Healing from Infidelity

What does it take to heal from infidelity? There are many turning points and “ah ha” moments along that way that change the course of one’s feelings, thoughts and perhaps the course itself of the infidelity.

Here are some comments from readers of Break Free From the Affair as they relay their turning points or insights that accelerated their healing from infidelity.

I am still reading and rereading your book. I have learned a lot about the different types of affairs and am grateful to discover that my husband’s truly was a one-time episode and has a very good prognosis. I am an RN married to a psychologist. I found your book after I had already discovered the affair, and had unfortunately gone through many of the behavioral ‘mistakes’ you described. I now realize how those behaviors only made things worse. I felt like I didn’t even know who he was after 23 years of marriage. But in our situation, when my medical results from testing I had (after he had assured me I ‘didn’t need to have anything done’) came back positive, I was so glad I had finally made the choice to take care of myself. This gave me the strength to realize and tell him that, whether we stayed together or not, I would come out of this okay- more than that, I would continue to relearn how to take care of myself and become the stronger person that I knew was inside of me – a better role model for our children. With that medical news he suddenly discovered the ripple effect of his actions and how he actually had put my life in danger. In doing so he, literally overnight in our case, rediscovered his conscience, broke off contact with his OP (who lives in a distant state) after sharing the medical news as mandated by the situation and has recommitted himself to our marriage and our family. As you say, I always lived by the mistaken belief that taking care of myself was ‘selfish’. I began individual counseling and have thus far made a great deal of progress in the areas of self esteem and assertiveness. I am making the decision daily to forgive my husband, to stay in this relationship, and together we are pledging to rebuild our marriage to be better than it ever was before. I am discovering that these decisions do get easier as the months go by. So far he is living up to this commitment and continues working hard to rebuild the trust in our relationship.

Charging neutral seems to be very effective. This is not my preferred communication style, although it should be.

– realized it was much more complex than I originally thought – gave different persectives to help frame the reason behind the affair

This entry was posted in Charging Neutral, Emotional Distance, Emotional Infidelity, Infidelity Coaching, Infidelity Marriage, Infidelity Pain, Rebuilding the Marriage or Relationship, Relationship Communication, Surviving Infidelity, Types of Affairs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Healing from Infidelity

  1. Sylvia Stratford says:

    When Dr.Huizenga advises on charging neutral I have to say that is a great and most effective advice I have ever got. However to do that takes Budda or God like qualities because we are hurt, confused , the selfesteem is in the celler and we are in a way attacked on our core values.On top of it most of us have to live with someone who is, at the time, emotionally not available and last but not least has violated one of the core values by which we human beings live. To be faithful to your partner is the base of the union.
    Of course we know life is not perfect and the reasons why somebody is doing it would be multifacetted and there would be many. I spend nights and days contemplating why a person is regressing in their development.
    Firstly I think it is opportunity and and unspoken sanctioning by our society. For us it is the Atom Bomb and for them a misdemenour.
    Watch the chick flick movies and you see people portraing adulterers get a good laugh . How exiting is it , almost a game. How do I hide it. Look how clever I am . Which in their eyes devalues their spouse and their intelligence.
    I was told ,” it is very common” , you know. Another comment is , ” It is not what you think it is”. All these comments show utmost disrespect which of course they demand. Fazit. be godlike and try to forgive once and use Dr. Huizenga’s neutral technic however if it re-occurs , leave.

  2. Scott says:

    Having gone through the grieving process myself over the past 2 years and finally moving to acceptance; I personally believe that societal values regarding adultery (aka. “infidelity”) are too easily tolerated without realizing the collateral damage that occurs as a direct result of “playing”.

    The consequences for not only the betrayed spouse but also any children involved are incalculable costs. Adults may or may not eventually “get over” the betrayal but our children will be affected for the rest of their lives and in all of their relationships.

    It dumb founds me how totally selfish someone must be to think only of their own desires, passions and sexual conquests. Really? Grow up! This isn’t High School anymore…or is it for some people.

    Yes; I agree with Dr. Bob regarding they’re individuals with “issues” but that certainly shouldn’t be perceived as an excuse for abhorrent behavior.

    Imagine someone using a defense of “diminished capacity” for murder and/or any other crime today. It’s not likely that it would succeed even in “worst case” scenarios where some are truly affected by mental disorders.

    Poor impulse control is NOT an excuse. Not growing up isn’t one either.

    I don’t “run” red lights or break other laws and then tell an officer that I just couldn’t help myself.

    It’s “black and white”; there’s no gray area. Please relabel the topic appropriately as “Healing from an Adulterous Spouse”. I know it’s not politically correct but it’s accurate and part and parcel of the societal problem.

    In my case; I was married; there were vows exchanged and it was a “breach of contract”. My spouse put my health at risk and the mental health of our child.

    Anything other than the facts is irrelevant and I’m not into consoling grown adults who at their “core”; knew it was wrong.

    If you don’t like your marriage; separate and file for divorce. Then pursue your conquests.

    • Tina says:

      Hi Scott,
      It’s been a while since you wrote this but I had the urge to respond. It’s been 1yr and 9months since I discovered my husband was having an affair. I am still very much hurt and am having huge problems with my self-worth. Worse however is the effect his adultery has affected our 2 teenage daughters. I feel so horrible to know that because of my husbands selfishness, ego and immaturity my 2 daughters will have life-long problems with their self-esteem, have trust issues in intimate relationships and have lost the respect for their father whom they once loved so dearly! When he was in the height of his passionate love affair (which I wasn’t aware of at the time) and being very cruel and dismissive to me AND the children (!!?!) I asked for a divorce. He didn’t want a divorce though and said he wished to have me as his wife and live with us as a family! Still he continued to betray me and our daughters for another 4 months after that. It only ended because the OW was 15 yrs younger, wanted children and commitment from him, which he wasn’t prepared to give. So she said she had to move one. By the time I discovered it, it had been over for 3 weeks but he was still trying to get her back! It disgusts me! Why didn’t he willingly take the divorce I asked for if she was so special?? Because adulterers want the best of both worlds: the security of a family at home and the exciting bachelor life with the OW. Adultery should be punishable under the law, as it is a breach of contract and it does tremendous damage not only to the spouse but also to the wonderful, innocent children!

