapy, tried EMDR, pastor counseling, and my wife did H4H, and have about 5 close betrayed friends who have worked with me unfortunately all female). I was betrayed 20 years ago and just found out 11 months ago unlike almost every person in all my groups and in talking with others I saw NO as in ZERO problems with my wife or our marriage. I see the statement that you and others make about post infidelity that your marriage is "now better" or we "fixed our deficiencies" to make a better life or marriage. I thought we has a GREAT marriage as did my wife (she really says this even after 16 Ddays) but multiple infidelities over 15 years proves strongly that was not the case. We both are having a hard time saying it can or will be better. I don't know what to do as we never fought, spent a ton of good time together, had God, very supportive church, 33 years together, great families, wonderful hobbies, enough money to make meaningful difference in our lives and others. I see hope in a future but the past which was ripped out from me is now so tainted. How can I wish for a better future when I thought that is the life I had for the last 33 years...I know i have to let go of that but I have to say to this point that is a struggle. We are fairly well known as a "great" couple in my area so I wonder if my pride gets in the way?
I try to live life in an astonishing authentic way so finding a whole secret life of my wife is a wound so large it is hard to describe. Lots wrapped up in the statement above but thanks for all you do and the wonderful help you give others (and to think you were unfaithful! :)

I know I am loved and in a very good spot with God, family, work and life but I counted my wife's support as equal or above all of that.

perhaps there is an addiction...

has your spouse been evaluated for an addiction?  i understand it can be very frustrating to think through it all, but no one simply goes out and has that many affairs without some reasoning and motivation (ie cause).  perhaps an addicition is going on or there are deeper issues?  has anyone evaluated your spouse on a professional, addiction level? 

Addiction

She has been evaluated for addiction and found not to be the case. While I re-read my statement I can see why that you might feel that way. One of the infidelities was a single sexual email, the other was an inappropriate relationship but not a "marriage ender". The other two were full affairs but nothing of that significance in 20 years so one of our therapists said if it was an addiction this list would go on and on (Lord I hope not). So it has been 20 years since full sexual affair but she did stay in contact with one partner and meet him for years. We have looked hard into reasoning but really no one has much of a clue (in fact one therapist has said she has never seen a more compatible happy couple). Almost all our professionals wonder if something happened as a very young girl. All i know is that it is so brutal as I thought we were spectacular. Hard to think about a better future when you thought the past was a 10 of 10 and it was not....All I know it is I have no coherent story (and she has tried), we have no real idea on what happened as she does not remember much, she has not felt she is capable and is very ashamed. Lots of advantaged in our situation but a lot of what the heck!
I am stuck.....help

while it may not be hoping for a better future...

it may be more like finding healing and regaining oneness....without question there is a reason for the infidelity.  a true expert will help you both find that reasoning and help you both with a recovery plan for the future.  i would highly recommend our ems weekend (virtually) so you can have access to rick, and wayne etc and get the answers you're truly looking for.  you can read about it here:  https://www.affairrecovery.com/product/ems-weekend  it's the best thing i could recommend to you to get unstuck my friend.  i hope you'll consider it as i think it will be a true game changer for you both. 

 

EMS Weekend

Samuel,

I am the wife of "WhoStoleMyWife?"
You suggest the virtual EMS week-end. We have already done EMSO and are still in MFL with two other couples. I finished H4H in December and my husband is currently in HH. What would doing the virtual week-end give us that we haven't already had?

Please know that it is an honest question. I am not trying to get out of doing work, but aren't EMSO and EMS week-end basically the same thing?
We have tried two different counselors, but neither specialized in infidelity. Our case is a little different than most since the affairs were about 20 years ago.

Thanks for your videos and all you do to help people restore and repair their marriages.

it's definitely different

the ems weekend is with counselors, experts who have been through infidelity personally and treated it between 15 and 40 years.  sure there is some repeat, but lots of new stuff too since you're dealing with therapists who have been through infidelity.  you will also be evaluated and assessed by a therapist who can speak to your specific issues and help you develop a recovery path for you both.  it would be my suggestion since nothing else is working too well in terms of helping you both.  i know it's tough to find therapists who are experts and i'm sorry it's so tough. 

Betrayed spouse..trying hard to move on

Samuel,
Just started listening to your utube videos. I wish I knew of you 7 years ago. My wife had a long-term affair probably at least 5 years before d-day. Was with our best friends. He got divorced and we decided to work on the marriage. She wouldn't answer any questions and he lived 5 houses down. Walked past my house every night. Long story short. I made it another 5 years....but everytime I felt comfortable, he would show up again. Just one example- a year after d day, his wife ( they were still married) found a phone with my wifes number on it. I finally divorced..if I hadn't I'm sure she would have. I don't want her back. My only question I have left is wondering why I feel like I'll never find someone better. To say I was co-dependant is an understatement. Also, gas lit beyond belief. Any advice on how to just let it go.

hi there...

for starters, how long ago was the divorce final my friend and how long ago was the original disclosure?  it's a normal part of grieving my friend.  you're in many ways, grieving through this process and it takes time to move beyond the pain and trauma of it all.  you'll feel this way for a while...but it will heal and you'll find new life and maybe even new desire for romance and another relationship.  but don't rush it and don't be surprised at the enormous grief you're facing.  i can't say enough about the need to grieve properly as it's essential to your own healing and your own timeline.  what work are you doing to heal?  courses?  professional help? books?  i'll make more suggestions for you if you'll share a few more bits of information and answers to my questions.  take care for now my friend.  be safe.

 

Hi there

Samuel,
I appreciate your reply. We have been officially divorced about a year and a half. D-day was approximately November 2014. She had told me on vacation August 2014 that we had become room mates. On a night in November, she came home with the kids and I asked if she had got my message. She said that she had not gotten any messages in the last couple days. As a christian, I felt the Lord tell me to get the phone and when I did, he spoke to me and very quickly had told me it was in airplane mod. He said to hang on to the phone and when it came back up...all the messages were there. That was discovery for me. We were best friends and our families traveled together. I never knew the extent of the affair, but my guess is probably at least 5-6 years before d-day. Her first text was, He knows...
Long story but she wouldn't answer any questions and would not go to therapy. I went for a 1 1/2. I worked a lot of hours and ran a large retail store ( I worked a lot). She went once and lasted about 15 minutes. She is very introverted and will not share. The 5 years before the divorce he kept popping up and I could never get my hands around what it was. He got divorced shortly after d-day and told his wife and kids that he had kissed my then wife. I was devastated as the kids were best friends and they found out as well. Every time I thought I was OK, something would happen. I think not knowing was the worst. To this day, I think they are together, but not sure. I have read a lot of books on the subject and have listened to a ton of YouTube videos. I found yours to be on point with what I feel. I was doing fine, but recently I was told she is with someone ( I assume him). I truly do not want her back and I realize I deserve better and in my mind says that I could never even figure out what happened. I lost my career, my home. At some point seeing him walk past my house every night was the end. I felt as though out of the four of us I was the last man standing. (both couples) She had said that she thought I didn't love her and that she thought we would just part ways when the kids were out of school. I don't think they thought I would try so hard. Felt like I was fighting an unwinnable battle since day 1.
I keep two thoughts that I am trying to rid myself of.
1. It was all my fault
2. I will never find anyone better

thanks

i think you're being too hard on yourself..

part of this is the grieving process my friend.  it's vital you do your grief work.  she made these choices not you.  she created this drama and wouldn't do the work.  you can't be held responsible when she wouldn't do the work and heal. i think the answers are in grieving and moving through the grief work to a better more healthy heart and perspective.  be kind to yourself brother.  i know it's awful but you didn't cause this and there isn't anything you can show me in life that would say or guarantee your life won't be healed and beautiful one day.  i believe it can and will if you do the work 

Thank you. I appreciate your

Thank you. I appreciate your videos. They have helped more than you know.

Flooding

How can I explain flooding properly. Can you help with that?

explain to who my friend?

not sure what you're meaning so maybe you can give me more info on that.  i'll do my best.