The Infidelity Car Crash; The Carnage of Infidelity

Photo by Dominika Kwiatkowska on Pexels.com

*Content warning; this is a creative writing piece describing how the first 18 months of recovery felt for me, I’ve used some strong imagery that may be an emotional trigger for others who are on a similar journey. Please proceed with caution.

You’re cruising down a long straight stretch of country road in this car called marriage. 

A familiar road, one you’ve both driven down a thousand times.

Sitting comfortably on 110kmph it’s a smooth open road, there’s no speed limit. 

Singing along to your favourite Spotify playlist, he’s humming in tune with the music.

Something catches his eye he becomes distracted, glancing sideward for a little too long his eyes fix on an object in his peripheral.

By the time he diverts his attention back to where it should be it’s too late. 

Over correcting, the marriage car slams into a tree.

There’s screeching of brakes, your song turns into a scream then a deathly thud, carnage is strewn across the road and into a paddock.

The marriage car is a mangled mess, your bodies lay motionless, barely a pulse. 

Plumes of smoke and dust billow from the wreckage.

Blood is pouring out of gaping wounds, you’ve been pierced by debris.

He’s not bleeding but he’s hurt, badly hurt.

Emergency services arrive and once you’ve been freed from the wreckage you’re both rushed into the ED.

Your condition is critical lapsing in and out of consciousness, suffering substantial injury you’re placed on life support in ICU. 

He’s ok but in a lot of pain, suffering concussion and a broken wrist. His body badly bruised, he’ll recover.

He watches you fighting for life, tubes helping you breathe, buzzers, monitors, Drs & Nurses fussing. 

You’ve lost a lot of blood they’ve stitched the wounds and you’ve stopped hemorrhaging for now.

No one is sure if you’ll make it through.

Sitting beside you, he’s wracked with guilt. 

He did this, if only he kept his eyes on the road, if only he didn’t get distracted, if only….

You wouldn’t be in this mess you wouldn’t be so broken.

Three to six months you’re in this state. 

It’s touch and go. 

He’s still there watching you, wishing he could fix it, wishing he could change the past, wishing he didn’t make such a bad decision, wishing he didn’t look sideways.

He can’t fix or change anything, he can just sit and be there hoping and praying you’ll recover. 

Surprisingly the marriage car is not a complete write off as first thought, it’s gone in for assessment, maybe it can be repaired?

After 6 months of critical care you’re moved to a ward. In the crash you received two broken legs, fractured ribs, punctured lung and broken ankles, crushed pelvis and both eye sockets were broken, your jaw was dislocated.

You were a mess, the recovery road is long, but you’ll make it, we think.

He’s been doing Physio to help himself heal and he’s been there with you.

He still beats himself up that he caused this, but he’s determined to help you heal too.

While you’re in the ward you’re beginning to sit up, you still need help showering and the Physio’s are helping you get out of bed each day. Plasters are off, you’re out of traction. You’ve kind of been wired back together with pins, it feels weird but at least you’re beginning to get sensation back.

For the next twelve months, you undergo intensive physiotherapy and as an outpatient, you’ll continue daily at home.

He picked you up from hospital in the remodelled marriage car.

You were really frightened to get in. Everything flashes before you. 

What if it happens again? 

What if it’s not safe? 

The kids are in the car this time. 

They want you to get in, they want to bring you home. 

Dads been fixing things around the house to make it safe for you too, it looks completely different, way better than before.

He opens the passenger side door for you, you tentatively hop in, he’s in the drivers’ seat.

As he cautiously pulls out of the hospital park, he tells you the panel beaters and mechanics worked hard repairing the mess.

They replaced every damaged component and it’s got a brand-new engine. 

There are even new leather seats. 

It’s a miracle they could make anything of it. 

He thinks the marriage car might even be better than before, you’re not so certain…

He’s still doing Physio, he wishes he could help you with yours, but he can’t, and you can’t help him with his. 

The best thing you can both do is your own work and encourage each other to keep going.

Some days you feel stronger than others.

Some days you get flashbacks of the crash and just want the world to swallow you up.

Some days you just want to die, some days you want to blame him, he did this to you, he caused you to feel so broken. 

You look at him and see the remorse in his face, you see pain and you see love.

You can do this.

After about 18 months you’re walking unaided, slowly and tentatively but look how far you’ve come. 

You run into an old acquaintance they’d heard you’d had a bit of an accident. 

They tell you you’re looking great, you thank them for being kind. 

Although the physical scars are all but healed the internal injuries have still got a way to go. You’re getting there, heading in the right direction, still doing what the Drs have said.

He’s still there too, he’s supported you when you’ve needed, encouraged you.

He’s also invested in assertive driving courses to make certain nothing like this will happen again.

He’s not taking his eyes off the road again.

Blind spot detectors and lane departure warning sensors have been installed.

You’re beginning to think that the marriage car is better than ever and you’re both committed to maintaining it, taking turns in booking services, keeping fuel in the tank and making sure it has regular tune-ups. 

You both want the marriage car to last a lifetime, with care, it will.

Infidelity hurts, really hurts. It’s not just the betrayal or betrayals that pierce you to the core, it’s all of the behaviours which accompany betrayal. The undermining, gaslighting, lies, secrets, sneaking around, deception, losses; an endless list of loss and grief.

There really are no winners in an affair fog, a delusional state of momentary fun, games and selfishness, deceit is a heavy burden to carry.

Beware the lure of greener pastures.

There are mountains to climb and valleys to sit in, no matter which road you take to recovery.

God Bless,

Noni & Dave xxx

The Moment of Impact

June Twenty-Sixth marks the 1 year anniversary of Beyond Betrayal, 28 Years; Lies-Deceit-Infidelity book launch. *(At the bottom of this post, there is a link that will give you 50% off eBooks, only available for 24 hours on 26/6/22, please share this post with anyone you think may be interested. Click here for reviews )

In the week leading up to the launch in 2021, I asked one question in a private Facebook group for women who have been impacted by their partners betrayal.

The sole purpose for asking this Q was so that I could share the reality of the moment of impact to our audience who may never have experienced or acknowledged such trauma themselves. What we see in media and movies doesn’t even come close to accurately portraying the enormity of betrayal. I hate that cheating is glamorised and there is sweet jack all which captures the ripple effect and fallout of an unfaithful partner’s self-centred destructive choices.

If you have been unfaithful, please know that it is not my intention to send anyone into a shame spiral here, shame will never be anyone’s friend in recovery. My prayer is that the eyes and ears of your heart may be opened further as you read and hear from other betrayed spouses’ experiences. My prayer is also for increased empathy to aid healing and intimacy.

These are my thoughts—familiarity can often cause us to become immune to hearing the words and voice of those closest to us. Perhaps we are so accustomed to each other’s nature and communication styles that it takes a third party expressing a message differently for the lights to come on, even if it is the same message! All of the answers below are from real people, and real situations, each feeling is valid and true for them—some of them are truly gut-wrenching and will make you weep. You might have friends or family and this is their story, perhaps reading this will help you better understand their pain.

