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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

But What About the AP?

Ahhhhh the affair partner, how many colourful names do we have for them?

The dirty rotten pieces of work that they are—damn home-wreckers who set out to destroy our lives!

Are they really?

Here’s my theory, it may not be a popular one and at the risk of setting a cat amongst the pigeons, I’m just going to share what’s true for me…

I’m not saying that I haven’t used harsh words when referring to an affair partner. If you’ve read our book you’ll know that I used some very uncharitable words describing one woman in particular, I hope you hear me out, and please hear my heart.

The way I see it is this—our significant others were accountable for their own actions when they chose to betray us. Sure, they had willing participants, but ultimately, they were responsible for their commitment to the relationship we had/have, marriage or otherwise.

Not one of Dave’s affair partners forced him to do anything that he wasn’t ready to run with in the first place, (heck a few of them probably didn’t even know that that’s what they were to him 🤷‍♀️) His own vulnerabilities, lack of boundaries, little self-awareness and shredded self-worth led him into places he never thought he’d go.

I’ve heard a truckload of statements from the betrayed—she* chased him and pursued him, she wouldn’t take no for an answer, she kept flirting with him, she’s a no-good so & so, it’s her fault. All of this may be true, but in my mind, our partner’s did have a choice. They could choose whether to engage and give in to selfish desires or walk away. They chose themselves over anything or anyone else that mattered at the time.

I’ve been hit on by men and women, (I’m sure you have too) and before I married Dave, willingly involved myself with some (single guys not taken ones). Since being married though, I’ve never once leant towards giving in to the advances of a man nor encouraged continued interest from them in any way shape or form.

It’s really not that hard to point to the wedding ring on your finger, and say “Sorry I’m taken and frankly, I’m just not interested”. Even if the potential tempter or temptress persists, we all have a will of our own; I’m sure none of our spouses had a gun pointed at them when they succumbed to temptation.

And here’s the thing, temptation will always be there, people willing to engage in illicit affairs will always be there.

A truly confident secure person doesn’t let the stroking of an ego prop them up, they don’t need it.

The reason I share all of this is that I fear that too many hurt and betrayed people continue to focus intently on how bad and horrible the affair partner is, even after the affair has long gone.

Name-calling, anger, hurt and rage all have a place in recovery when held in a safe space, but there comes a time when excessive ruminating about the AP can lead to the deep root of bitterness taking hold.

Although cursing the AP is completely justified; there comes a time, when this ceases to be therapeutic and only keeps us cemented, twisted and stuck in an ugly painful place.

I guess I’m trying to say, we all have to mindfully let the other person or persons go—eventually.

It’s our choice…and the question to ask ourselves—does holding on to ill will or contempt towards the other person bring us closer or does it take us further away from the healing we so desperately desire?

A hard heart is the greatest barrier to true love.

The affair partner doesn’t deserve any more of our precious energy or space in our lives than they’ve already stolen from us.

So next time you’re tempted to curse the other woman or man—remember—what you focus on expands.

It’s Easter, this is the most important event in all of history for a believer. Every bit of suffering we endured through the heinous assault of betrayal, the profound agony, Christ took it all to the cross with him. I don’t need to bear this burden and neither do you my friend.

Focus on you, focus on your relationship, don’t let the AP take up any more space in your beautiful soul. You’ll be surprised at how much room this makes for thoughts that serve us so much better.

It’s been said before, “You can’t affair-proof your marriage, you can only affair-proof yourself.”

Be blessed this Easter, give yourself the gift of freedom, love and life!

Noni & Dave xxx

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

*for the sake of this post I’m keeping it simple and gender-specific, coming from a betrayed wife’s perspective, men are very often betrayed by their partners too.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wow! Our first review on Amazon—5 flipping STARS!

Eye-opening (reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2021)

“Love is something we do.” “Change creates growth.” These are my two favorite kernels of wisdom from Beyond Betrayal, an eye-opening memoir that imparts precious knowledge about love, long-term relationships, infidelity, and trauma.* The book begins with Noni’s journey from teenage love to the realization that she hasn’t been honest with herself or been living an authentic life. She ends a nine-year relationship and soon thereafter befriends Dave. Noni and Dave’s friendship quickly develops into a romance, and the rest of the memoir chronicles all of the ups and downs of their relationship and the lessons they’ve learned and/or are still learning.

I’m grateful to Noni and Dave for sharing their story so that readers like myself might learn from their struggles. While it might seem obvious that authenticity and honesty are integral to meaningful relationships, their story demonstrates exactly what that means. They don’t have all the answers, but their book is a must-read for one simple reason: it’s guaranteed to make readers think about and reflect on things that matter. The book prompted me to contemplate free will, the importance of coping skills, and the balance between trying to fix an unhealthy relationship and breaking ties.

As an atheist, my least favorite part of Beyond Betrayal was the religious aspect. I didn’t always agree with everything Noni and Dave had to say in that regard, but in truth, their wisdom is applicable to everyone. Though sometimes learned or phrased through religion, their message is ultimately based on love, authenticity, and honesty above all else. I often found that substituting “love” or “self-love” in place of “God” or “my Lord” gave me a way to better grasp their message. In the same way that More Than Two is incredibly valuable for polyamorous and monogamous people alike, Beyond Betrayal is worth reading no matter your religion or lack thereof.

What Are The Odds?

As people of faith, we’ve come to expect the unexpected, and often experience unusual coincidences/situations when we’re on the cusp of doing something that might ruffle a few feathers. So, it came as no surprise when we were faced with a mildly awkward situation on Wednesday.

Our book is ready for release, Dave and I are doing well, we’re readying ourselves for ‘feedback‘—all the while—we’re feeling confident that we are doing the right thing.

Covid 19 brought a lot of change around the world throughout 2020—in Australia, it also gave rise to one female name that has become synonymous as a quintessentially unpleasant person.

‘Karen’ wasn’t a very popular woman in 2020 so it felt fitting that we christen the primary affair partner—Karen. (The reason we call Karen the primary affair partner, is that she was one of the originals from 1993, her attachment with Dave transcended at least 5 years so she was fairly significant)

Anyways, Dave and I are on holiday and on Wednesday afternoon we had just arrived from St Helens on the East Coast of Tasmania into the city of Launceston.

Tasmania is a 3-hour flight from our NSW home; offshore from mainland Aus, and Launceston is a 2-hour drive from St Helens via Derby. (We are a little ways from home, is what I’m trying to say)

The hotel we stayed in was on the edge of the CBD, it is a fairly industrial area with not much in the way of ‘happening’ places within the direct vicinity. Anyhoo, we parked outside the hotel and grabbed our bags to check-in. I walked slightly ahead of Dave towards the hotel entrance. Standing on the corner was a woman talking on her phone, she bore a striking resemblance to—you guessed it—KAREN…

She continued with her phone call, turned toward us and began waving to someone behind as she strode past, thankfully, remaining focused on who she was meeting.

I looked once, twice and three times, confident that it was her. But what were the chances of it really being her? I haven’t laid eyes on Karen since 2003! We were hundreds of kilometres from home. Was I seeing clearly? Did Dave see what I saw? Did he think the same?

Thankful that I had my sunnies on disguising gobsmacking surprise and to an extent hiding my identity. As for Dave, well, through 2 bouts of cancer and now having close-cropped hair, he might look a little different to how she remembers.

We went ahead, I didn’t look back but I was sure…

I waited for Dave to say something, unfortunately he didn’t. I waited and I waited until I could wait no more. I said, “Do you think that woman looked like someone today?”

He was straight on it “Karen. I saw you do a double-take, so I wondered if you thought that too? But then I thought, no she’s way too young, but what a doppelganger eh”.

OK, so as a betrayed wife, this is NOT really what you want your husband to say nor how you want it to unfold but I can accept with grace, the innocence of his response. Because he thought she looked so young he thought it was a good likeness, not actually her. What would have been a better response is for him to share his thoughts before I did, this kind of initiation, letting a partner into your thoughts builds intimacy, withholding for any reason becomes a barrier.

Dave was more like, no it probably wasn’t. I was like, nah I’m not so sure, so I did a little googling. I’m a hairdresser, I notice aesthetic details, so when I found a 2019 photo of Karen, the first thing that was obvious to me was that she had the same haircut as the woman on the street. It had to be her.

But what are the odds? Well, two nights later we were sitting at a craft beer house and outside sat a guy who looked very similar to Damien, a man I worked with several years ago. I send my old workmate, Damo, a message “Are you in Launceston?”. Simultaneously I watch the man outside look at his phone. I wait for a response. “Yes.”

“At St John’s?”

The man outside looks around to check the name of the place he’s at, “Yes”, he looks sideways, we wave and connect, it is Damo! Our small world seems to get smaller by the day.

What are the odds? and

What are the odds that the woman was Karen? I’d say I’m 95% sure.

Does this change anything? Nope, it’s just one of those things…

PS I looked closer than Dave and she was well dressed but she really didn’t look that young, I reckon I’m on the money…

This shite changes overtime but I guess it never really disappears.

Noni xxx

Free eBook Download—48 Hours* Only!

Who doesn’t love a freebie?

Yes, it’s finally here. Dave and I are almost ready to release our Memoir, BEYOND BETRAYAL 28 Years, LIES-DECEIT-INFIDELITY. A story taking 30 years to create and 2 years to write.

As promised you get to read it first with your very own advanced reader copy eBook. This link to the free eBook will be available for 48 hours* only so make sure you jump onboard and download your free copy now.

A paperback edition will be available for purchase in April, RRP $39.95. We have a pre-release offer currently for $24.95 (shipping within Australia only). This price is for pre-ordered books and stock is limited to the first 50 copies.

Thank you for following along, we’re really encouraged by the support we’ve received in sharing our story. It’s been an interesting journey and not without hiccups.

We stood up one more time than we fell and we arrived here…

Noni & Dave xxx

(Please let me know if you experience any problems with downloading, Noni x)

*OFFER EXPIRES MIDNIGHT AESTD WEDNESDAY 10TH MARCH

The Art of Conflict

Dr John Gottman of the Gottman Relationship Institute identifies the greatest predictors of divorce as, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

These horsemen are, criticism and contempt defensiveness and stonewalling.

Dave and I hit an area of conflict last night and all I will say is that the four horsemen were well and truly going buck! Actually, forget the quad herd and just picture a pack of wild brumbies raging around in a confined space! Yep, we rode the whole cavalry…

Conflict will always be a part of every relationship so it makes perfect sense to learn how to have healthy disagreements.

Thankfully the Gottman Institute have also discovered antidotes to these destructive wranglers and Dave and I quickly reined them in and got right back on track.

Boy oh Boy it sure takes a marathon effort to ascend from disaster to master.

Proverbs 15: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

XXX

Secrets, Seduction, Silence, Shame

Sssshhh… grab yourself a cuppa and click awaythere’s some good links in this one.

Secrets

Is it bad to keep secrets? What harm could possibly come? Dr John Gottman says “When you’re keeping secrets, you’re hurting your own ability to love”.

Seduction

Seduce my mind and you can have my body, find my soul and I’m yours forever.  (anonymous)

Seduction isn’t making someone do what they don’t want to do; seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already.  (Benjamin T. Russell )  

If you find someone attractive, you try to make them find you attractive. That is called seduction. And seduction is a bit ugly. You could say it’s a bit ugly to use your charisma.  (Jonathan King)    

Silence

Your silence will not protect you. (Audre Lorde

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (Martin Luther King)

Shame

Guilt says “I’ve done something bad.” Shame says “I am bad”.

Guilt propels us into making amends or compensation for what we have done.

Shame sends us into a vicious cycle of withdrawal and hiding, often resulting in destructive consequences.

Our choice to recover loudly has not come lightly. This is a difficult journey, particularly for Dave. The courage to share his heart in our memoir is going to be lifechanging for all men and women, whether betrayed or wayward.

Recovery is possible, but first, one has to get real, very real and that requires a brave heart.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Noni xxx

What’s in an S?

A couple of weeks ago, following my post Don’t Say a Word, we were going to explore some of the S’s in Ssshh. 

If you’re following our blog, you’ll recall that Dave had some important information he wanted to share, so today I’ll rewind and begin unpacking some of those ‘S‘ words that rattled around in my brain.

There’s likely plenty more but a few that come to my mind are: Self/ish, Secrets, Seduction, Silence, Shame and yes, I’m going to go there… Sin

The reason I place them in the Ssshh category is that none of us really enjoy talking about these human characteristics, and we especially like to sidestep, ‘Sin’. 

So, let’s eat the frog together, and get this bad boy out of the way. 

Modern culture encourages us to—“Do whatever makes you happy”—“If it feels good, do it!” We believe we are masters of our universe and we’re in control of everything. (at least that’s what we, like to tell ourselves)

Oswald Chambers, the Scottish born Evangelist and teacher, had a lot to say about sin. One definition describes sin as being every act of self will or, independence from God.  The bible tells us that we all fit into this category and were born with this nature. It also tells us we don’t have to remain in it.

