Nothing is perfect, but it can get better! 6 years later…I still DO! đź’”💍❤️

D-Day – 7/8/2015 – 6 years later…I’m glad I stayed!

Our kids were 11 years old and 15 months old when I found proof of my husband’s affair. They are why I stayed at first. This was a couple of weeks after d-day and over my dead body was that woman going to touch their lives! Yes, I was hurting and it was hard and painful, but they needed us together. Billy was also choosing me and our family and making changes, but it took time. My husband still struggled with Limerence for 3 more months, but I have NO regrets that she has zero fingerprints on their lives now. I stood firm in my decision and we did the work together to heal and find a way forward. Now we help others do the same.

The little bit that J remembers has not impacted him or the way he views his dad and C was too young to remember anything. They are the reason I fought so hard and stood through it all. Today, they have parents who are truly intimately connected in a way we never were before. We love our kids, but put our marriage first because that’s actually better and more healthy for them. Your marriage must outlast your kids!!!

We are not perfect by any means, this is as good as it gets and it’s really good. Don’t seek perfection, you’ll be searching for it to no avail. Our marriage was bad before, so yes it’s so much better, but there is no holy grail. There is no wishing this away or pretending it didn’t happen. It’s our reality. That takes coming to acceptance and to get there, it takes grieving what you thought you had in your old marriage allowing that to die; that’s not easy for a lot of people.

I have hard days at times, I get angry at times, I cry when I’m triggered, I remember; but it doesn’t define me or us anymore. Life is no longer about what he did, it’s about what we are doing now. That’s what makes the difference. What will you choose to do now? What changes will you both make? What can you both do to make things new? That’s the key, making each day brand new!!!

If you want it to go away…I’m sorry it just doesn’t. It’s part of your story. It’s going to shape your life in one way or another. The pain won’t just go away. No one can take it away, but it gets much better as you work through it and take the time you need to do that. Don’t rush through this process. Baby steps are the best way to walk this journey.

This will change you, let it change you for the better. Let it give you a clean slate and a new beginning to build the marriage you both desire. This restarts the clock like no other life event can. The great news is that YOU get to decide what you want that to look like!

6 years later….I still Do!💔💍❤️

A Roadmap to Recovery:

In the early days, just breathe, Cry, release it, just let go with the hurt. The longer you try to keep it in – the longer it will hurt you. Process through your emotions. Do not suppress your emotions or grief or it may come back to bite you later. Hurting people often hurt other people. Not intentionally, but it happens.

Be kind to yourself: Take some time out to grieve. Try not to drive yourself nuts with the ‘why’ questions…. there is no good answer. There is nothing rational about this, especially Limerence. It’s NOT rational and there is no making sense of it.

Details: Knowing them will NOT help your healing. Initially, you will probably feel like you want to know everything… what they did… where they did it… what they said… everything…. But it will NOT help you. It can actually cause more PTSD/PISD if it creates pictures in your mind.

That being said – if there is something you absolutely must know – your partner needs to be willing to supply details. Be ready for them not to want to. Believe it or not – they are ashamed of what they have done, and no one likes to be forced to verbalize or deal with their shame. This is why you need expert help. A good recovery program that allows you to talk about what happened is often very beneficial. Many therapists won’t allow affair talk as they will focus you both on the present and future and urge you to let go of the past. That’s ok to do once what happened has been worked through thoroughly; but if it’s not…it could prolong healing if you go in that direction.

Communication. When talking with your partner, try to use sentences that start with “I feel….” or “I need…” instead of attacking and starting sentences with “You….” If you attack – your partner will jump to defensiveness and then the result will likely be unresolved conflict.

Monitoring and Privacy. To move forward and heal – there needs to be total transparency and absolute accountability between you and your partner. They need to disclose passwords, codes, everything that requires security. Seek the right kind of safe support and guard your heart against any temptations. You are vulnerable!

Ups and Downs. There are going to be lots of them. They are not going to be perfect. They are going to mess up, they are not healthy. But how you handle that is up to you. Try not to attach everything you’re going through to every circumstance. You will have reminders and triggers, but it does get better…it just takes time.