The other thing I want to add is that although all of these messages came from betrayed women, I know that there are just as many men out there who are reeling and hurting from their partner’s betrayal. You are not overlooked or forgotten.

During the time we had at the launch I was unable to share every response but I believe they all deserve to be heard and that’s why this post is dedicated to the brave men and women who are doing this heartbreaking journey.


THE QUESTION—“Is anyone able to give me a 1 sentence description of their betrayal experience immediately following discovery? Summing up in a few words what it felt like for you?”

“Like an Elephant was sitting on my soul. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t breathe, move or talk.”

“The ground opened up beneath me and swallowed me whole—I fell over and grabbed the carpet to hold on—when I could finally stand, I ran and hid in my closet—frozen in terror.”

“My immediate experience was the feeling that the walls were closing in on me. That I was dying and he, the one person I loved and trusted the most, was the one killing me. It felt like my heart was beating so hard and so fast that I was going to die right there in my kitchen with my babies watching.”

“Like the ground beneath me that I thought was solid, shattered like glass, and I just kept free-falling.”

“I knelt in his office and had to brace myself. I couldn’t make sense of anything I was seeing. I was spinning down a dark hole of pain and disbelief. I walked around outside of my body for days, and everywhere I looked, I only saw liars.”

“Complete heartbreak and devastation. I cried constantly for days on days. He cried too seeing what he had done to me. After a few days, I knew I had to leave and find a safe place for myself. He was the love of my life and I had given him my everything. Following was months on months of crying and sleepless nights. Just sheer torment. Especially as more and more discoveries unfolded. I told him I wished he would have just killed me instead. It was the very depths of despair and pain I had ever experienced in my life. And so incredibly exhausting. My life and my dreams were completely crushed.”

“Felt like someone took a baseball bat to my knees, I couldn’t stand, they were shaking so bad, my heart was racing up through my throat. And each D-day after felt like reliving the same nightmare but a bit worse, the shock was horrendous and the frustration beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t sleep, could hardly eat, couldn’t see people, couldn’t get up off the floor some days. It was torture.”

“First journal entry after D-day: I was almost killed by my last husband, but this feels so much worse. My heart is under a boulder and no one will lift it off of me. My entire truth was shattered at that moment and the worst part about it is that it’s my fault. My husband: “it felt like I just ruined my entire life. I finally saw who I had become. A f****** monster.” My ex-husband basically beat the crap out of me weekly for about a year and a half. And cheated 7 times that I know of. Just to give you all some background.”

“Heartbroken and puking while trying to keep the kids alive…”

“I remember telling my sister I felt like I was drowning and that every time I managed to come up for air I was pushed under again.”

“PTSD. D-Day was 27 July 18 at 4:04 pm. I literally got back from my deployment. Same day and he confessed he was having an affair and thought he could have both of us and I would be fine with it. I punched him in the face though he wasn’t surprised by that reaction, he was upset that I told him it was either me or her. Like I was not being fair to him. To this day, he has never felt guilty about the affair, only guilty that he hurt me.”

“When he left out of the blue it was like having my Heart pulled out of my chest and pounding before me.”

“I used to say, it feels like my soul is on fire and burning up and it keeps burning and won’t stop. Like I was being tortured with the worst torture anyone could get and it never stops, it keeps going on and on and on…this picture pretty much paints the picture of what it feels like…”

“I felt the deepest darkest despair and pain arghhhhh my head and heart were frantic trying to make sense of what had been going on. He was the love of my life my saviour what was wrong with the human race in this world…. my world has been a darker place ever since. I look back at that time and I’m grateful every day that I’m surviving.”

“My hands shook as I held his cell phone, seeing his “I love you girl” & their conversation during our family time the previous day. Panic set in as I sent screenshots to my cell phone, terrified he would wake up & catch me as if I were the one doing something wrong. Careful not to step on my broken heart that lay shattered on the floor, I tiptoed back & put his cellphone back on his nightstand & whispered in his ear “I know about….” He sits up, pleading “I never stopped loving you”. I slap him several times & yell back “That’s not LOVE”. Then I drive to work, where I stand paralyzed in the parking lot & call my best friend.”

“I felt like God had forgotten me.”

“I shook, I was enraged but couldn’t speak. My heart beat through my chest wall and I was quiet. I kept telling myself over and over not to make any life-changing decisions in this moment of disbelief. All I wanted to do was rip his head off his shoulders. I felt relief because I knew something was missing in our relationship but didn’t know what. We were the perfect couple to everyone we knew, but it didn’t feel that way to me, so there was relief. I then walked to the beach (it was January in Canada) and I screamed as loud and as long as I could and then did it again. I came home and threw photos, frames, glass and all down the basement stairs where my husband had been sent. It took me days to cry the anger was so in my face, I remember asking God what else he was going to throw at me as I had been through so much. I typed out a separation agreement and made him sign it at 4 in the morning, after cleaning up the glass so he could get up the stairs. I woke up a few hours later went to town and bought all new bedding, a new bed, and started redesigning my bedroom – and yes, he paid for it.”

“I started losing my peripheral vision and it felt like my world started spinning on its axis a little bit differently. I went into shock for about a week where it felt like I couldn’t eat or sleep. I also had to be responsible for my 2 and 4-year-old daughters. They knew I was in pain. I couldn’t hide it and I knew they needed to know that I was hurting and that also no matter what I would never leave them or betray them. They didn’t know why of course. And now I am a different person and the person I was before is dead. There are some silver linings in that and also some tragedies.”

“I felt like I had been set on fire.”

“My vision narrowed as if I were in a tunnel, my heart stopped yet beat so hard at the same time, my stomach dropped yet I brought up lunch, my thoughts were racing yet I couldn’t think of anything to say.”

“I literally fell on my knees while screaming like someone very close died. I was shaking and didn’t feel my hands. I felt a deep pain in my heart.”

“Broken the first time…Shattered the next time I caught him texting her. That’s all it took.”

“I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck and as soon as I stood up, it would hit again and again.”

“I was gutted shocked and so hurt, nauseous and my chest ached so bad but then In another sense not really surprised because of past traumas and some red flags that I had ignored.”

“The panic of a free fall hits and then the weight of the devastation crushes you, heart and soul.”

“Absolutely reality fragmenting, painful, devastating. Worse than death.” 

“I can honestly say it was the worst thing that I had ever experienced. I’ve lost loved ones but they get Ill and die but not on purpose. It’s the fact it happened and didn’t need to—with death, we lose a future with someone. With betrayal, we lose our history too. I’ve had 2 miscarriages and the pain from that was horrible but this infidelity was much worse as it was inflicted on me x”

“…agree totally. I’ve lost 4 babies which was devastating and I thought would be the worst thing I’d ever go through. However, they didn’t choose to hurt me and that was the difference. Knowing that someone did something on purpose that they knew would devastate you. I would also say it was like losing the ground from beneath your feet. If the person you trusted most in the world can betray you then nothing is safe.”