When Dave made his betrayal choices, he only ever thought of himself—thinking, he’ll never get caught—this assumption allowed him to go and eat the proverbial apple. I don’t believe that any man or woman wakes up one day to intentionally go out and have an affair. The path to get to this place begins with a thought, not an action.

But he did get caught, and the pain was unbearable, for both of us, so why would he do it again? 

Because…in a nutshell, sin feels good—momentarily. 

If it didn’t, we wouldn’t continue doing harmful things to ourselves and others. The bible says that the wages of sin is death; in other words, there is a consequence for every choice we make, it’s an inescapable, universal law. 

I’m no theologian, my faith is extremely simple, but I believe that the Garden of Eden was the birthplace of sin. 

When God crated Adam and Eve, they didn’t have a care in the world, everything was theirs, all except one tree, the tree of knowledge, of good and evil. 

God told Adam not to eat from it because he would die, but he was free to have anything else. 

Adam and Eve were naturalists, no need for clothing, they embraced the freedom of nudity, they knew nothing else. The snake came and told Eve she should eat from the tree, convincing her that she wouldn’t die. The snake told her that the only reason God said not to eat the fruit is that if they did then it would open their eyes and they will be like Him. The fruit looked pretty good to Eve—temptation—so she ate it. Then she gave some to Adam who also ate. Once they did, they saw things differently, and all of a sudden were ashamed of their nakedness, so they covered themselves up. They hid when they heard God walking in the garden. God called out to Adam. Adam came out and told God that they were hiding and afraid because they were naked. God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat some fruit?”

And this is where the blame and shame game originated.

Adam said, “the woman made me do it.” Eve said “It was the serpent’s fault”

Neither one took responsibility for their actions, and guess what my friends, humanity has been doing the same thing ever since! We cover up our wrongdoing, deny our wrong thinking and blame others to take the heat off us.

Here’s another interesting fact about us humans, we take it upon ourselves to judge sin. We love nothing more than comparing ourselves to others. Placing ourselves on some kind of moral high-ground, measuring out what we think is right or wrong, according to our own standards.

One thing I know for sure is that every time I point my finger at someone else, I have three fingers pointing back at me.

So, we do things we know are wrong because we want to. We think it won’t hurt if no one finds out.

Each time we give in to temptation in order to satisfy our fleshly desires, we open a door to push boundaries further. Testing the waters to see what and how much we can get away with, how far can we go without getting caught. Eventually, our pride will come crashing down, it will be payday for sinful thoughts and actions and it will be painful. We might sit in the pain and shame for a while, feel a bit sore and sorry for ourselves, wait for the unpleasant feelings to subside—and repeat.

The cycle continues until we discover a new way of living.

So whether you believe in the concept of sin, karma, reaping and sowing, we will all experience the very real consequences of wrong being.

It’s unavoidable.

Noni x

How Do I Get Out of This Place?

Where do unfaithful men and women turn for help when the world around them implodes?

Men in particular don’t like asking for directions when we’re lost and believe it or not, betraying my wife is never a road I thought I’d end up on, so if we have no idea how we got here how the heck do we get out?

We have shattered the lives of those we vowed to protect and honour. We’ve become a person we barely recognise and cannot stand looking at, we are filled with shame and despair.

I know I was…

I wanted to scramble out of this place of humiliation and indescribable shame as quickly as possible. I wanted to put as much distance between myself and the mayhem I created. I desperately wanted to find my way back to some kind of normal path but I had no idea how to get there.

Some of us turn to the virtuous man or woman, a respected friend, relative, teacher or pastor who has a great marriage, because we want to be more like them, or perhaps we hope a counsellor will give us direction .  

Counsel and support definitely provide comfort, and confession is absolutely good for the soul. Unless the people we seek wisdom from have deep insight into the anatomy of an affair, or have experienced the catastrophic fallout firsthand, their advice may have limitations — particularly given our own tendency to distort and blur the truth.

For an unfaithful person, this can be likened to asking directions for how to get out of a valley from someone who has always lived in a village on top of the mountain. They know the village well but have never traversed into the depths of the valley below. These important and vital confidants can encourage us from a distance but are unable to show us the exact route out.