For the longest time, I wanted my husband to feel exactly how hurt/betrayed/devastated I was…the clincher Is that he will NEVER feel how hurt I was, because he’s not me. He will NEVER know how he devastated my world with his actions, because he’s not me. He will never feel my pain – because it’s mine. Even if I did the exact same thing to him – it would hurt him – but that’s his hurt. He’s a different person, and he hurts differently. This process is personal. You cannot force someone to recover like you would if you were them. Empathy is important, but it may not be your kind of empathy or what you feel is good enough, but don’t reject it. They need help to get it!!

If you compare yourself to the affair partner and think things like – you’re not as thin, or pretty, or handsome, or whatever….. STOP. It is not about them. It never was. They could have been anyone who was there at the right time saying the right things. They are no comparison to you and never were. They accepted second best – which is all they deserved. Pretty sad when you think about it. Who would ever want to settle for scraps and being a secret? They are nothing you would ever want to be.

Your spouse likes/liked the way this person makes/made them feel about themselves. It’s not about that person or who they are, what they look like, or anything like that. This is about broken people seeking something/someone to validate them and make them feel better about themselves. That’s what affairs are, they are fantasy bubbles of selfishness.

You can’t control other people and you can’t change the past. But what you CAN control is how you think and how you react. It’s easy to let your emotions and hurt and anger start off like a runaway train…. but the more you think about those things…. the worse it gets. So anytime those things start to cross your mind…. just stop. Say it out loud if you have to. Just look in the mirror and say STOP IT. Then redirect your thoughts to happy things.

Grace: Something happened along the line somewhere… to allow your partner to seek something from someone else. My husband and I were completely disconnected. I was miserable. He was miserable. But I never in a million years thought he would do what he did…. But he did. She came along and told him what he wanted to hear and she heard him too and gave him what he wasn’t getting from me. So guess what? I wasn’t perfect. Our marriage wasn’t perfect. I had work to do. So next time your partner does something that your knee jerk reaction is to yell and/or shame them…. give a moment of grace and ask yourself…. who do you think you are? It’s quite humbling when you realize this one.

Hope: It’s very hard to see it in the early days…. but there IS hope. You CAN have a marriage that is better than what you had before. For the longest time… I used to think and say…. I just want my husband back. I just want my marriage back. But the reality is – you don’t. You don’t want the broken marriage back. It’s done. It’s over and it wasn’t all good – because this is what happened. So stop longing for something that was broken. Start a new one. Today. Now. Make it the start of something BETTER than what you had before. Be CLOSER to your partner than you were. LISTEN to them more than you did. TALK and express what you need and what they need. Check in with them regularly to make sure you’re on the same page.

If he chooses to do this again – it’s on him.
I’ll be okay. I’ve survived this – I can survive anything. There are NO guarantees. To love is to be vulnerable.

~ To hope & healing ❤

How do I recognize unhealthy mind frames and unsafe behaviors in my unfaithful spouse/previously unfaithful spouse?

If they still think they can do the things (even seemingly innocent activities) or anything you consider unsafe they did during the affair. These behavior patterns are hard to break! Remember you are the “healthier” spouse that can see more clearly, especially if they are still limerent. Example: My husband still thought for a couple of months that it would be ok to go to bars without me as long as it was not a bar they went to together and it was close to home. When he got healthy; HE set the boundary himself and realized that was never going to be safe or healthy ever again. I tried to tell him this many times, but he had to start seeing it for himself.

When they refuse to be transparent, accountable, or willing to learn. Those that won’t give passwords or phone access as well as those who won’t be accountable about their whereabouts and refuse to do any kind of recovery work, read books/articles, watch videos, or be open to getting the right help. If they refuse to do anything at all; that’s a sign that there is complacency and not a desire for growth or change. Many fight this part of the process; because of fear of losing both their AP and their spouse. If there is nothing to hide; there is no reason to hide.

Consistent defensive behavior. Once in awhile is understandable, but if it continues for awhile without getting better; that’s a sign of someone not getting it. Lack of empathy is very common, because they have only been thinking of themselves for awhile and it’s hard to change that mind set. Sometimes it takes the right help to gain empathy and true understanding. There are exercises and activities we use to help them start getting it. Sometimes this takes time, but it always takes willingness to consider what was lost due to their actions and their choices. The impact is something they must start to recognize and acknowledge.