“Yes, when I grabbed his phone to take to him and there was an alert. I remember looking at it and swirling in slow motion then my whole body went numb. It was cloudy out and I can still remember the colour of the cars near me, I couldn’t breathe felt like the world was spinning and I am pretty sure I floated to the baseball game and stood there for 3 games with my mind racing. It all sucks for us!!!!!”

“I felt like an atom bomb had gone off in my life! Everything I thought I knew and had was destroyed in a moment.”

“Stunned shock and disbelief. My whole world crashing down around my ears; palpitations; anger; sadness and a strong desire to run away and hide.”

“My whole body started to violently shake, I heard someone far away screaming the word NO………it was me!”

“The ground opened up and I literally felt like I was falling into a dark, swirling abyss…I could not comprehend what I was hearing from his mouth as he told me about his cheating. It was the most devastating and surreal experience of my life. 27 years of a solid, loving marriage—sliced apart and severed along with my heart. The next few days were a blur … We are just 3 years past D-day this past weekend … and the day still hit me—harder than I thought it would. We are doing so much better… but the healing journey continues…”

“I felt like I was nothing I was hurt, angry, my heart hurt, actually was painful. Couldn’t sleep, or eat, I worked all the time to try to keep my mind busy. It still hurts. Has been 25 years.”

“To me…. it was like losing everything and everyone you knew and loved all at once…. nothing seemed real or right…. like being picked up and taken away from everything that kept you grounded all at once…. nothing left normal or right……. couldn’t focus on work, that use to ground me, sleep nope, kids nope, eating nope…… nothing felt right or safe.”

“It completely broke my soul. I’ll never be the same person I was ever again. I’ll never love as pure and hard again. I’ll always doubt myself, feelings and reality. Love as I thought I knew it, never existed.”

“I knew I didn’t really want to die, but I didn’t want to live, either. It was complete cognitive dissonance.”

“My Body started going cold. Top of my head on down to my feet. Traumatic Shock…”

Cleaning Out The Wound

Dave’s a surfer, he could spend hours in a lineup waiting for his chance to pull into the perfect barrel. Over the years he’s had his fair share of reef kisses. Most parts of his body have either been grazed, scratched, pierced or cut by some form of marine matter. Sea Urchins and broken bits of coral can really cause havoc if they splinter off and become embedded under the skin.

The tiniest shard can go undetected for a while, but over time—even after the skin has sealed over and the surface looks fine—it grows increasingly painful, then as the wound festers and infection sets in, it becomes obvious that there is something going on beneath. Something is causing the angry red inflammatory response and needs to come out, we might not be able to see it initially, but we can sure feel it . The only way to fix this problem is for the fragment to come to the surface and be removed completely.

This is no different when it comes to the lies of betrayal and infidelity.

When someone who has been unfaithful is caught out—it is common for them to minimise, understate, deflect or just simply keep on lying. They might give bare details in an explanation and attempt to appease the partner who has made the discovery but it is highly uncommon for them to tell the whole truth upfront. The full truth is quite likely to be a tad more shocking, right? They’ll probably be thinking along the lines of, “If I can just get through this one, the rest will remain hidden, I won’t do it again and my significant other will never know.”

Not likely—the pieces that have been omitted will remain as hidden as that minute piece of sea urchin in Dave’s foot! It’ll fester away and there’ll always be some other reason for the distance, the tiredness, the apathy, the grumpiness, the arguments, the disconnection, or the lack of interest a betrayed partner feels. Of course this ambivalence may not be evident at first—in fact, it could be quite the opposite—but eventually there’ll be a simmering beneath the surface, a discomfort, the “walking on eggshells” feeling. We know how this unfolds, drip, drip drip The unfaithful will be gaslighting you to protect their secrets, this takes loads of energy and leaves little for an authentic loving relationship, not to mention a lack of safety.

Permanent withholding will always be a permanent deficiency in the relationship, an obstacle to the love that could have been


Here are a few reasons the unfaithful might with-hold information.

SHAME—I am a bad person, as opposed to I have done something bad. FEAR—My partner will leave me if they know the truth, no one will love me if they know who I really am (loops back to shame). PAIN—I’ve hurt someone I love dearly and I don’t want to cause them any more pain. (BTW someone who discloses their infidelity before getting caught, may be a little more forthcoming with details and truth, yet they still may struggle with offering a full disclosure)

These are all valid reasons but trust me, they serve no purpose for a couple aiming towards reconciliation. The facts must be faced and the truth needs to be told. PERIOD!

Whether you go through this process by yourselves or engage a therapist to assist with a full therapeutic disclosure is entirely up to you but my recommendation is that you receive professional guidance in understanding what’s involved and assistance in timelines and questioning.

The betrayed needs enough detail to get a clear picture of what’s happened, how they were deceived without gory details burning more traumatic imagery than is already there and certainly no more than is absolutely necessary—remember, THERE IS NO BLEACH FOR THE BRAIN!

Often the decision is dependant on funds, history, extent of betrayal and importantly the willingness of the unfaithful partner. Polygraphs are necessary in some cases.

None of it is easy.

Dear Unfaithful, if you’re still in dispute over the necessity for your Dearest Betrayed to know the absolute truth, I have one question for you.

If you had a malignant tumour in your neck and the specialist told you that your best chance of survival was to have it completely surgically removed—would you want them to leave any behind?

If you are serious about saving your relationship and desire to thrive after infidelity, you got to give it a fighting chance—this begins with safety and truth, not trust.

Trust will come later but for now the foundation needs to be built on a solid bedrock of safety and truth!

To quote Brenè Brown, “Choose courage over comfort”.

I’m rallying for you, I know you can do this!

Noni XXX

The Secret Sexual Basement

What the heck is this you may ask?

The last three years have been quite the learning curve for us as we explore the complexities of infidelity, secrets, lies, duality, and narcissistic abusive behaviours.

It’s a learning curve that I never imagined I’d be on—in saying this—I’m thankful that both Dave and I possess a growth mindset that has worked well for us, especially in recovery.

So now as I prepare to launch Affair Recovery Counselling, I’m diving deep, not only out of personal interest but also from a clinical perspective, and I’ve come across some of the most fascinating discoveries.

One is this metaphor of the Secret Sexual Basement by Dr Omar Minwalla, it helps us to understand intimate betrayal and the trauma associated with it.

I guarantee that I’m going to fail to do justice trying to explain what the SSB is myself, but I’ll give it a shot and if you want you can listen on the Helping Couples Heal (pt 1) podcast. Even if you’re not impacted by infidelity yourself, his model is certainly enlightening for understanding betrayal trauma.

If you’ve read our story you’ll know that we had years and cycles of crazy-making behaviour. Years of me and the kids knowing that something was “off” but not being able to put a finger on it—the Secret Sexual Basement (pt 2) has made perfect sense of our experience, and with remarkable accuracy. It’s like Dr Minwalla has illuminated a brilliant spotlight on another overlooked aspect of infidelity. He has a couple of great acronyms that may become part of the DSM5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) IAD—Integrity Abuse Disorder and DCSR—Deceptive Compartmentalized Sexual-Relational Reality, he gives in-depth descriptions in the podcasts.

