What You Need to Recover

Navigating the process of recovery after infidelity is not for the faint of heart. There are some crucial dos and don’ts that need to be applied if there is any chance for success. Success in this cauldron of trauma is not just ‘moving on.’ It’s about finding hope, finding healing, and giving you and your spouse the best chance at restoration. Keep in mind restoration may happen now, one day in the future, or possibly never if they prove to be unsafe. I’ve put some thought into some universal needs that you may want to consider implementing in your recovery plan.

1. You’ll need courage. The future of your marriage and your family is definitely uncertain. Even if your spouse says they will do ‘whatever it takes,’ it’s easier said than done. When the rubber meets the road and details need to be discussed, and boundaries need to be set, their heart’s desire will prove itself. This will not be easy my friend. It will hurt, and it will be gut wrenching at times. It will cause you to find out what is truly deep inside you as well as what is deep inside your spouse. These emotions may not have been tapped into since you were a child. It’s OK. I’ve never met or talked to anyone who found healing for themselves or their spouse without being absolutely courageous. You will need to find a way to move forward, though the future is undecided. If you don't, you may stay stuck, and you may miss out on what could possibly be a miracle waiting to happen. You may also intensify the whole ordeal which I’m sure no one wants to see happen.

2. You’ll need the right perspective. You are probably finding it nearly impossible to see any light at the end of the tunnel. It’s even harder to see how your marriage could possibly be restored after your or your spouse’s affair. There’s too much at stake here to cut corners, do it on your own, suck it up, or just haphazardly ‘move on.’ The best thing you can do is get perspective from an expert who has gone through this before, not just any marriage counselor will do. They need to have gone through infidelity before themselves to really be able to help you or your spouse identify what’s truly going on in both of your minds and hearts. The site is full of many perspectives from those who have gone through this before and understand what it takes. To try and reason through it all with just what you currently think or feel or what a book may have told you will prove insufficient to navigate the tumultuous waters ahead of you. Keep in mind; both you and your spouse are probably not in your right mind. The trauma of being betrayed may be blinding you. The unfaithful spouse may say they are finally in their right mind, but they are not. If they’ve been unfaithful, they most certainly are not aware of how self-deceived they are or how far they’ve gone to justify their own actions. You’ll need what we call ‘infidelity specific” help to understand what needs to happen next.

3. You’ll need a process. As John Maxwell said, “the power is in the process,” and truer words have never been spoken. There is a process to recovery and you’ll need to get under the care of some sort of proven, expert process to help you and/or your spouse heal. Without that, you’ll find yourself wandering pretty aimlessly through the different stages and phases, wondering if there will ever be a time when you feel like you have a plan, or hope, or understanding on how to handle yourself, much less your spouse. Dealing with infidelity requires the insight to understand what sort of affair you or your spouse had, and there are many. It requires understanding what your spouse is really saying, behind all the noise that they may be creating. It’s an absolute necessity to acknowledge the fact that you both are probably in over your head, and without a systematic process you will simply get run over. It happens every day in our world, but it truly doesn’t have to. You can take some of the power back and help dictate how things are going to go over the next season.

Tomorrow I’ll talk through what I call blockages to recovery. Principles that if they are present, will most certainly hamper both your own recovery and your spouse’s. 

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Abandonment and fidelity

My experience is not the same as most who post comments in that my spouse walked out on our marriage without there being another person he was involved with or interested in. However during our separation he was unfaithful twice with someone he ran into at a bar. We were back together about six years before I found out about his infidelity. I haven't found any information or anyone in a similar situation to help put together a process for restoration or healing. It's been two years since d-day and I feel alone and foolish for struggling still and yet there doesn't seem to be anywhere for me to find someone like me who can help with a plan or process....

unique situation...

anonymous, thanks for the comment. though it's a unique situation, the fact is, you still will need to pursue recovery and get the help you need. the feelings, though older are still the same. the trauma is still the same. it still hurts like hell i'm sure and i'm also sure that you are still feeling the rippling effects of his choices. though you were separated, it doesn't take away from the fact that it was an affair, or multiple affairs and the trauma is still real. as long as he does not take ownership of it, and doesn't show any significant amount of empathy, i'm sure you'll be struggling to gain any movement at all. keep in mind, time wont heal the wound. time plus active and strategic help will heal the wound. many times it will get worse over time, so i'd suggest a couple things. harboring hope for you for sure, and the ems weekend for both of you. again, though there have been several years that have gone by, it's apparent you both are still stuck and i think you can get unstuck, and let's fact it, the rest of your marriage is still in jeopardy if you don't get some forward progress. if i can help more, please feel free to post here again.

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