Someone who won’t break 100% contact with the AP and give the attention to the marriage that it requires. This will take 30-90 days. The brain has to detox from a powerful chemical cocktail that feels so good! They will often get depressed or really sad as this happens, because of the intense chemical changes in the brain. This is why doing a recovery program with someone or even a group that understands this can be very helpful. Hope for Healing or EMS weekend are my suggestions. It will connect them with others in their same situation and help them see that they aren’t the only ones in this situation.

Hiding is a behavior that has been honed and must stop. This behavior is often learned at a young age. In most cases; for some reason it wasn’t safe to be honest so they learned to hide. Some became so good at it that it is second nature and they may not even recognize it as hiding anymore.

There can never be any kind of contact with the AP EVER again. That’s hard for me those that had a deep emotional connection with the AP. They will likely have to grieve this loss of the connection/friendship/bond. This is where hysterical bonding may be helpful as you re-bond and re-connect. Any contact with the AP usurps the process of fully letting go and giving their ALL to the marriage. They have to come to terms with the fact it is 100% over and they can never next, chat, talk to, see, or hear from this person in ANY aspect EVER again. Some will self loath and plateau here without expert help. Many also have to give up things that connect them to the AP. Examples we have seen: Changing Jobs, changing churches, moving, letting go of mutual friends, changing lifestyles, leaving gyms/sports/activities, stop going to bars, and cutting ALL contact with anyone who knew about the affair and supported it. If they are serious about recovery and saving the marriage; there must be an understanding and they must be willing to do whatever it takes to provide safety. This can take time, but it does happen if they truly want to get there.

Someone who is still lying in any way. Lies, hiding, and even omission is considered deception. Deception is secrets and secrets are the enemy of intimacy. Trickle truth is painful, but often the way they start to open up little by little. They are terrified to let it all out, because of the uncertainty of the betrayed spouses reaction to the full truth. Being FULLY known is intimacy (Into- Me-See). Once those walls start to fall and they feel safe; they will open up more and more. It’s rare that someone so unhealthy can just be 100% forthcoming right away. To have that expectation will usually lead to frustration and disappointment.

Someone who’s just not trending up over time. They will either start getting better and trending up or they won’t and if they are not getting better; there still may be work to be done. Some really need guidance and a safe place to talk about it with someone they aren’t hurting by doing that. If they refuse to talk about it; it’s usually because they are afraid of seeing how what they did causes you pain and anguish. This is because there is deep underlying shame. Until the Shame is dealt with; they may not be ready to see themselves in an authentic way and see the destruction their actions created.

Guidelines to asking questions:

I know I’ll never know every single thing that happened or every single situation they were in together. I have made peace with the things I don’t know. For those who subscribe to faith, I believe that God is the keeper of the truth and if needs to be revealed; He will reveal it to us. That happened more than once for me. I know many others that has happened for.

Here is what I recommend:

Write down in detail everything you want to know. (Be careful with sexual details or anything that may cause intrusive thoughts or PTSD).

Sleep on it for 24 hours and then re-write it again and take off things that may have changed.

Make sure you are not in an emotional state when you write it the second time. Pray about it or meditate on it.

Consider the impact, Will this information bring more healing or more pain. Will it change anything?

If it is still something you need to know, write a letter to your husband or wife asking for this info. Once you give them the letter, it’s their decision to release the info. It puts the ball in their court. Wait and don’t talk about it and see if they will come to you with the answers.

If they do not, can you make peace with that? If not, you need a mediator, coach, or therapist to help mediate a conversation about the importance of getting all questions answered. If they still aren’t open/honest, you then determine if you can move forward without this info. and what they looks like for your unique situation.

Is the Affair Partner in your head?

