What's Your Plan When Reminders Come?

Today I discuss how to handle reminders, or what seem like sucker punches to your recovery.

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The timing on this blog post

The timing on this blog post is perfect. My husband and I have been struggling with a difference of opinion this week about him taking our daughter to the restaurant where his AP works for take out when I was out of town last weekend. For me this is a HUGE trigger. For him, it is no big deal, he says he is not there to see the AP and they are getting take out anyway so why is it a big deal to me? I have not been able to find the words to explain exactly why it is so very hurtful to me for him to continue to frequent his AP's place of employment, especially when I am out of town (this is the only time he goes). I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing your experience and that of your wife. I am going to share this blog post with my husband and hopefully he will watch it and it might help explain what I have been feeling where my lack of words have failed.

Unbelievable, you have an AMAZING Wife

Wow, thank you for sharing this. Another universal pain for all betrayed, the secret email and secret calls. To know it resurfaced 10 years later in a way you never expected is shocking. And a good reminder that the journey is long and unpredictable.

This is on my list of questions to ask God, why the reminders and triggers for so long? Isn't the initial fall out and trauma enough? My favorite band is Journey and my favorite song used to be "faithfully". Now I can't listen to it.

Even when we get centered and give it all to the cross, there are land mines. Songs, smells, places.

Tell Samantha my heart broke for her a little when I heard the story. But she is certainly doing God's work. Helped me to know I am not alone in these struggles, and that there are other betrayed who continue to get up time and time again.

you're kind...

i'll most certainly convey that to her...thank you for your kindness.

thank you for your comment

sorry for the delay. had the flu. fact is, it's not about what his motives are or this or that, it's about making sure you, the betrayed spouse, feel safe. he will need to understand if you don't feel safe, why would you do it and make you feel even more pain and willfully cause a trigger, ya know? this may also help if you haven't watched it yet: https://www.affairrecovery.com/qa-what-each-spouses-role-handling-triggers anything i can do please let me know.

Thanks so much. I have

Thanks so much. I have watched that video and sent it to my husband, a few times actually. After a few days, lots of prayer, and several conversations later, he understands exactly where I was coming from and knows that what he did was not okay, nor was it creating an environment of safety for me or for our marriage. He acknowledged that he is still wrestling with denial and shame and while I hate to see that he is in pain, it is validating to know that it is not about me and that God is working in him.

Does the unfaithful have reminders?

Hello: My follow up question is does the unfaithful have triggers, reminders, intrusive thoughts? Never mind how they/you respond to the betrayed reaction-- what's it like for you ( for example ifvSamatha wasn't there when you checked in and the front desk mentioned the AP's email)? What goes through the unfaithful's mind when one of "those" songs come on the radio, etc. Do both parties suffer PTSD?


bf, thank you. sorry for the delay, had the nasty flu. was not fun and just coming up for air. YES. we have reminders. we have triggers. when we moved to texas for example, I sold my car and got a newer one as it was filled with too many reminders and triggers for ME. when we are with our spouse, at least what I feel is: we flood. our heart rate spikes, i get heat flashes like at the check in counter. i feel horrible for samantha. for me, i am triggered by songs which i'll change. or certain movies which i won't watch. i have learned to do this when a huge trigger comes: i immediately feel shame for what i caused samantha my wife, her the ap, the onlookers that were caught in the messy public crosshairs and immediately feel grief. i own the grief and remember i put myself here and that i'm incredibly sorry for what i've done and i usually say a quick prayer for the ap (now as for the first three years I wouldn't let myself pray for her much at all out of protection for my heart and for the healing process). i have a protocol for that that i must go through or else i find myself wondering how she is doing and how her family is doing and i can be taken down a road of wandering thoughts i don't want to have. do i want to be with her, no, i want what i have now, but i'm not stupid and not going to allow my thoughts to be taken down a road which ive been down before. i know what's down that road. i know whats there. i don't suffer ptsd and never have, but there has been a physical reaction inside of me that i have to curtail and manage. it gets much much easier about three years later. i hope that helps and i'm happy to answer more q's .

sucker punched

My sucker punch came when my hubbys EAP showed up at our church. Its been 3 yrs or so. I always suspected she was still in the area but looked at our church as a sanctuary she couldnt touch. I was wrong. She followed me into the bathroom one service. We both came out of the stalls and washed our hands. I introduced myself, told her who i was and that i knew who she was. I told her that in an odd way it was an answer to prayer that she was in church because i had been praying for her. That it took 2 to make it happen but i chose to forgive. She was shaking and almost in tears and i was shocked at my calmness. She apologized but also added a few zingers ("he told me i wasnt the first") and things i knew to be lies ("i didnt know he was married and when i found out it was too late"). I told her i wished her the best and that we were doing great and walked back in and took my seat. Out of her presence i felt immediate peace. That had been my worst nightmare and it turned out ok. I was ok. I told my husband right after and he was like you, sorry and ashamed. When we first found out she was there i told him its the devil. We are doing great and he hates it. Not long after my talk with her she stopped showing up to church. Makes me sad for her kids but i selfishly want my church back although its been tainted. Ill look around for her at times, not always but the thought she might be there is there. Now my church itself is a reminder. Jeesh. However i refused then to let it take me, us down and i wont let it now. Just wanted to encourage other betrayeds: its possible your worst nightmare comes to fruition. But you can survive. And for me, i came out the other side stronger and more confident.

great thoughts stayingstrong...

thank you for commenting. some great truth in there. the consequences are seemingly endless but grace makes a way and you're winning day by day. so proud of you.