An unfaithful man or woman wanting to be free from the empty place their life of deceit and lies has led them, needs someone who knows exactly how dark it is in the pit of that valley. We need to hear from those who have climbed the treacherous path and overcome the obstacles littered on the way before reaching daylight. We need an experienced guide, one who has gone before us and is aware of the pitfalls along the way.

I’ve yet to speak to any man freshly facing the horrendous impact of their choices who initiates and ploughs through the internet looking for support groups, forums or courses to find healing for themselves, yet most would express a desire to save their marriage. More often than not however, a betrayed partner will go to extreme lengths searching for information and answers to why?

The world as they knew it has been thrown into chaos, they have no idea what is real and what’s not, this is the trauma and uncertainty we’ve caused. So if you’re here reading this and you are, or have been on my side of the fence, brace yourself for an influx of articles from your spouse as she (or he) is clambering for safety. It’s completely normal, and rather than shy away from the ugly truth, learn to welcome the information coming your way, even if it is not all 100% accurate for you. Even better, invest some time in doing research yourself, initiate the recovery process. This major step will speak volumes to your hurting spouse.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

She’s (he’s) looking for answers, hope and a lifeline.

So, it turns out, Noni fits into the completely normal end of the spectrum of what betrayed partners do, she found plenty of articles that she generously shared to my inbox.

Although I would have given anything to be able to just move on, the more I overcame my reluctance to read one more article, watch one more video, and to face myself, the more I discovered something I never knew existed.

I found a community.

Not only had the men in this online community put themselves (and their families) through the same ordeal as I had, they were more than simply surviving, they were were thriving.

I was filled with hope.

These men had worked hard to understand how their vulnerabilities led them to the darkness of that deep valley. They had navigated the challenges of recovery, sometimes they stumbled and failed, but each time persevered, rebuilding themselves and a better relationship. Their support and guidance were crucial to my own recovery. This journey is one that is punctuated with bouts of hopelessness, isolation, anger, despair and disgust.

Knowing I wasn’t alone was the precious lifeline I needed. 

I was reminded when I slipped backwards, or froze in the face of a challenge and didn’t know what next, that I am not hopeless nor destined for failure. There is a path to being a trustworthy reliable man, and indeed a man committed to a much better relationship. Unfortunately this path is travelled infrequently, often started and sadly not completed by many. 

For me personally, having a safe place to work through the hurdles and traps while unravelling my betrayals was a place where I could share the disappointments and doubts as well as the successes and hope. It is a place without judgement or condemnation but one with loads of empathy and accountability.

Having this support was the difference to perservering with the work of recovery or giving up when it got hard, and it certainly gets very hard.  

At times I found it easier recognise my patterns and behaviors for what they were when they were duplicated in the stories and experiences of others. My own acting out was no longer kept in a compartment out of sight when I identified so many similarities in my story, there are no bragging rights in these places, just humility and remorse. At times one person’s revelation sparks the revelations in me, likewise my mistakes in recovery serve as a warning for others, and the progress of my companions become encouragement for me. 

Men who have betrayed their partners can be very reluctant to open up to others and participate in group work. Often the shame and pain of facing who we have been seems too much to bear let alone reflect on and explore with strangers. We often prefer to do whatever to fix what we can, renew our promises and move on as quickly as possible, lest we realise how broken we really are, I tried that 27 years ago and it didn’t work! 

Loneliness can be excruciating when trying to heal (for both partners). In isolation we can feel it’s all too hard, too painful and just beyond our capacity.  

Loneliness and isolation are the enemy in our recovery journey  

Find the right support, stay close and in touch, even when you feel you don’t need or want to.

You can climb out of the depths of the valley.

Reach out to us if you want, we might not have the answers to your own unique situation, but we can listen and perhaps give you some pointers on what worked for us and what didn’t.

Dave

2,334 Sherpa Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

When is a D-day, not a D-day?

We had church in our home last Sunday, it was a small intimate gathering with people of deep faith. After everyone left, Dave and I put the furniture back in place and had a couple of hours before meeting friends for lunch. I told Dave I was going upstairs to lay down to read for a while.

He said “Non can we please talk”.

How often do we hear these words come from our husbands mouth? In our house, not a lot…

Turning to him I asked, “Now?” 

His solemn face and nod answered my question.

Dave’s been doing a lot of work on himself and also with other men over the past two years in recovery. We’ve both put in enormous effort to rebuild our relationship and we’re in a great place. We have uncovered a heck of a lot about the nature of his duality and in more recent days revisited some questions I’d asked over the years.