Here’s my abridged version of the SSB

There’s a house where the family live, Mum, Dad, kids, pets etc and in the house, normal life happens. There’s work, sport, church, celebrations, social life yadda yadda yadda, it all looks good and regular, just like everyone else in the community. No one from the outside would suspect that there is anything unusual about this family. But let’s say Dad (could be anyone but I’ll just use Dad as an example) decides he is going to build a basement that no one else is going to know about, it’s just for himself, somewhere for him to disappear to and visit when he wants—maybe it’s his own secret mancave? Not even his own family know that he’s going to build it. Anyway, in this secret place, he seeks pornography, emotional affairs, sexual acting out, prostitutes, online sexual/romantic chats etc. He’s messing with/altering the foundations of the home, this in itself becomes destabilising and traumatic. (pt 3).

At no time has he said, “Honey I’m thinking about building a special space for myself and this is what I want to use it for, what are your thoughts?”

The fact that he has done this without consulting the family is the very beginning of abuse. Why? Because once he has begun to plan this secret basement it is the beginning of deception and once he has gone down into the basement which is pretty dark, he will come up different. The family begin to sense that things are a little off, but of course, the basement world is secret and compartmentalized so they are unsure of what it is that they’re feeling. The gaslighting, manipulation, deflecting, withholding, defensiveness, minimisation and lying start—a cycle of psychological, emotional and relational abuse. Basement activities invoke feelings of deep shame and this shame sticks to the person who visits remaining with them when they go back upstairs.

It’s light and dark…

As a therapist and betrayal abuse victim, I believe that all acting out behaviours must be addressed with compassion and understanding.

Most unfaithful partners are willing to own the affairs or acting out yet are reluctant to label their actions as abusive. I get that, however we miss a vital part of recovery by overlooking the serious impact someones secret sexual basement-dwelling has on everyones’ life above floor level.

It’s not so much how often one goes down to the basement, it’s the fact that the basement even exists at all!

Makes good sense to me.

Noni XXX

P.S. Hey friend if you’re reading this and you can relate to any part, please reach out, you’re not crazy, you’re not alone, your feelings are valid and your well-being and safety is important. Denial is not a place you want stay…

The Role of Spirituality in Recovery

I’ve always believed that we humans are spiritual beings encompassed in a temporal body, a little similar to an envelope that carries a letter inside. The envelope has a purpose although it’s the letter that contains all of the really important stuff.

I’m unashamedly Christian and also unashamedly imperfect. My faith is what has sustained me throughout many of life’s storms, it hasn’t always been this way though. I literally had years where I thought I was—and very much wanted to be— completely in control. In control of circumstances, finances, relationships, decision making and the future. I was what I now know to be “psychologically inflexible.” I think that the type of control I grappled with was fear-based and most definitely reactive to external stimuli. I had no anchor to keep me grounded when the seas got rough and let’s face it, betrayal and infidelity is one mighty s’*^ storm to encounter!

Thankfully I discovered my spiritual anchor before I met Dave and that was when I began to really dig deep into my value and worth. Following what was almost our final D-Day in 2019 this revelation was my rock and Lauren Daigles’ You Say was my anthem. I would play on repeat…“Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low, remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.” More than ever I needed reminding—my identity and purpose was undergirded and solidified by who God says I am, and not by the actions of my husband or the opinions of others. The more I personally and intentionally sought solace in Jesus, the less I looked for any approval from man.

I’d really love to say that knowing Him, knowing my purpose, placing my future in His hands and trusting Him has made life easier and less painful, nope this isn’t the case. What I can say is that it allows me to make space for all that is unpleasant and uncomfortable, I can have peace, hope and joy despite what goes on around me. I can experience a range of emotions fully, I can feel to heal and drop the stuggle of needing to be attached to a certain outcome for me to be OK because I know, that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV

Whatever realm of faith you may or may not subscribe to, go deeper than just claiming a title of belonging to an organisation. Let your heart resound with a depth of spiritual connection that equips you to have peace despite every adversity, a love that is rich and fullfilling, and contentment whether you have a little or alot. Find that quiet place that is yours alone, your hiding place where you can draw strength and gather perserverance to run the race that is set out before you and gain a deep sense of belonging to a much bigger picture. Our circumstances do not define us.

Performing rituals and attending church doesn’t make me any more a Christian than working in Macdonalds would make me a hamburger. The outworkings and buildings are a part of a life of faith but they are the envelope, not the letter. Dig deep friends, seek and you shall find—you can do hard things!

An anchor won’t halt the storm but it will keep you stable until the storm passes.

Doesn’t it make sense to know how to best use an anchor before getting caught in the middle of a storm? As sure as the sun sets and rises—while ever there is breath— there will be more storms ahead.

And this too shall pass

Much Love

Noni XXX

Video by Kelly L from Pexels

Original Preface

Our harshest critic aka most constructive Beta Reader gave the feedback that this preface was “good but too long…” So although some of what you’re about to read is in our final copy, this is the entire unedited version that didn’t make the cut. I hope you can take something of value away from it.

“When I began writing in March 2019, I thought we had reached our D-day, I finally learned the full extent of my husband’s double life. However, like most who walk this harrowing road, another grenade detonated demolishing my heart only weeks in. 

Left wondering yet again, “Who the hell are you?”

A question we wondered when considering writing, do we need to wait until the end of a story before we start to write it or do we tell it from where we are at, right now…
We would like for readers to assume, at the time of writing this book, neither one of us have “arrived” anywhere.

We are both on a journey, in the process of and committed to our recovery and healing. 

Infidelity is an uncommon conversation amongst our friends most of whom are married for 20 plus years.

To our knowledge, they’ve dodged this bullet. 

Although aware of marriages ending after the discovery and fallout of an affair, when my reality imploded, the isolation experienced was staggering.

This wasn’t because I didn’t trust my friends, much of what I believed in came crashing down, preposterous. 

Their marriages were solid, was mine a counterfeit?
Who would possibly understand? 
And how could Dave, the person, claiming to love me, seem so hell-bent on destroying me? 

I wondered “Was there any hope?”

Where does a couple turn for counsel from someone who genuinely knows what this heartache is like?

Professionals without personal experience of infidelity, or at least a couple of decades specialising in affair recovery, may be ill-equipped in guiding a couple to successful reconciliation, they may also unknowingly cause incredible harm.

The extent and depth of pain, the decimation of love and marriage, is horrendous.

No one gets away unscathed.

We hope in our story you’ll find insight and understanding as to how and why we are navigating through such soul-destroying circumstances.

If someone had told the Twenty-Five-year-old me this was my cross to bear, I would have told them they were out of their minds. 

No way would I ever put up with an unfaithful partner. Their sorry butt would be kicked to the kerb. 

Who in their right mind would put up with it? 

If someone really loved me, they would never cheat!

Twenty-nine years later I’m here to tell the story of how wrong I was.