Does the unfaithful have triggers?

Great job on the blog. I thought I posed this comment/question to the blog last night and I don't see it here, so forgive me if it is a duplicate.

My question is, does the the unfaithful have triggers, reminders, flashbacks, suffer PTSD? What would you feel or have done if Samantha was not with you when you were checking into the hotel? How would you have felt?

What happens to the unfaithful when one of "those" songs comes on the radio? I mean, I get that you get all worried about attending to the betrayed in these circumstances (sometimes it annoys me when I am asked, "are you ok, I know that was tough." blah, blah, blah) and I think you all get worried that you are going to go to the "woodshed;" all that aside, is it a trigger, is it a memory?

My last point is that prior to meeting my husband, I was involved in two long term relationships and I still hold a fondness and a wish for my previous boyfriends to live the best life they can. I guess a part of me loves them (but not the way I love my husband), is it like that with an AP? What is it like for the unfaithful in relation to the AP.

I was hoping

I was hoping for a reply to this comment. I asked my husband if he has triggers. He said a couple of times he has gone to pull into a store and thought HER car was in the parking lot so he did not go in. He said once he and I were driving somewhere and he thought she was in a car the next lane over and 1 car back. He said it made him so nervous that almost hit a stopping car. He says that he can't think of any thing else that has been a "trigger".

Just last night we had an

Just last night we had an unsuspecting reminder occur during a movie we were watching. We were taken aback. Thank goodness we had rented the film and were watching at home alone without our kids. We do not have a plan so to speak, however, this is not the first time triggers have come up that we were not prepared for. Can you really ever prepare for them? We are 18 months from Dday #3 and almost 3 years from Dday #1. We have learned to move closer to each other during these moments and not further away. Initially, my H, was not able to do this...he would pull away, but over time he learned to lean into his shame and use these moments as an opportunity from growth and closeness rather than moving away and creating more pain and distance. He HATES that these reminders cause me, the betrayed spouse, more hurt. The last thing he wants right now is to cause more pain. He wants to be the salve, not the salt, in our wound. Like Samantha, allowing me to ask a couple of questions also helps to put our narrative in perspective. It is so easy to see and scene in a movie and think, "Wow, was it like that for you, too?" However, in asking these questions, I have to be prepared to hear the answers no matter how painful the answers are. We paused the film briefly and talked. My H followed up with a heartfelt apology which wasn't necessary, but it helpful. We were able to finish watching the movie and see how the story played out. It sucked, but it brought us closer together and for that, I am grateful.

~diana prince

can you ever really have a plan...

diana thanks so much. they come so fast so frequently at times and so out of the blue, it's hard to plan for them but you can. if you know you're going somewhere that may be a trigger, you can prepare for it. meaning when we go to california for example and are areas that could be a reminder, i am just more sensitive to samantha. i'm more aware of her and her reactions and my tone and how i come off. i'm just extra sensitive in case she struggles. they may or may not come. but if they do, i'm aware and almost expecting them. also, you can plan knowing they are going to come and have a protocol that says when they happen, this is what we'll do. 1. draw closer not pull away. 2. ask questions if need be. 3. vent if need be. yes, venting is good. one day samantha had a huge reminder on vacation and needed to just go for a drive and yell and vent and complain and get it off her chest. worked wonderfully. what could have been a major meltdown, was only about a 20 minute drive of yelling and ended quite nicely. 4. understand what is probably going through the spouse's mind and emotions and try to meet them there not meet them where they should be and not tell them they should do this when they are in flight or fight mode. these are just a few ways to plan and not exhaustive at any level, but i hope they help. planning, in summation, early on is more about just knowing they will come in ways you could never imagine, hence the hotel check in thing 10 years later. sorry for delay the flu got me.


I might be the minority here, but I don't agree with the "darkness" definition in this blog. The darkness, wasn't put there by some dark force, or evil, or something otherwise nonhuman. The darkness was put there by him, the blogger, the betrayer. It manifests because he put it there; seeded it, gave it roots. I think calling it anything but what it is, is a subversive cop-out. He has many good points, but I feel he manages to shirk some of his accountability by blaming what he planted, on evil.

thank you for the comment Genna

Genna thank you. i think you'll find littered through all my blogs is an ownership of what i've done. i've never ever tried to sluff it off and blame someone else. the darkness in this blog is a term i utilized to describe the enemy or evil which refuses to let go and tries to continually remind samantha time and time ago in a malicious, venomous way. it is my fault. it will always be my fault. if you watch more of the blogs you'll constantly hear a mentality of owning what i've done and not blaming the darkness. i blame two people for my affair: the enemy (if you subscribe to faith) and myself. i hope that clarity helps and i'm sorry for any confusion to the heart of my blogs or my approach to recovery. hope it doesn't cloud the overall good we're trying to do. take care.