She was in mine too and this is how that went…

One thing about infidelity is that it requires just compensation. Our husband’s or Wive’s pay that by choosing us and rejecting the the AP and ending the affair, but the AP’s don’t always easily go away. The longer the AP holds on and tries to get the unfaithful husband or wife back, the harder it is to let them go. Even if they go easily, it’s still not easy, because although they may no longer be a threat; their memory can be a threat for some time. Usually that comes in the form of nightmares, intense anger, intrusive thoughts, and even PTSD. Depending on how severe your triggers and possible PTSD is, it can take awhile to move forward. It’s a marathon not a sprint according to Leslie at Affair Recovery.

Forgiveness is a whole other level and not even in the cards for many for awhile. I coach toward future forgiveness, but that’s a personal choice. It’s really hard to get the AP out of your head!!

Some things that may help:

Write her or him a letter, get it all out on paper; but you don’t have to send it. We recommend not engaging with them at all. It doesn’t bring the closure you seek.

I journal verbally and let it all out in a recording. I need to speak my feelings.

It will take awhile, but stop looking at the proof and their social media. This is so hard because for so long we have a wall blocking everything about the AP and d-day breaks down that wall and we want to see into their world. Sometimes to torture ourselves or see what our spouse saw in them or what they are doing now. Let me assure you, you are enough! She/He is nothing you would ever want to be. Affairs are about escaping and fantasy. Our spouses liked the way this person made them feel, but it wasn’t real. It is a fleeting fantasy that is chemically driven most of the time with Limerence. It cannot compare to the intimacy you two can have if you get in recovery and heal properly with expert help.

The AP is taking up space rent free in your head and one day, you will be ready to kick them out…in your time. It took me a long, long time to forgive her. Nearly 4 years honestly. I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry or remorseful because it was destroying me. She thinks he only chose me for the kids. He has proven that’s not true, he’s amazing now!! She tried for nearly 3 years off and on to contact him and me. She wanted to convince me that he would always love her. She was his high school girlfriend, but she eventually she gave up. He had to reject over and over and finally write her a pretty nasty letter to seal the deal (not suggested, but this was necessary for us and for deeper healing for me).

I hated her with a seething hatred. I was so very angry at the fact that she ever “replaced” me. She was amoeba scum to me. However, the way I felt about her didn’t make her lose sleep, but I didn’t sleep for 2 years. I had terrible nightmares and was triggered by songs, places, and memories. I felt naive and couldn’t forgive myself for awhile. The affair was in my face in many ways. My other blog has the entire story, but it was so entangled that our entire families were involved.

To forgive her and let her go was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was also the most freeing thing and truly released me from the bitterness that was killing me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It took time, healing, support, Trauma Therapy/ EMDR, prayer, and a lot of humility to get there. Not everyone does, but I was determined to not let her steal any more of my life. 5 years later I’m free of her and I feel safe in my marriage. We have a marriage that is so much better than it ever was. We are healed, trust is restored (not blindly), and the intimacy is so much deeper than I could have ever imagined. 5 years ago today I wasn’t sure my Marriage was gonna make it. Now I can embrace my story and give God the glory. I don’t despise it, because it has transformed me and my life and our Marriage There is HOPE!! It’s just a long road to get there.

Infidelity Recovery Coach Kimberly

It’s Alteration and Awareness that Protects Marriages from Infidelity

Something I believe everyone needs to hear:

If you think because you were hurt by or a family member was hurt by infidelity that it won’t happen to you or you are not going to ever go there….let me assure you that you you are setting yourself and your marriage up for failure if you don’t do intentional things to protect it. It doesn’t matter what pain you saw a family member go through with infidelity or even experienced yourself; you are still at risk without strong boundaries and a heightened awareness .

Everyone is susceptible and most think it cannot and will not happen to them. “I would never do that” or “he or she would never do that to me” is a line we have to get our newly married and engaged couples to recognize as a false sense of security. It is a weakness to “think” it will and can never happen in your marriage. The hundreds of people that I’ve worked with will tell you that they thought the exact same thing!!

The only way to protect yourself and your marriage is with strong walls and boundaries, not depending on will power or a value system that can easily be altered with the right justifications. It’s not determination that keeps you from cheating…it’s alteration.

Infidelity Recovery Coach Kimberly

Reasons Men Cheat

I believe there are several reasons Men cheat:

#1 Really bad boundaries. Boundaries are crucial to protecting your marriage.

People Pleasers- They are afraid to hurt or upset anyone. They will do things against their own belief system or what we call cognitive dissonance to make everyone happy.

Rescuers- some Men need to feel needed and like they are being depended upon. They will seek someone to rescue if they feel they are not needed or the HERO in their relationship.

Attention/EGO/Validation Seeking- Women who give them An EGO boost and make them feel desired are attractive. Also reconnection with old friends or high school flames on social media and it goes too far. – Read the book Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass

Mental Illness/ Narcissism/or Sex Addiction. – this requires EXPERT help and sometimes Trauma Therapy. Many of these things are a result from childhood issues/abuse/neglect/sexual abuse/trauma.

Emotionally or Conflict Avoidant- it’s a reality that many men will not open up to their wives about their struggles, but will open up to someone else. These men need a therapist or they are at a high risk for seeking support elsewhere that can easily lead to an affair. The conversations can also be a man and a women complaining to one another about their spouses and BAM there is a connection!

Lonely and under the influence- I call this “business trip syndrome”- Inhibitions weakened by substance, medication, boredom, alcohol or other factors that lead them to the wrong environments. All sexual usually not emotional. Aka- one night stands, escorts, prostitutes.

Entitled to happiness- There are deficits in their relationship and they “deserve” to be happy. They will justify their actions to meet their needs if they are not being met in the relationship. Often this is common in a sex-starved marriage. However, this can also be emotional needs not being met, but that is usually because it’s not communicated or really understood. These men need to seek expert help, not a listening ear of the opposite sex. These turn sexual quickly!!

Escapers or Exiters- They want out! They may disappear , ghost you in communication, blame you for everything, not come home all night, or be at home, but not present. This can be one of the most difficult ones to deal with, because they aren’t engaging at all or willing to hear you.

Men CAN and DO compartmentalize, which is very confusing because they often still love their spouse while they are cheating. They put each person in a box and can separate what they are doing from their marriage. It’s very hard for women to understand this, but it also means that because live is still there; once the affair is discovered; there is usually a better chance at saving the marriage if a man cheats. Men often feel relieved that they are caught, because it’s they way out of their affairs that they have been seeking.

If you are weak in any of these areas, work on your boundaries and strengthen your countermeasures. You cannot trust or depend on Will Power, because when Limerence sets in, it’s often too late and a powerful chemical cocktail of Dopamine and Adrenaline takes over which leads to what I call a hi-jacked brain. When something is high jacked, you’re no longer in control.

~ Infidelity Prevention and Recovery Coach


7 Reasons I believe Women Cheat

I believe there are 7 prime reasons women cheat:

#1 Really bad boundaries. Boundaries are crucial to protecting your marriage.

Attention seeking – Men who give them TLC are attractive. Also reconnection with old friends or high school flames on social media and it goes too far. – Read the book Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass

Emotionally disconnected from their husband. – Most women are if they decide to cheat. Women typically do not compartmentalize.

Bored with being just a mom and a wife – (finding yourself or seeking the sexy side) My advice: Do a Boudoir photo shoot and give those pictures to your husband to help spice things up instead of looking outside your marriage for a fleeting fantasy.

Mental Illness or Love Addiction. – this requires EXPERT help and sometimes Trauma Therapy.

Inhibitions weakened by substances, alcohol or some medications.

Seeking to be rescued/possible gold digger or someone who is struggling with finding security.

If you are weak in any of these areas, work on your boundaries and strengthen your countermeasures. You cannot trust or depend on Will Power, because when Limerence sets in, it’s often too late and a powerful chemical cocktail of Dopamine and Adrenaline takes over which leads to what I call a hi-jacked brain. When something is high jacked, you’re no longer in control.

~ Unbroken

~ Infidelity Prevention and Recovery Coach

Victim or Victorious

When July 8th 2015 rolled around and I was faced with the very real reality that my husband was indeed having an affair, I didn’t know the depths of it at the time. It went much longer and stronger than I knew and we were all entangled in this massive web of infidelity and deceit.