Infidelity is just one of the many injustices convinced I would never tolerate. 

We’ve included sections through the book and at the end which we’ve titled ‘Lessons from Beyond’ they’re an abbreviated list of aha’s or learnings, some which we gleaned from our own experiences and some we’ve taken from the wisdom of others. We hope you may find one or two useful nuggets in these. 

Any relationship can be a mixed bag of pleasure and pain, undoubtedly there is a myriad of reasons for this.

When two people unite in their mid to late twenties, they’ve most likely experienced at least one or more significant romantic attachments to another which will influence future relationships. The hurt and rejection experienced when discarded by a boyfriend at 16 had a disastrous effect on my sense of self-worth, governing my choices for years. 

Many choices were detrimental not only to myself but also to those around me.

We progress through life impacted by the nature or nurture of our family of origin, the environment we develop in, and our circumstances.

Behavioural patterns become entrenched. 

Like it or not, we mosey through life on autopilot not giving a second thought as to why we do things.

Results are both positive and negative. 

Although heavily influenced by the above, naturally defaulting to ingrained learnt responses, none of us is condemned to a life sentence of repeating destructive cycles. 

Our experiences didn’t make us the way we are, how we reacted to those experiences is what developed our character. 

No one else is to blame for us being who or how we are, it just is. Three people can experience the same event yet share completely different perspectives.

Every choice we make carries a consequence and while we are free to make choices, we are never free from the consequences of those choices.

We have the capacity to change and relearn new ways of relating. 

Once we feel the desire to change, take responsibility and are willing to explore options, our lives and futures can look vastly different from our past.

Although this is our story, it is not a story solely about us.
It is about enduring love, perseverance through trials and a love Dave nor I imagined possible when we met in 1990. 

We were merely two people full of imperfection and masked brokenness, bearing scars from failed relationships. 

Our journey of growth through unspeakable and unimaginable pain, to victory over adversity and into a deeper love and connection, has been worth every shattered dream and tear shed. 

We don’t expect everyone will share our views, nor understand many of the decisions we’ve made along the way. We also respectfully acknowledge that not all marriages can or will be saved. Every situation is different, we hope our story will enlighten readers to greater empathy and understanding about infidelity. 

Affairs will affect all of us in one way or another, being informed will help us to help those we love. 

Approaching infidelity empathically rather than judgmentally can radically transform relational outcomes and though I maintain this truth, words flow easier than action.

The bible says the standard we use to judge others is the standard by which we will be judged. I’ve done plenty in my life I’m less than proud of, nothing within me desires to be the yardstick for measuring moral failure.

After giving a draft copy of this to one of our dearest and closest loved ones, I asked, “Any surprises?” This is the response I received;

“My honest opinion. Knowing how strong you are as a person I think it shows real weakness. I don’t think anyone would put up with all you have and nor, should they. Also, on Dave’s side gross — I don’t have anything to say about that. Just disgusting.”


Although taken back a little, we understand this response may be shared by others who’ve never found themselves in our shoes.

There is a story in the bible illustrating Jesus’ reaction to the scribes and Pharisees confronting him with a woman caught in adultery. 

According to law, the punishment for this crime the culprit was to be stoned. The crowd wanted Jesus to enforce the law, instead, he showed mercy.

Crouching down He slowly began writing in the sand. Historically, the name of a guilty party was drawn in the sand. 

Jesus may have written her name, he may have written the names of her accusers, he may have drawn a line separating himself and the woman from her accusers. 

Whatever he wrote was powerful enough to spare her from condemnation.

He told them anyone who was without sin could cast the first stone, let the punishment begin.

One by one they walked away. 

Perhaps the sin in our own lives is not public knowledge, perhaps it is still hidden, but I promise you none of us is without it. 

One of my favourite definitions of sin is a snippet of wisdom from Oswald Chambers, he says sin is in fact, “every act of SELF will.” 

Until we find ourselves in a situation, we can never say for certain how we will handle it. 

When we did eventually discover affair specific resources in 2019, although abundantly helpful in the quality of information, the situations and examples we read about appeared neat, orderly and sensibly presented. 

Whether written from a clinical perspective or sometime after the dust had settled, there was nothing that came close to what we were going through at the moment.

We didn’t know what it felt like to be in the throes of trauma like this and none of the books we read adequately described it.

Everything we experienced at the time appeared completely out of control.

In the midst of our trauma, there was nothing remotely neat, orderly or sensible about us.

It was messy, volatile and unlike anything, we were equipped to deal with.

I remember feeling like perhaps we might be too damaged to come back from this, maybe we’d damaged our children to the point of no return, we did so much so wrong, but then again, what is right about abuse and betrayal? 

I entertained thoughts, am I just a little bit crazy or a whole lot crazy? 

I mean how does someone like me get sucked into something like this? How? 
Dave and I learn to roll with the emotion, opinion and feedback from others, we allow our skin not our hearts to grow tougher along the way.

The decisions and choices I made were based on the amount of information I had at any one time and the attempts Dave continually made to change. Even though progress laboured unfortunately clouded by years of lies; Dave always demonstrated a willingness to grow which kept me hanging on. Regardless of the limited transparency and knowledge I had, my decisions sit well with me.

Here’s a little food for thought;

What if perceived “weakness” was in fact strength? 
Could we have an open informed dialogue about what constitutes an affair, how and why they happen? Or do we already know?

Let’s add to this the other behaviours outworking when an unfaithful partner must juggle so many secrets. 

If the primary relationship is problematic, is an affair likely to make it less so?

Is it as simple as wanting to be with someone else? 

Why wouldn’t a person just end one relationship before embarking on another?

What if we were all totally accountable for our own thoughts, words and actions?

What if this accountability was met with extended grace and not a critical spirit? 
Do we realise that we are only responsible for decisions and choices we make throughout our lives and not responsible for the actions of others?

What if the shame surrounding infidelity became a bridge to healing rather than a barrier?

Could we not only accept our imperfect humanity but embrace the condition of brokenness and have greater compassion for one another? 

Is this possible?

We all bring baggage to relationships. When we met we were no different, Dave brought with him his brokenness and I mine, I also came with an active 2-year-old boy plus my newfound commitment, love and relationship with Jesus…… 

And, yes, it has felt like a very very long road to our “happily ever after”. We are works in progress, but we’re not quitters. 

Sometimes the heart simply sees what the mind cannot…

This story cannot be written without being completely authentic regarding the source of our enduring love. If you are of faith you will understand and if not, our desire is that you will take some hope and encouragement from our journey and believe, no matter how bleak your circumstances may appear at any given time, you too will know” 

“all things truly are possible and will work together for good.”

 Matt 19:26, Romans 8:28

Noni x

If you’d like to read our story there is a free Ebook offer below. This offer is valid from 9 am AEDT 19/2/2022 and is only available for the Ebook version. (Kindle & Paperback excluded from offer)

Becoming Safe

The only mistake that will destroy you, is the one you won’t admit to.