I did find your blog had good

I did find your blog had good points, even if I have a different view of what "the darkness" might be. I shared it with my now husband, who betrayed me 6 months before our wedding. Thank you.

thank you for sharing...

glad it had some positives for you and your spouse. thank you for sharing it and being a part of our community.

The Betrayed

After being with my husband for forty plus years, I found out that he was having an affair. The pain and anger I felt was unbearable. I felt as if I couldn't breath. How could he betray our family like this, what made him think it was okay to share himself with another woman when I felt that our marriage and family would never be compromised for selfish reasons? His explanation he felt I didn't care. I was in a daze and numb for a while. To imagine him with another woman, sharing all that I considered sacred and special between us made me ill physically as well as mentally. It's been almost one year and five months since I found out. It still is as if I found out yesterday. To see the phone log and other evidence of him seemingly enchanted by his AP and avoiding the truth when I ask questions has caused more harm than good, especially when I catch him in denial from time to time. He wants to work on our marriage but I can't trust him or work on our marriage without his total commitment in telling the truth and helping me have answers to why he willingly participated in an affair that is so destructive to what I thought we wanted for ourselves and our family. Since the day that I found out we have had counseling, it hasn't been as beneficial as expected, but he is given effort to keep us together. I still ask why? I look at the phone log and question how did he work, the phone calls were endless 24/7. He made time to be with her. He even bought a fruit for me thinking I was the one he had purchased it for when I had never eaten that particular fruit. I actually saw him talking with her one evening when I decided to go to where he said he was headed and when I asked he said it was a cousin of a coworker. The lies and deceit have caused me to question myself, him and who is this person? I told him if he had not lied, I asked for the truths so that we could be done with the anger and some of the pain and work on our marriage but instead he shutdowns, becomes angry and the shouting begins. I am glad to have seen the video that the husband and wife explains how being open and honest helps. I will share them with him. Hopefully it will help him to realize we can't go forward if he is afraid of opening up and answering my questions. He's still in counseling on an individual basis, I stopped because once the counselor we attended sessions together suggested he talk to another counselor and he no longer was in counseling, I didn't feel my being in counseling alone could help us as a couple. It's a struggle and we both want our marriage to survive this betrayal but the thoughts and pain I have is like a weight on my chest that's suffocating my whole being. There are a few times I feel like we can make it through this, but those times are few. I'm restless, hurt, and disheartened. How does a spouse cheat dishonoring their marriage and family until caught and then question "what was I doing, what was I thinking"? Why don't they think about how that changes the dynamics of their marriage and family and how destructive their deceit will affect everyone involved?


thank you for your comment. at some level, their affair is addictive and they are completely not thinking they will get caught and not aware totally of what is going on. they are caught up in the adrenaline of it all and not in touch with what will happen if they are caught and exposed. that's the thing about temptation, it never shows you the consequences and never shows you what your choices will cost you or the ones you love on the front end. it only tries to get you to give in and give way to the adrenaline and enticement. here is an article on something called limerance which describes the infatuation of an affair and how they are caught in the chemical reaction in the brain which entangles them in their affair: https://www.affairrecovery.com/radio/limerance NOW, what i'm not saying is that it's not his fault and that he's simply a victim to forces outside himself. that's not true and that's not what we believe as an organization. but, it does explain the mindset of the unfaithful spouse to a certain extent and helps to normalize things a bit for you. the affair clouds our judgement. it clouds our reasoning faculties and we simply medicate life and medicate our lack of fulfillment in life with the affair partner. we become addicted to the drug like feeling it produces and we keep going back and back and back. i know it hurts and i know it can seem and feel hopeless. after all you've been through, if i were you, i'd give serious thought to the ems weekend on our site as it's comprehensive, facilitated by experts including rick with 31 years of experience treating infidelity, and, finally, it seems as though you really need this level of involvement in your situation. I can say honestly the ems weekend saved my life and my marriage and if it wasn't for Rick and his expert insight, i'm not quite sure at all we'd still be married. i hope this helps and if you'd like to keep the dialogue going, please reach out. you can find me on twitter too at @infidelityscars

Maybe It's Not The Darkness?

I had one of those "coincidences" this morning -- the story is to long to go into but let's just say the odds of the trigger happening were literally one in a thousand if not more.

I was alone at the time and after it happened I just stood there in disbelief that it happened. My mind immediately went to Satan and the power he has to try and tear things apart. But then I realized that maybe I was giving him to much credit and not enough credit to our Lord. Maybe this trigger was done by the Lord as a way to help me grow and to make me stronger. While this has been the most painful experience in my life I have tried to not avoid the pain and to move through it with the thought that the Lord is beside me and will be there for me always and will help me through it. Why this trigger happened I have no idea but I'm trying to view it as His (the Lord's) work which will ultimately bring me closer to him and help to restore our marriage. In the end I believe the Lord is greater than any evil and who am I to question how He moves?

Just a different perspective...

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-D, Texas