The reason we did this is not because of any lingering insecurity or unrest but because of the very real possibility that amongst some of his female companionships, he may have held secret friendships that he was blind to or in denial of. Just friends, perhaps some that he initially overlooked and maybe considered insignificant compared to the bigger betrayals.

Not surprisingly, the deeper he’s dug over time, his answers have changed.

“Did you take your wedding ring off?” In 1994, his answer was a very strong “No”. 

The same question 2 weeks ago became a “Maybe” and “I can’t be sure”. 

Last week it was, “Yes I probably did”. (With one of the affair partners)

Like many career men, Dave has spent countless hours away from home, traveling for work, he’s had literally thousands of opportunities to be unfaithful.

So, in the last couple of weeks I challenged him to think about all interactions he’d had with women on his many trips. I asked him to view every relationship with the clarity he now has, to take his time and come back to me when he’s ready.

We prayed together that the Lord would reveal any hidden skeletons.

Dave is involved in regular Saturday calls with a group of men who are supporting each other through recovery and it was during last weeks meeting, he noticed a groundswell of fear beginning to surge within. And as God does, the Holy Spirit exposed another dark secret, one pushed down and buried so deeply in the bowels of shame that even Dave had forgotten it existed.

He was drained and nauseous after the group call, for the remainder of Saturday, and well into the night he seemed really down. The pain on his face was reminiscent of the pain in his heart. I encouraged him not to take on the other men’s burdens, never imagining for a moment that the weight he carried, was his own.

Before going to sleep that night, he said “I hate that person I was…” Gently placing my hand on his chest I comforted him, knowing that the person he was has developed into the fully integrated man he is now. A deeply loved man.

So when he asked if we could talk on Sunday, of course I said “Yes”.

My initial apprehension about more disclosure had to make way for the person Dave has become.

This news was coming from a mature man, a broken man, a man full of remorse, and a man committed to heal from a lifetime of pain. A genuine man who has delved into the depths of his soul, the toughest of places on this journey.

We sat together on the outdoor furniture freshly returned to it’s place, and as he spoke through his tears, I waited quietly for the bomb to drop. The pounding in my chest was at odds with my calm exterior. Shallow breathing, sweaty palms, Amygdala at the ready, what was the outcome going to be, fight, flight or freeze? My primitive brain in deep preparation to find safety.

I froze and listened while Dave painfully recounted the details of yet another affair, a one night stand he had during the first few years of our marriage, at a conference away from home. His own disgust and shame had filed this memory somewhere even too dark for himself to recall when he first came clean in 2019. He then continued divulging some of the many moments and meals he’d shared one on one with different women on different work trips.

Breakfasts, lunches and dinners, not because he had any legitimate work reasons to but because he wanted to and could manipulate the situations to suit. Not because he wanted to pursue romantic relationships with any of the women but because it made HIM feel good to be seen in the company of an attractive woman. The attention he sought from many women, the image he desired of an admired man, the affirmation and propping up of the fragile child within. It soothed the empty part of him, it made him feel good about himself and he only ever considered, himself. 

So, when is a D-day not a D-day?

In this particular case; when the new information didn’t thrust me into an emotional free fall sending us all the way back to the oblivion of ground zero.

Even though the fresh disclosure was difficult to hear, I could sit and accept it with a new level of empathy and compassion. This wasn’t a case of selective trickle truth, rather it was a legitimate suppressed memory. The physiological response to the information was unavoidable, it’s real and I had absolutely no control over it, I did have control with how I responded. Later that evening, Dave asked me whether I was OK. I answered “Yes.”

A little while on I told him that my OK was comparative to the fact that I wasn’t pulling my hair out, banging my head or a wall with the palm of my hand, I’m not rocking back and forth and I’m not curled up naked on the bathroom floor. So yeah, I’m OK.

I felt a little numb and flat, that was my OK and that’s OK.

We have already ascertained that Dave is a man who has battled with addiction. Patterns in place long before we ever met. There is nothing that myself or the kids did to cause this neither could we have done anything to prevent it.

His choices were just that, his choices.

This sexual betrayal happened more than twenty-five years ago, I’m not going to let that derail all of the healing we’ve enjoyed. I’m not up for that kind of punishment, neither of us deserve it.

No, we’ve done far too much work for that.

XXX

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