I’m the last one to call an affair a mistake, I mean earthquakes and cyclones happen, you accidentally step in dog poo or brush your teeth with shaving cream instead of toothpaste, but no one just happens to cheat on their partner without a whole series of choices to make it happen.

As an unfaithful husband, my efforts to avoid feeling the shame of my behaviours meant that I minimised, hid, rationalised and blamed others.  The effort I poured into not seeing myself was like cement being poured into the foundation of my problem.

The process solidified within and in time I became the master of self-deception and self-loathing.

Thirty plus years of internal conflict has been exhausting and damaging for myself and those closest to me, almost destroying my life and my family.

The emotional growth and revelation since 2019 have directed a ton of focus and energy into seeing myself as I truly am. A man whose hearts’ desire is to be accountable to that authentic person and his choices—someone determined to do the work for himself congruent with his own deep core values.  

Chipping away at all the concrete rot I’d allowed into my soul over many decades is slow and frustrating work—it’s difficult to do alone or by relying on any singular resource, counsellor, program or mentor. Clearing out the debris and rebuilding my life has required a monumentally holistic effort. The art of self-compassion and kindness is not easily accepted by those who think so poorly of themselves let alone the unconditional love, acceptance and unwavering grace Noni continues to bestow upon us.

A part of my recovery journey—which is arguably up there and an unexpected positive from my previous existence—is a weekly call that I am privileged to be on with other guys who have betrayed their partners. Each of these men are genuinely great blokes and we’ve developed friendships out of absolutely dismal circumstances.

The majority of men who are hiding secrets of lust, pornography, affairs or acting out usually have a limited social network where they can be completely understood and heaven forbid even vulnerable. Men—at the best of times—find it hard to open up so it’s kind of refreshing to have this safe space to meet void of judgement.

An interesting observation is that as the group progresses through our individual recovery, we regularly find ourselves in similar situations to each other, maybe not in regard to lapse or relapse but warning signals that a maladaptive coping mechanism might be presenting. All of us have familiar patterns of behaviour whether that be anger, entitlement, expectation, anxiety, you name it, there are many common threads that impact our intimate relationships and we get to share this during our calls with people who get it!

Without exception, each one of us still frustrates ourselves by repeating deeply ingrained reflexes, often “knowing” after the event what we did wrong. Sometimes the frustration spills into one of us saying, “I am just hopeless at this” “I can’t see how this will ever change” or ” I really felt so crap I didn’t feel like calling in this week”.  We’re all aware this could be dangerous territory because entertaining these thoughts has had dire consequences in the past. Thankfully what follows is a combination of supportive feedback and camaraderie.

Empathy “Yeah that’s really difficult and frustrating, I know how you feel.”
Accountability “What was actually going on with you at that time?”  “What is reality and what is perception?” “You are going to share these insights with your partner right?”
Encouragement –  “We can always get better, we can practice and look out for these situations and preceding thoughts.” “You’ve got this!” “It’s not easy but it’s worth it.”

We share healthy coping strategies and resources that we’ve found helpful and that work for us.

In recovery consistency and action count—not intentions.

If you know anyone who needs to hear this please share, get them to reach out, white-knuckling recovery just doesn’t cut it! Noni and I are more than happy to chat with anyone seeking support.

Cheers Dave

Who or What Do We Hang Our Hope On?

I’d love to begin with a Happy New Year blog but there’s a burden stirring within so I’m going with that!

Over the past twelve months, the world of affair recovery has seen three power couples (for the lack of a better term) sorrowfully reach a point of separation.

For those of us who have been encouraged and inspired by their stories, authenticity and commitment to overcome infidelity, these announcements weighed heavily on our hearts and we might wonder if our own relationships will make it.

Up until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of James and Peggy Vaughan but way back in 1980 they were the first couple to ever openly share their story of overcoming infidelity on the Phil Donahue Show.

Forty-two years ago—could you imagine the mic drop after that segment!

Over the next 30 years, Peggy pioneered a way for couples, individuals and marriages to thrive and prosper despite intimate betrayal. Beyond Affairs Network was birthed following the public reaction they received and Peggy became known as an expert in the area of extramarital affairs.

Thankfully Peggy and James bravely gave voice to an unspoken and largely misunderstood human experience. Shattered marriages from all over finally found hope and a safe space to heal following the incapacitating damage of infidelity.

Brian and Anne Bercht stepped up to continue Peggy and James’ work after Peggy passed away in 2012. James and Peggy remained married for fifty-seven years until she died. Brian and Anne are thriving and continuing to support others on this journey.

For the hundreds of thousands of marriages around the globe impacted by infidelity, there is only a very small percentage of people who are prepared to go public in the hope that their stories might help others who are hurting—so when we hear of three very courageous and influential couples deciding to end their marriage, of course, we are devastated.

Ashlynn and Coby from The Betrayed, the Addicted and the Expert broke their news in May 2021 then Samuel shared that he and Samantha were parting ways not long after. Both of these announcements sent shockwaves through infidelity circles and speculation as to the reasons behind their decisions were rife in online forums.

The latest bombshell to drop has been that Lysa and Art Terkeurst have separated. After reading Lysa’s announcement yesterday, one might assume that Art has again betrayed Lysa in some form, “As many of you know, three years ago, Art and I renewed our marriage vows after a painful separation. It has crushed my heart to know that he has broken these vows.”

Here is where I want to add my two cents worth—and please note—these are just my personal thoughts…

As sad and disheartening as the break up news is, let’s take a moment to remember that there are literally thousands of couples in every country who are continuing to heal their relationships quietly.

To anyone facing these challenges, your recovery, healing and success are not reliant upon anything else apart from God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and the relationship we have with Him, ourselves and others. He is love!

Our own marriages may or may not survive after infidelity but this is never dependent on anyone else’s experience.

We know that there are truckloads of destructive covert behaviours which accompany cheating, most of them driven by a false sense of identity.

Shame, entitlement and lack of self-worth can destroy any relationship. If a couple decides to split after infidelity, it may not necessarily be directly affair related. If Lysa’s husband has cheated again after being shown so much love and compassion, my flesh wants to scream “Art you absolute MORON!” But this is neither kind nor Christlike! No matter what has gone down, he is loved.

All of the people I’ve mentioned above plus the likes of Rick Reynolds, Wayne Baker and others have shared invaluable personal insight through their books, podcasts and socials. I for one am incredibly indebted to them and our marriage is blessed (not perfect) because of the vulnerability they exhibited and the truths they shared, even when exposing their own failings and shortcomings.

Sometimes hearing the truth can be brutal, we may not agree with the sentiment or ideas, we don’t have to but I believe that each one of these Bravehearts deserves gratitude and respect.

Take from their stories anything that resonates with you and is beneficial for you and your circumstances. Don’t judge anyone’s decision to stay or go, we don’t know what it took to make that decision, I’m 100% certain it was not done lightly and please, never base your own progress or outcome on theirs.

We may share similarities but the truth is we are all unique and no one has ever fully walked in your shoes. No one knows you or your situation as you know yourself, there is only one exception—Jesus. So fill your backpack with the tools you need for the marathon—humility, compassion, kindness, love, joy, peace, and patience—strap on your boots and keep walking towards your own victory!

Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”

― Albert Camus

For what it’s worth this much I know, regardless of any personal biases, every single person who has lived the gut-wrenching tumultuous pain of infidelity and continues on with their own healing and wholeness is a legend. I know that Ashlynn, Samuel, and in due time Lysa, will continue encouraging and inspiring people around the world to live their best lives regardless of the pain and calamity caused by infidelity.

For those of us who dare to go public in the hope of encouraging others with our testimony—please pray for us—there is plenty of opposition out there!

Peace, love, compassion and HNY!

Noni XXX

With Humility & Gratitude

This is our final blog post for 2021, and wow, what a year it’s been.

On top of becoming a first-time co-author, I studied full time and successfully completed a Diploma of Counselling through the Australian Institute of Family Counselling. I’m planning to put this to work in 2022! Here’s a sneak peek at my new website if you’re interested in taking a look.

We’re so incredibly blessed and thankful for the feedback received after publishing our memoir.

The initial stepping out was scary, to say the least.

A handful of reviews have literally brought us to tears (in a good way)—and although we are a long from quitting our day jobs—we are so many steps closer to us achieving what we set out to accomplish. (you can view this goal in the Q&A section)

Thank you to each and every person who has read, commented and shared our story with others, we appreciate you.

Dear Unfaithful and Dearest Betrayed received the most interaction out of all of the blog posts for the year. Every now and then I feel that God pours out a creative download upon me that undeniably has His fingerprint on it, and this was evident in the impact of these two letters.

We’ll leave with you what some have said about our story, and welcome you to add any thoughts of your own…

“It is so raw and authentic. So grateful for you being so open and vulnerable in sharing this – so profoundly touched. Whilst in some ways it remains an unfinished story, I’m not sure that any other story has so honestly and tangibly captured what healing (with the emphasis on ‘ing’) looks like.
So often those of us in this mess read about the healed – this book let me read about the heal’ing’ & walked right beside me (and us) through it. That being said, I look forward to the sequel in whatever form that may take😊.
It’s a story of a truly incredible woman and a man humbly opening his life. I doubt that putting it out there would have been easy for either of you, but am glad you did.
There’s a part near the end entitled “And the Questions I Ask of Myself on more than One Occasion” followed by ‘The Only Authentic Answer’ which was very meaningful to me, as was the Q&A at the start of those pages. I could hear my own wife speaking through those pages.
Thank you so much. Thank you both!”

It was great to have both of inside story. I’m faithful spouse. I understood of Noni’s reaction and raged that I’m not alone and am not crazy. My marriage is similar that I cannot read this without tears. I’m still struggle to accept what happen to my 31 years marriage and 4 years dated was lies and secrets, but this story give me a little hope. Thank you so much for both sharing honest thoughts and actions.” m4michiko

I read the book in a couple of days I could not put it down I felt like you were my friend I sat in the car in parking lots reading. It’s sad true and beautiful at the same time. Only someone like me that is walking in the same path can appreciate the honesty pain and destruction lies and infidelity bring to a human being. Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel less alone. I felt like I was being understood and my inner life is being seen through your heart of words poured in the page. I received an advance copy for free and leaving this review voluntarily. GOD bless you Noni” dan20ash5

This true and real story of Infidelity and Betrayal and the recovery and repair work that Noni and David Yates did to remain married to each other is inspiring. As one who has also been betrayed by their husband, I felt the depths of anger, disappointment and disbelief that Noni experienced. Reading their story has given me more hope that my marriage can become restored after so many disclosures, lies and deceptions from my husband. This should be required reading by all husbands and wives who want to stay married after they find themselves reeling from the shock of disclosure by their spouse. It’s refreshing that Noni and David chose to stay married after David’s many affairs.” tsa5atcha

We sincerely thank you and pray that you have a truly blessed and safe Christmas. Seek blessings in the small things and always remember that what you focus on expands.

We’ll be back in 2022 continuing to support and stand with others on this journey.

All Glory and honour to Jesus, the humblest king of all!

With love and gratitude,

Noni and Dave XXX

“though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” PHILIPPIANS 2:5-7

Anniversaries & Triggers

Anniversaries and triggers are a painful reality following any traumatic event.

Reactions can be variable depending on timing and circumstances, reminders are pretty much unavoidable—triggers may come from out of the blue and can be damn intense, to say the least.

We, humans, are an interesting species, we need to attach meaning to almost everything, it’s foundational in the human psyche, it’s just how we are geared though sometimes we’ll assign importance to things that are not necessarily healthy or real.

If you’ve read our Memoir you may recall that on Christmas Eve 2018 I had a missed call from Dave and unbeknownst to him he left a 5-minute voicemail of him speaking with another woman. He had just left our family home that afternoon after we had been planning our Christmas Day—we were in the process of reconciling after a recent separation which had nothing to do with him being unfaithful.

I remember that moment with crystal clear clarity—it was horrendous! Every maddening thought that you could begin to imagine pulsated through my body with a ferocious force. My mind and body went into full-on fight mode, I needed to protect myself, I had to find safety…

I can’t erase Christmas Eve from the Calendar but I can decide what meaning I assign to that date. I know it’s coming up and I have the ability to choose how I will approach it.

I have the power to choose what Christmas Eve 2021 will look like for me. Am I going to focus on the horrific mental anguish I was in on 24th Dec 2018? I could if I wanted to but I also know how that will end up and how far down the rabbit hole I might go—or am I going to adjust the narrative and be thankful that this date was also the catalyst for when Dave finally had to own his choices.

What I focus on becomes way more important and significant than what I choose to let go of.

The gift Dave gave me on Christmas Day is also somewhat of a reminder. He had been to a staff shop at the company he works for and did a little Christmas shopping. When he gave me a really lovely body wash I was happy with the simple and yummy smelling shower gel. After the year that we’d had, it was a nice gesture.

It was only on full disclosure did I learn that the pocket dial on Christmas Eve, was Dave gifting this other woman something small from the staff shop also. UGH!

Since then this fresh and pleasant smelling body wash has been purchased over and over and has a regular spot in our shower recess. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, it’s just a shower gel. There are other days though when it reminds me of that dreadful pocket dial—then I have fleeting thoughts of tossing it and replacing it with something else! I don’t though because, besides loving the freshness of the scent—any replacement would just be a reminder as to why I got rid of the other one and I’m not going to be beaten by an inanimate shower gel!

The power of the mind, do our thoughts control our actions or do our actions control our thoughts—I say both can be true.

Christmas can be a really tough time after betrayal, if it is for you, I encourage you to plan ahead. Have strategies in place to help you get through what you need to.

For some couples, family is unaware of what you’re going through and it can feel like a whole lot of pretending normal—you’re dreading the facade.

For others, you’re apart and trying to navigate juggling kids and pleasantries or you might be together but really struggling to stay afloat, the intensity of anger, pain, grief is all-encompassing.