Immediately I felt like a victim and like it was an injustice. I didn’t just feel cheated on, I felt cheated and rightly so. I wasn’t ok! I remember the DAYS of crying and not being able to pull myself together. I remember drinking smoothies, because food wasn’t even an option, though alcohol was. It became a pretty close bedtime friend to be honest. I was a MESS!!! I was done wrong, I was angry, and I was justified in all of this, well I felt like I was at the time; but I soon realized this was not going to work!! This was the way to death, maybe not physically, but in other ways; I would not be able to maintain this victim status without something within me going to the grave. It was going to drag me into pits I couldn’t escape. My victim status nearly made me call her husband who wanted to bond over this and allow him to comfort me and me him, that would not have been safe!

My victim status wanted to make someone pay. I had vengeful fantasies that played out in my head and the toxic groups I was in just fed those thoughts with more and more people that had uncontrollable anger and emotions telling me what I SHOULD do. I got out of those pretty quickly!! Support groups aren’t all equal and some people shouldn’t be giving advice, but it is what it is. This wasn’t support, it was a bunch of people that were hurting doing their best to survive each day and spewing pain. I knew it was not something I could stay in and be better for it. The right community is crucial when it comes to recovery. I had to find a positive place to learn and be supported in the aftermath of my life blowing up. It wasn’t long after her husband busted down the walls of lies with the full truth that my husband said he wanted me and wanted to find a way to fix this. I was scared and had no idea how we would do that. Forgiveness was a foreign concept and nowhere on the table. I didn’t WANT to forgive and the idea was not even possible to me at the time. I was in the worst pain of my life and nothing seemed to help. It was excruciating! I know how you all are feeling, because I thought it would never end; but it did.

As I surrounded myself with the new support and community I created in Nov. 2015; I became educated and empowered about how I was going to get through this. I say THROUGH for a reason. You don’t get past infidelity recovery and heal…you go through it and it’s a doozie!! It’s the most lonely place with disenfranchised grief and that makes it so easy to fall into a victim mentality. It is understandable that one would easily yield to those feelings and resort to a life of bitterness, contempt, and anger; but it’s not the only way. Any of us that have been there will tell you that we felt exactly the same. The hopelessness alone is enough to drag you into a deep bottomless pit of despair. So how do you avoid going there? How to you circumvent the rabbit holes that are waiting for you to fall into? How do you not only survive, but thrive? It’s not easy, but being a victim will only keep you stuck. I’ll share some things that helped me and many I know to get through this and on the other side. I hope it helps you to rise above and become victorious.

A Victim is defined as one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions. As a previous betrayed spouse, I believe all of these things happened to me and I’m sure you feel the same. I was injured, destroyed, and sacrificed as a result of my husband’s choices. Well, the previous me was. I am not that person anymore. This has fundamentally changed my life, my views, my awareness, and our Marriage. We did survive this, but our old Marriage had to die, that was the casualty of this war. That sounds very grim, but in our case this shattered our marriage into shards of brokenness and there was no way to put those pieces back together. We had to start brand new.

Speaking of starting brand new…it was early Sept. 2015 and we were in our therapist’s office. I had just learned that my husband was in a double life/split self love affair with his high school girlfriend for the previous 3 years and I was angry. We usually sat side by side in her office, or at least we had since the first d-day when I found out that they were having an emotional affair and he said they had sex once, but I didn’t know everything yet. Anyways, this particular day we were sitting on separate ends of the couch and my arms were folded in absolute disgust at what he was capable of doing. I had a right to be mad! Call it righteous indignation or whatever you want, but I was furious!! Our therapist isn’t one of those who say forget about the past. She always helped me work through my past issues and move forward. She entered the room and noticed right away that something was wrong (obviously) and once I told her, she ask my husband what he desired and if he was ready to prove to me that he was choosing me. He was remorseful and broken and said yes, I want to fix what I’ve done and give her the world. I couldn’t hear that though and how was I to believe it? The next words she said ring in my ears every single day since that cool September morning. “If you want to save this Marriage it will take starting each day brand new.” All of the sudden something changed in my heart and I thought about that in its reality. Brand new? Like a clean slate? That means all of my shortcomings go too, that means we get the new start I have wished for since I can’t remember how long. Did this reset the clock? Did this act of betrayal and deception have the power to make things new? Wow! What a concept!! This day will forever be a day I remember, because this was the day that started to transform me as a person and the way I saw the world.