      • Vicki Tirendi says:

        That’s it exactly Sylvia. I found out almost four years ago my husband was really a serial cheater for the last 17 years. So many lies I actually began to believe what he said to me about my irrational accusations. Self esteem, forget it. This shakes the very essence of a woman and changes her forever. He’s sorry of course, never wanted to leave, countless excuses none of which mean anything. I stay because he is faithful now and I deserve the family unit. He has adult children who are disappointed in him. I’ve earned my family, the fact he gets to be part of it is a bonus for him. I’ll never really trust him again, something has died inside me. The movies making fun of the cheating lifestyle just give me triggers to cope with. The misdemeanour/atom bomb metaphor is spot on. They don’t want to own what they’ve actually done and the fallout that will probably never end. I spent almost 3 years just trying to be a good wife and stay close to him emotionally., he tried too and we had success. Yet it’s impossible to forget and it’s part of who I am. This time last year I had a bad accident and broke my ankle/foot in 7 places. Surgery and wheelchair, our relationship changed and his guilt became even worse. I feel I’ve been stripped back and forced to face squarely that I cannot rely on this man not to hurt me. He will never admit to himself just how much he’s hurt me and our kids, even himself. I find myself trying less to talk to him because I know he’s likely to tell me what he thinks I should hear, not what the truth is. I’m giving up on that level of closeness . He doesn’t realise how dangerous that is for our relationship. He’s such a fool he just thinks if I stop talking about it I’m not thinking about it. Thing is never in the whole time since reveal has he been totally honest with me. He owed me that but he can’t do it. I’ll stay because I’m retired now and deserve for him to provide financially after the thousands he spent on other women. I stay so as a family we share our Grandson and our daughter’s wedding. I deserve that and our kids do too. I’ve worked very hard for many years and put everything into my family. He’s done everything possible to break us but for me that would be the end. Had he been brave enough to be honest I could have forgiven more but he won’t so there’s a limit to how much I can trust when he wont trust me with his truth.

      • Scott Morrow says:


        In my case; I divorced my wife and was awarded everything except for her clothes and other personal effects.

        I won’t provide details on that process beyond the outcome that but will say that I spent time in counseling following that and discovered that I had always been drawn to narcissistic personality types. Specifically, people with Borderline Personality Disorders.

        Once I started reading on that subject matter; I had to change perceptions and STOP rescuing people at my expense. Instead of being “kind”; I had to become “kindly firm” which is a process; not an event.

        I had to keep my focus on my health; both physical and mental and start treating myself with more respect.

        I will state that you’re self-esteem will grow as you handle more and more situations on your own and that you have to ignore your feelings for a while.

        You can’t think yourself into a new way of living; you have to live yourself into a new way of thinking. Remain teachable and take action on “suggestions” given to you by a professional.

        Turn a deaf ear to those who want to tell you what to do. You’ll develop an intuitiveness in situations which used to baffle you!

        Deep in your soul; you have all of the answers for yourself. You just need to remain still and silent for those answers to come to into your thoughts. This requires “me time” where you’re not responsible for anything or anyone. Those opportunities exist ONLY when you to establish “firm boundaries”.

        Detach from those people who want to “suck your energy”. Stop giving freely (e.g., a “unilateral concession”) unless you’ve taken care of your business first and want to give someone something WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATIONS!

        Above all; you’re the most important person in your life. If you don’t get your priorities in the right order; you’ll have nothing to give to your children or anyone else.

        Be kind to yourself…it takes a while to recover from an “existential crisis” where everything you thought that was real was nothing more than an illusion. Anyone can recover from this and not remain jaded BUT it requires work on your behalf. Don’t short change yourself.

        I have a wonderful relationship with my “ex” BUT I maintain firm boundaries…fool me once; shame on you…fool me twice; shame on me! She was sick and still is…and it’s not my responsibility to help someone who chooses to remain that way.

        You’ll make it if you endeavor to live a life that is free of conflict, chaos and constant aggravation and don’t harbor any feelings of resentment.

        In my case; my ex-wives helped me to become more than I ever thought I’d be. I’m sincerely grateful for that experience because no one was responsible for my happiness…only me.

        Pain is the touchstone of “spiritual growth”. Suffering was self chosen because of my fear of loss. Fear kept me in bondage because I was afraid to have changes in my life and more pointedly; to my concepts and beliefs. Once i made the decision to let go and accept whatever came into life; I became free of fear and joy and happiness appeared unexpectedly.

        Good luck and God’s speed Tina!

      • Eddie says:

        Sorry to hear about your situation. Well In my opinion, just let him do his affair. Just take care if your kids and yourself. Pray to forgive him and do your own stuff. Believe me, if he came home and you are on a phone with a friend or a relative, his gonna get jealous and mad.

    • Shaun Romero-Godshall says:

      You spoke what I think and feel perfectly on this matter. It is good to hear it from a male perspective that the pain is the same. I’m just getting started on my healing process. It totally sucks. I’m also worried about my young daughters. I still can’t wrap my head around this all, I but thanks for putting it in to words so well.

    • Brittany says:

      Exactly!!!!! Thank you! Everything you read is making excuses for their irresponsible, selfish decisions. The fact is they messed up bad and they need to do the work to fix it!

    • JOHN says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *