Surviving the Long Road Back

Pursuing recovery after infidelity is no easy or short task. It can seem insurmountable and exhausting on any given day and reduce you to hopelessness within 1/200th of a second. From reminders to triggers to thoughts of what life could have been like, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. I believe that when you are able to sprint, sprint like there’s no tomorrow.  When the pace slows, it’s about finding a new pace. I’ve seen over the years Samantha and I find new paces. Some were thrilling and so enjoyable; some were memorable for all the wrong reasons.  Yet, in a surreal way, there was a pace to it.

As you’ll hear from both Rick and myself, as well as almost anyone who has gone through infidelity and has their head on straight, this is a long road but it isn’t impossible and doesn’t have to always be excruciating. As my previous post stated, for some it’s about a two year ordeal to find a new normal which isn’t volatile and ever changing with the feelings of the day. For others, it can be even longer due to extenuating struggles, confusion or ever appearing new information.

While it is a long journey, there are things you can do to help enjoy the ride. While you cannot shorten the journey, when your spouse is helping to create more chaos or even prolonging the pain, you can take control of your own choices and do some things to help ease the pain. Here are a few I utilized when I felt like I was on a different pace than Samantha:

  1. Find one or two safe people who you can vent to who will NOT give you advice or try and tell you what to do, but will only listen and hear you out and let you get things off your chest.
  2. While you may not be sure if you’re dedicated to your spouse during this difficult season, find expert ‘infidelity-specific’ help and dedicate yourself to that program and that plan with ruthless attention to detail and commitment. Don’t take any short cuts, and don’t give up too early and don’t allow the program you’re in to become the problem.  Dive head first into the right program and curriculum and finish it. Unless of course the program is not working, not infidelity specific, or is not run by people who have actually been through it before. If that’s the case run, run, run from that source of confusion.
  3. Stop the blame game. You’re where you are because of what seems like an infinitesimal amount of reasons. But continuing to blame him, her, them, or those people will only chain you longer. You may be right in your blaming and attacking, but it doesn’t make your journey any easier. It only prolongs the pain and only deepens the hole you find yourself in each day. Stop blaming and accept and start to overcome, day by day.
  4. Take lots of walks with scenery that is comforting to you. I love the beach. There’s no place on earth like the beach for me and when I’m there, I’m centered. Find a place that centers you and spend lots of time there as best you can.
  5. Find an outlet. I struggled to find the right verbiage here, but maybe it’s working out. Perhaps it’s eating better or cleaner. Maybe it’s painting or some sort of artistic expression. Maybe it’s getting a membership to a gym where you can learn to box and beat the living crap out of a punching bag and help you have some sort of cathartic release. Sure, if you’re a male, make sure you have a male trainer, and if you’re a female, find a female trainer or workout partner. For those of us in this ever unfolding saga, that’s just common sense. If you don’t find an outlet, you’ll find yourself wanting to explode more days than not and crisis caters towards bitterness, sickness and overall frustration. You can beat it but you have to get out of yourself and out of the blanket of oppression you probably feel every day.
  6. If you have kids, love them and spoil them as best you can. With time and attention and love, be with them and be present with them every day. Do your best to shield them. Love and attention is one of the best shields you’ll find.
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Comments

Thank you, so timely, again, and so relevant to where we are...

My husband and I are about half way there, I think on this journey towards "recovery". I call it our second marriage, however we haven't renewed our commitment ceremoniously, just yet. We are embracing the "suck" and stumbling over ourselves at times, but we are moving steadily forward. It does seem like an uphill climb most days, and it feels like one of us at any given moment could just drop out of the picture again. But that's where somehow, with the Grace of God my faith is renewed when the next day, we are still right there beside each other looking forward through the lense of tarnished and broken trust, EVER focused on our boys, our FAMILY. It is so easy to slide into the quicksand of negativity and blame. I agree healthy, empowering distraction is the key. And constant reconnection in the day fills the "loving" cup. Right now we seek a program or guidance that isn't going to cost us a fortune.. are there any Christian programs (we live in Austin) workbooks or videos you can recommend? to help us navigate our way through some of the muck?

help for you acemom

thanks for the comment. well, on the site there is the ems online course you can take which is pretty cost effective and christian obviously...you can also apply for financial aid there if you need it. it's on the same page as the ems online course and you can see about qualifying. i would only do a program that is infidelity specific as this isn't a one size fits all mentality. also, one book that completely helped us big time was the love and respect book by emmerson eggerichs. while it's not infidelity specific, it is an exceptional christian marriage book. it also has a workbook for it that you can do. hope that helps my friend.

It's been almost 3 years

It's been almost 3 years since my husband told me about his affair and we are worse off now than ever. He threaten divorce everyday and says I'm insane and he does not understand me. He doesn't want to talk about his affair. He told me some details at the beginning, but since then has told me it's his business and he talks to an older woman about his problems now. I am going to counseling and I think I'm just trying so hard to hang on and do the right thing. He says I'm controlling and trying to possess him. I found a male psychologist (couples counselor) finally for us to see and he said he was not sure if he wanted to go back. Then we get in a fight and I say I want to work on this and stay together will you see the counselor. He then says no and I get scared to ask again. Now he wants to see this counselor on his own. He really wants to separate and has told me to get a lawyer. He has never ever been fully two feet in and committed. He is always telling me that I need to change first. Do you have any thoughts ...I can't keep doing what feels like pushing and forcing, but I don't want to give up or let go of my marriage.?

stuck...

it's a tough one my friend. i know it looks dark for sure. I would have to say, what you're describing doesn't give much hope at all. if he's not willing to talk about it and not willing to get help, then he is in charge of recovery and he is the one dictating how things are going to go. that's dangerous to have the unfaithful, the deceived one, the confused one in charge of what recovery looks like. you just can't win that way. i think there may be some issues of codependency you may want to consider addressing if he's continuing to do what he's doing and you're allowing him to do it. i would probably turn the tables a bit on him and consult an attorney and see about a trial separation, depending on what state you live in. fact is, if you still want to save your marriage, but he doesn't, you have to look at that and ask yourself if that is healthy? i think he may be using that as a power ploy to keep you at bay and be the one in charge. the only way to know is to possibly give him what he says he wants and see if he then turns and says 'wait a minute,....hold on...' if he does not, well, unfortunately you know his heart and you know he doesn't want to save the marriage at all and it's probably best for you to move forward on your own with your own healing. to make him stay with you only hurts you my friend.

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