Brand New is defined as conspicuously new and unused or recently introduced. This definition certainly intrigued me! If we start brand new, it would be like dating again and like my husband wasn’t used goods from his past or recent present. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but he’s the only man I’ve ever been with in that way and it was a harsh reality that my health and my sexual history had now increased and it wasn’t even my doing. That’s not to upset anyone, but it’s true that these things are so risky like that. Anyways, unused and recently introduced was an interesting thought. I had been studying Limerence and around this time we were HEAVILY HYSTERICALLY BONDING, so the chemicals were there that made this feel new, fresh, fun, and exciting. I know that’s crazy given what I had just learned, but I never want him more in an animalistic kind of way. If you have experienced this, you understand what I’m saying, but it doesn’t last forever. However, I can tell you that right now at 4.5 years after d-day; I believe we have tapped into an intimacy that has made this feeling re-emerge with a deep love that is not fleeting. Our marriage is absolutely amazing and nothing I could have ever dreamt of. Starting brand new was hard at first. Intrusive thoughts and triggers made it nearly impossible, but I kept fighting everyday to move forward and decided not make him pay. I did get trauma therapy when it all became too much. I didn’t really understand forgiveness then, but I knew I didn’t want to use this as a weapon. I can’t say I never did that, but it was not in my heart to do so. Sometimes you open your mouth and things just fly! We have all been there I’m sure.

Starting Brand New: This takes a mind shift and a heart shift. This was not saying that I never talked about the affair or asked questions, but it was a commitment to let everyday be new. So, I didn’t take everything from the previous day into the next day. I processed, screamed, cried and dealt with it day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment in each brand new day. This wasn’t me leaving the entire past behind, but it was understanding that to move forward; I slowly had to let the past go through baby steps. It is not healthy to suppress or not talk about what happened and if the unfaithful spouse requires that; they should ask themselves what they would do if they were you? It’s something no one can fathom until they have experienced it. It’s not that easy!! Empathy is literally putting yourself in your hurt spouse’s shoes and doing what is in their best interest, not yours. If it bothers you to talk about it, it’s likely a shame problem and I would recommend an expert to help you with that; but don’t try to control your spouses informational intake and keep things hidden. Secrets are how you got into this mess and secrets, deception, lies, and omissions will keep you in it! Total transparency, accountability, and a commitment to being honest and safe is the way forward. This will set you free!! What is in the darkness, MUST be exposed completely if you want a real shot at surviving infidelity without separation or divorce. Starting brand new doesn’t mean things don’t have to be dealt with, it’s a chance at a possible clean slate and I believe a lot of people on both sides want that, but the clean slate isn’t going to be right away…it’s a gradual clean slate. It takes the unfaithful spouse providing consistent safety over time and proving themselves to the betrayed spouse. It takes the betrayed spouse understanding that as long as the unfaithful has severed ties and I mean ALL ties to the affair partner and paid what Marriage Builders call Just Compensation, to make them continue to pay is futile and won’t get you very far. They must be in recovery of course and working toward becoming a new man or woman and being safe. Otherwise, starting brand new will just end up setting you back each time there is a betrayal. Unfortunately, it is common for there to be more betrayal if there are still secrets. Samuel at Affair Recovery speaks of Healthy Distrust and I totally agree it’s crucial in the first year especially until the healthy spouse emerges, it’s completely normal to have very tight boundaries and live a little more restricted than normal. This isn’t forever, but it is important if you want to get to BRAND NEW!