It all hurts, I’m so sorry for this pain. If you are able to, give yourselves permission to put the affair thoughts and grief on hold for a period, allow yourselves to have a break from recovery work and try your hardest to access joy even if only for a little while. Take rest and promise yourself that you will get back to it. Keep that promise—don’t put your affair recovery work on hold forever, you deserve to heal fully.

There is no magic pill to ease or hasten the process but know that however and wherever you find yourself on a betrayal journey, you’ve already survived 100% of your worst days up until now and you’re still going!

The dates will come and they will go as sure as the sun rises and sets.

There is no denying that what happened to you is excruciatingly painful and traumatic for everyone involved, please be kind to yourselves, you can get through this season no matter what it throws at you.

God’s Richest Blessings to you and yours, stay safe and stay connected.

With love and gratitude

Noni & Dave

Dear Unfaithful

Dear unfaithful,

There’s probably a lot in this that you’re not going to want to hear—but you really need to if you want to begin to understand what’s happened.

Imagine that you’ve just dropped a nuclear bomb on your marriage, your spouse, yourself and your family. 

The world as you once knew has been annihilated—napalmed—and just like these catastrophic events, there’s going to be a massive fallout for the foreseeable future. 

You can’t stop the fallout from happening but you can safeguard yourself and your family against further destruction if you want to and are committed to doing whatever it takes—and believe me, it—takes—A LOT! 

A LOT of courage, accountability, honesty, transparency, ownership, determination, patience, perseverance, humility, compassion, grace, kindness, hope, forgiveness, vulnerability and just when you think you’ve run out of these you have to dig a little deeper to find more. Yes, the resourceful well of recovery love and care must be accessed continually, no matter how deep you have to dig! 

Sometimes it will feel like you are taking one step forward and ten steps backwards, keep going forward if you want to save your marriage. Once you rebuild what you’ve destroyed then you must be prepared to protect the restoration at all costs if you want your relationship to thrive. 

No one can erase what has happened even though we all wish we could, so please don’t expect or ask your spouse to forgive and forget. 

It is impossible to go back to what you had before because what you had before was not enough to keep you from making the choices you made. 

No, the reconciled relationship looks very different, and if you dare allow yourself to hope and get the right support, your post infidelity relationship can be infinitely better than the past. 

You can heal from and move beyond the pain of affairs even though in the initial stages this seems completely unattainable.

Unfaithful, here are some things you should know once your infidelity has come to light, and as much as they might be normal reactions after discovery, they are also massive barriers to healing:

You’ll try to convince your partner that you made a mistake, no Unfaithful you didn’t make a mistake, a mistake is filling the car with petrol when you should have used diesel. Cheating is a choice, please be brave enough to own the choice and call it for what it is.

You’re going to want your partner to “get over it and just move on” because “you’re sorry” and “it’s never going to happen again” that’s not how recovery works…

You’re going to get tired of talking about it and answering questions but you must do this until your partner arrives at a place where they are satisfied that they have sufficient information so they can process and heal themselves. I promise you this doesn’t go on forever although it can feel relentless. Your partner is not doing this to punish you, they’re just trying to figure out the mess for themselves, please be patient and gentle. The more you can empathise with your partner the safer they will feel. You may have been living in a fantasy for quite some time but for your partner, everything they held as being real has been demolished. Their own sense of reality is totally upended and they’re trying to piece together how this could have happened.

You might feel like your partner should trust you again because you never intended to hurt them—my friend, trust is a looooong way off, and this kind of thinking is pure arrogance and entitlement—it is also very unsafe for a betrayed partner. You’ve already demonstrated by your actions you were untrustworthy so until you’ve proven yourself trustworthy over and over you are not a safe person for your betrayed. Actions always speak louder than words. Compassion is a good substitute for trust so please give thanks for any compassion you’re shown, receive it as a precious gift.

You’ll likely attempt to attribute blame on some kind of lack in the relationship for your infidelity, or a deficiency in the marriage, maybe a need not being met, this kind of thinking only shatters your partner more and shifts blame onto the one whom you betrayed. Every relationship has its own set of issues and there are plenty of options to address these, cheating is not one…

It is also a complete lack of responsibility and ownership of your choices, but I get it, you don’t want to feel like a bad person so you’ll shift blame to take the pressure off yourself—this is called deflecting. You’ll probably deflect in many ways that you might be completely unaware of, the sooner you become aware that you’re doing this, the better.

You’ll feel immense shame, guess what, so will your partner and your family but wallowing in shame is not going to propel you into recovery, it will keep you a victim of your own making.

You’ll be defensive and you’ll minimise the length and degree of your betrayal, you’ll do this because you don’t want to face the cold harsh truth, and you’re trying to defend your own core values that you betrayed.

You will drip feed truth, trickle the truth out and be economical with the truth. There are a couple of reasons you’ll do this, one is mentioned above, the other is because you know that you’ve shattered the person you love and you think that by withholding some of the truth you are protecting them from more pain. 

Dear Unfaithful please hear me on this one—your spouse can handle the truth, they may still be hemorrhaging after the initial discovery or disclosure, but why would you want to re-open that wound when they’ve just begun to heal. New shards of glass piercing the broken heart afresh, it’s just too cruel.

I know this is terrifying, I know that you are thinking that they couldn’t possibly forgive you or love you if they knew the truth, maybe, maybe not? Please don’t use this as a weapon of control though, please love and respect them enough, tell the truth, please be brave enough to allow them to make decisions for themselves. The longer it takes for all of the truth to come out, the longer it takes to heal. Whenever a new piece of missing information is discovered, that’s the new ground zero.

A betrayed partner will likely get over the affair/s long before they will get over the lies, lying by omission and gaslighting that you mastered while you were cheating on them. Put an end to this now.

Offer information before you’re asked, don’t make it your partners job to extract important details. If you don’t think a detail is important share it anyway and let your spouse decide if it is or not. They will appreciate you prioritising their feelings.

One final thing and this is actually the first step in recovery; you must stop all contact with the affair partner—cease acting out—this may be easier said than done, but if you want to give your marriage a fighting chance, this is essential. 

Betrayal trauma is a form of PTSD—it’s a result of that bomb you dropped on your family. 

If you want your marriage then you have to find a way to end all contact, no one ever expects a soldier to get over their PTSD while they were still being shot at. You invited the intrusion in, you can find a way to lock them out, work together with your spouse and keep them updated!

You are probably wondering how long it will take to fully heal your marriage, well you’ll keep investing in your marriage for the rest of your life, not because you’re paying penance for the past but because you place the utmost highest value on that which you hold dearest yet almost lost.

Formerly unfaithful, you deserve to heal, for yourself. Do the work for yourself, live your best life and be the best version of yourself, and although you might not feel it you’re actually worth it.

Be a safe person for yourself and those around you, stay safe, you are loved and valued.


David and Noni have co-authored their memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years, Lies-Deceit-Infidelity you can get your copy here

There are a limited number of FREE downloads of our memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years; Lies-Deceit-Infidelity available, click here.

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