Today I decided to take the Affair Analyzer on the website where Rick Reynolds has his blog. I have read quite a few of his articles, and I really thing he is insightful and spot-on. The website has a little tool where they can give their take on the infidelity you have experienced if you answer a few questions. I spent less than 5 minutes on it today and got the below result, which I think is scary-accurate. I have highlighted the portions that really spoke to me the most.
We’re truly sorry you’re going through this, but as difficult as this is, you’re the type of woman who will find a way to survive. As you’ve discovered, infidelity is totally disorienting, and one of the most difficult aspects of recovery is finding where to start in order to avoid prolonging the recovery process.
Although you are extremely hurt and shocked by your husband’s betrayal, you’re probably already exploring what needs to be done to address the situation. Your drive and resolve will likely carry you through the first portion of your recovery, but coping may become more difficult later on.
Your husband’s infidelity may have caught you off guard, especially if you assumed he was as committed as you. Conversely, you may have realized some time ago that you do the majority of the giving in your relationship. But you were hoping that he would, at some point, also realize what a catch you are and begin to put more into your relationship. You probably believed that love conquers all and because of that, your love should prevail.
Many people in your position are willing to give their mates another chance, particularly if the mate is truly remorseful and willing to address the problem. You may be questioning how you could have married someone like this since you are a woman of integrity and thought you had married someone who was also. In the long run, your ability to live well despite your mate’s behavior may be one of the characteristics that will prove crucial to your family’s recovery.
About what happened
Continuing a marriage while one mate has a sexual addiction requires commitment from both parties. Regardless of good intentions and strong desire, addicts do not overcome their behavior on their own. However, this presents a problem because these individuals usually experience such deep shame as a result of their behavior that it may terrify them to admit the problem and seek help. Instead, they will resolve to never do it again, believing they can overcome the problem on their own. In fact, depending on how the addiction came to light, this may be the first time your mate has ever really addressed their addiction. If that’s the case, then your mate may still need to discover their powerlessness over the addiction.
The Path Ahead
As the hurt spouse, you will likely find yourself in need of guidance on how to respond and cope with this disruption of your life. Since you still may want the marriage you should try to respond in a way that will cause your mate to pause and consider well their own options. At the same time you don’t need to compromise your own integrity. You are probably not only hurting from the betrayal but also shocked by what happened. You may also be wondering how you can ever trust this individual or any person ever again. This betrayal may have left you feeling inadequate and foolish for even considering staying with your unfaithful spouse.
In fact, you may well receive contradictory counsel from different people. Some will tell you to leave the marriage and others will advise you to stay and work on the marriage. However, few of these people, if any, have actually been in your situation and they have no idea how they would really react if in similar circumstances.
Immediately following the revelation of a betrayal, too many emotions, impressions, fears, and too much pain exist to make reliably good decisions. It would likely be best to not leave your marriage until you can observe changes in your mate that will indicate whether it is a safe and viable option to stay in the marriage.
Exploring the motivations for both leaving and staying in the relationship may prove very helpful to you both now and in the future so as not to repeat history somewhere down the road. Your decision to stay or go may actually alter with time. Frequently, the pain created by the betrayal will be the primary motivation for leaving in the initial period after you find out. Eventually this pain may subside and you may feel differently. Of course, you may also notice a shift in your desire to stay if your mate fails to make a serious effort at reconnecting in the relationship. If you base your decision to stay on your mate’s promises to change, you may be disappointed if their efforts to change do not meet your expectations.
Since a part of you wants to save the relationship, you may find yourself trying to control your mate’s decisions and manipulate them into staying regardless of whether this will result in a healthy marriage. You may start denying your own needs for healing and safety in an attempt to save the marriage. Saving the marriage at all costs would be unwise if the marriage in the end were not a healthy one. Be careful not to compromise your physical or emotional health. The emotional pain of infidelity does not just go away; denying it will only compound the problems it has created.
Part of your uncertainty may be due to the fact that part of you genuinely cares about your mate, but another part of you wants to get as far from them as possible. You will likely find yourself wanting the opposite of what you feel pressured to do. If your mate and those around you encourage you too much to stay, then you will want to leave and vice versa.
Before you make a final decision to leave the marriage, consider your motivation for leaving honestly and carefully. If you actually want to leave because of marital dissatisfaction, it would be best for you to admit that is the reason taking responsibility for your departure rather than putting the blame wholly on your mate. If you are having trouble with this decision because of your fears, it will help you to recognize those fears and deal with them directly so that you can make your decision based on reality.
It is important to understand each other’s recovery in order to learn to support each other. Men typically want to compartmentalize and avoid thinking about things that are painful. They need space to think about it on their own and in their own time. Women, on the other hand, tend to process trauma verbally often wanting to talk about what has hurt them until they can touch the wound and not get an emotional charge. She may actually ask the same questions over and over again in an attempt to desensitize herself from the pain. Both spouses need to recognize that avoidance (from the men) and repetition (from the women) are just the ways that we typically deal with pain and give each other the patience and grace to handle this life-altering trauma in their own way.
Regardless of the outcome of your marriage, in order to heal, you will need to confront, grieve and release what has happened and then learn from the experience. If you are unable to sufficiently heal, then you may end up repeating the same pattern of hurt again. Infidelity is an emotional blow that cannot be ignored; however it is not an insurmountable hindrance to your future happiness. You should give yourself ample time and grace to complete your essential healing journey.
About your mate
Since your husband’s position is unclear, your best course of action is to focus on your own healing. Make sure to allow him to take responsibility for his own recovery. You must be willing to let him succeed or fail in his recovery so that it will truly be his own. If your husband stays because of manipulation, you may feel successful initially, but it could lead to bitterness because he feels controlled instead of confident in his decision. Also keep in mind that if your husband is ambivalent about staying in your marriage, then he will not be wholly committed to the relationship. Note that pressure will frequently influence people who are ambiguous to take the opposite position.
Unless your mate is willing to take responsibility for his actions and what his behavior has cost you, he most likely will not be able to participate in a healthy marriage. You may need to be stronger than is comfortable or usual for you and create a list for yourself of your, at the very least, minimum requirements to stay in the marriage. It may prove virtually impossible to know whether the relationship can be healthy and viable until you can witness your husband’s response to your needs. You will need to be careful in determining if he is truly willing to do what is necessary to restore your relationship. If your husband is not willing to help at all then you must understand that you cannot trust him with your heart.
Next Steps for Recovery
Recovery requires a safe and supportive community. AffairRecovery.com provides this community and is comprised of others who understand. Processing what happened is one of the most effective ways of dealing with healing and understanding what’s happened. Having others who can empathize and validate your experience helps the disorientation created by the attachment wound. If at all possible try to find a therapist or program specializing in the treatment of infidelity. Not all helping professionals are trained to address the issues of infidelity.
If discovery of the affair was in your recent past, you may have difficulty identifying any positive reason for working on the marriage. Frequently the pain of the betrayal clouds our ability to find the benefits. Our culture is far more tolerant of divorce, where children are wounded and families separated, than we are of exploring the potential advantages and possibilities associated with recovering from an infidelity. This leaves many believing that exploring the possibility of salvaging their marriage is a sign of weakness. Those of us at the Affair Recovery believe it’s a sign of phenomenal strength. If he is willing, then we’d encourage you to consider this possibility. There is hope, and you can heal. Your probabilities for having the relationship you’ve always wanted is far greater with this relationship than with the one that’s unknown.
- Forgiveness in the Face of Turmoil (And a Confession) (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
- The High Price of Forgiveness (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)