Just Compensation- Dr. Harley at Marriage Builders says Infidelity is something that requires just compensation. There has to be a “payment” to the betrayed spouse and that is fully ending the affair with no contact and a commitment to rigorous honesty. Rigorous Honesty is defined as telling the truth when it’s easier to lie and sharing thoughts and feelings even when there may be consequences. This is often fear based and it can even be because of long term patterns of deceptive behavior, but to be a safe spouse to reconcile with; you must be more honest than you’ve ever been. Just Compensation was something that made so much sense to me. I wrote this the day I discovered that term in those early days:

Moving Forward:
I truly believe that the truth makes you free, but first it may piss you off.
For me when all the walls were down and I felt like I had the full ground zero disclosure;I made a choice that I would accept that was all and not dig further. Here is how I came to that decision:
Is my husband a bad man or a good man who did bad things? Joe Beam at Marriage Helper asks this. Good men sometimes do bad things, women too, speaking of mankind. My husband is a good man, who did really terrible things.
Is he saying sorry just to make himself feel better? What is his motive? My husband was broken and remorseful and wanted me.
How can I withhold love and forgiveness from a man who has said he wants to give me the world? This is what he was saying as this new man started to emerge and be honest and transparent.

My conclusion after I took an honest look at everything:
There is a point where you have seen everything you need to see and have heard everything you need to hear. Nothing you discover or obsess about will do anything else for you. At that time, you have to decide to forgive and stop the pain shopping, damming emotions, investigating, and numbing. When you do this, it will hurt, because you are taking the high road. The high road is steep, it’s not an easy road and it’s less traveled. I decided that my husband was worthy of forgiveness and happiness. He deserved a second chance, because he decided to stay and pay just compensation by ending everything and choosing me and our family. If I continued to make him pay everyday, he would not have anything left to give me. He would be in debt to me forever and he would never be able to repay it, therefore we would NEVER heal.
Once I grasped that and gave him unconditional agape love and he provided safety for me…over time with consistent and competent safety, accountability, and transparency; and rigorous honesty, some trust and security has been restored. Blind trust is not as easy, but verifiable trust is a compromise I can make right now. He has been safe, competent, and faithful for nearly 5 years, so it’s a little easier now than when I first found out.
It was not a quick process and took years to get where we are, but I truly believe the deception is gone and we were able to start brand new and now have a marriage that is better than ever. Just Compensation was the price paid for this new possibility in our lives; without it there would still be a debt owed. This also helped me feel victorious, because I no longer carry around a bag of things to throw at him anytime there is an opportunity. I got to forgiveness for him in the first year and her in year 3 through a lot of work and supernatural help!

The most essential thing I believe that helped me to avoid staying a victim was surrounding myself with people that had a like mind. My community of other betrayed spouses were as determined as I was to not let this define them, bring them down, or keep them stuck forever. We were a small group of betrayed spouses that wanted the same outcome and wanted it in a positive non-toxic way. We wanted our marriages to be restored and desired reconciliation (most of our spouses did too). That made all of the difference!! We needed each other, we supported each other, and at times we told the honest truth to each other. It was the best group ever! Most of the people in that group are healed and in restored marriages 4 years later. It’s amazing to me how positivity can do that. I’ve been around the negative groups of hurting people and I get it, but it wasn’t for me. To avoid becoming a victim I needed a new set of birds, since birds of a feather flock together. This group facilitated a healthy healing environment that was free of anyone or anything that came against our goal. We were exclusive, because we were the remnant of those willing to do the things that needed to be done to be victorious. This group still exists, but nearly everyone has moved forward in their Brand New marriages and lives and are thriving, so we don’t need each other as much; but they are like family and will always be!! They were the game changers in my recovery and the reason that I was victorious and didn’t yield to being a victim which would gave been so much easier at times. They held me and each other accountable in the weak moments and in those pity party times, we pulled each other out of the pit of despair and hopelessness. This is what everyone needs and I hope you find it!

Moving from Victim to Victorious is a process and takes a strong determination to just not let yourself have that mentality. You can rise above this, I have seen so many people do it!! Betrayed spouses can heal and unfaithful souses can get healthy; but you have to want that BRAND NEW SLATE more than anything in the world and work hard for it. Trust me, it doesn’t come easy, but it is attainable and all it takes is saying I will not be a victim and I am an overcomer then live like one everyday!!

~ Unbroken

Infidelity Recovery Coaching with Coach Kimberly