Why Won't the Unfaithful Spouse Take Initiative in Recovery Work?

Samuel discusses a poignant topic in recovery work regarding the unfaithful spouse.

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Point on

All of your examples were excellent. My wife fits 4 and 5 very well. Great job as always. I've seen all your videos, many of them 2 or more times. All 300+ I've learned a lot, approaching 5.5 years past discovery with my unfaithful wife still not getting it per say... starting to lose what hope I still have. I believe 100 percent you guys have the answers, but she won't except it. Thanks for all you and everyone @ AR do to try and help.

thank you for watching and commenting....

cudatango, i'm honored you've watched that much of me and keep coming back.  hahaha.  thank you for commenting and posting.  i'm so sorry she won't get it.  how much longer do you think you can hold on before you end it?  what do you think is the next step?


Thankyou Samuel

As usual you manage to hit the nail on the head, and yes taking charge of their own recovery is something we desperately need - for us it is something tangible that we can use to give hope that things will improve and that our unfaithful does want to be different. Action, not words. My question and difficulty is this - if they are so stuck and unable to lead recovery for whichever reason, and AR constantly tells us that it is not our place to manage their recovery (and I do understand that also - as I know our suggestions may be taken with resentment and used as more fuel to blame us) how do we, as the betrayed walk that line. Caught between doing nothing (which keeps us both stuck) and doing something but not managing their recovery. I have spent 2 years working on myself and have made huge progress - and will continue to do so but am struggling with an H who is still stuck in shame (he did EMSO and has just finished H4H). His shame is still preventing him from facing himself and working on us/moving forward. I don't know how much I can say to him without it crossing the line to directing his recovery. At the moment I just ask him what he is doing, what his plans are - usually I just get stonewalling / silence in response even though he has said he knows that stonewalling is a major problem for him and unhelpful. Not really sure what more I can do, his fears have him firmly locked down still and avoiding. When you described the Unfaithful just wanting to avoid it - that really is where he still sits. Doesn't want to discuss anything related to his behaviours and just wants to live his days as if it never happened. Not possible for a betrayed unfortunately. How do we the betrayed help them to move?

excellent question.....

hi there kokako....great question.  i think you may find that we 'constantly tell' others to not manage their spouse's recovery as it's one of the biggest pitfalls of the betrayed.  before I get into some suggestions....i guess i would first ask, what are they not doing that you'd want them to do?  what type of initiative would you like to see on their part?  how is their shame affecting recovery for you all?  if you're stuck, in what ways are you stuck?  how is it keeping you both stuck?in your situation....i think it may have a different nuance though.  with what he's done and the recovery work he's done, it's a concern that he's not leading or showing more initiative.  perhaps it's time to sit down with him and have  conversation that looks like this:  sitting and letting him know that you don't feel safe due to his unwillingness to do x, y and z.  there will need to be specific examples.  then, i would remind him graciously that he has done emso and hfh and had more than enough help to start to manage and heal from his shame.  so if he is going to check boxes or if he is going to just do the bare minimum that you're not willing to live this way forever.  you may also inform him that it's time for him to deal with his shame as it's stealing from your marriage and/or your marital recovery.  

if you feel strong enough as though he's not doing what you need to feel safe, it will be time to consider an ultimatum as well.  you may let him know that this is not what you're working toward and that this is not your idea of restoration and if he's not going to be willing to get on the other side of shame, you're not willing to do x, y or z.   

does this make sense?


thanks Samuel

for your insightful and hard questions etc. Makes perfect sense and I thought greatly about my answers to each one of those questions. I realize that I have comunicated each of these things to my H many times. We have also had some hard conversations with ultimatums, and I have had to enforce some boundaries which led eventually to motivate him to do H4H. But he is still allowing his fear to control him with the mostly unspoken "I can't" lying just below the surface of every thing he does. I realise too that I am not stuck. We don't have a realtionship or marriage currently and the kids and I would be just fine without him. I feel free to choose to leave, but have not taken that next step - actually leaving him - because i firmly believe that God has asked me to wait, to be patient and that change is happening on the inside which I cannot see. Sometimes I find that very hard but God has been very active in my life and I have also witnessed God acting in my H's life, over and over inviting him into new way. God clearly has a lot more patience with his avoidance/rejection of these invitations than I do! He still keeps doing it and has not given up on him!

The AR resources are so good and the pathway is there. It's hard knowing that and watching the passivity and victim thinking prevailing. I guess I am still trying to move things along in my time, rather than God's. In reflecting I think I need to be more constant in speaking the truths kindly. This will be my goal. I need to focus on staying out of the triangle but not allowing responsibilites to be avoided, diverted or ignored. That was the old way.

i get it....glad you're here

kokako, thannks for sharing your thoughts and insight.  i know it's a tough road.  i'm glad you're being patient and walking it out.  you'll want to be able to look back and say that you did what you felt like God wanted you to do and trusted the process my friend.  so glad you're here and part of the community. 


On point, as usual. This

On point, as usual. This morning in church, I had the thought that the music minister'swife was so blessed that her husband was so dedicated to Jesus. I immediately thought of Samantha, and stopped to pray for her, and you and my pastor and his wife and marriage. I am so grateful that you share your story and struggles. And I am so grateful that Samantha supports that.

means a ton you'd say that tori7879

thank you for sharing that.  we definitely need prayer.  samantha's position at her company is a nightmare and she's been incredibly stressed and taxed.  and....with us trying to give back and help so many, you can understand we're a bit of a target so thank you for thinking of us and praying for us.  i'll share this with samantha for sure. 


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