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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

Pain and Suffering

Who in their right mind wants to put their hand up for this!

We live in a fallen world, unfortunately pain and suffering is an inevitable part of this broken humanity.

Last month Pastor Lach interviewed Dave and I as part of a wider series on pain and suffering; there is pain and suffering which is inflicted upon us, then there is pain and suffering which we bring upon ourselves. We shared what we knew to be true for us.

Out of Psalm 51 we feel King David’s anguish and torment as he reaped the consequences of his sin.

Click to watch the interview

Noni & Dave

Real Time Recovery pt 3…

Relapse, lapse and acting out are all distinctively different behaviours—a lapse like this doesn’t automatically mean that a relationship is ruined. It serves as a reminder as to how sinister the roots of addiction are and also the marathon effort it takes to heal from a lifetime of unhealthy behaviours.

What’s needed now is a re-routing, and readjustment to continue on our path of recovery.

The pain of this blow out is real, for both of us. We are prayerful and hopeful that our repair work is sufficient. As long as we continue to hold space for one another and keep turning towards each other before, during and after conflict, chances are that we will reap the fruits of our effort. The absence of conflict is rarely a sign of healthy loving relationships, rather it is how we continue to show up for eachother and mend rifts or—fill in the potholes, this is what is important.

Dave’s fighting shame and despair after this sinkhole and learning that conflict avoidance is a destructive relational habit.

and

I’m fighting voices in my mind that say things like—I don’t look anything like her in my gym gear, if Dave’s eyes focus on skinny women, he must be repulsed by what he sees when he looks at meIf we weren’t together, he’d be free to stare at who he wants for however long he chooses—I’ll do for now, enough to satisfy him until he decides to go elsewhere…

These are awful thoughts and although the feelings are absolutely real at the time, they are distorted and unbalanced thinking, they are also not true, they’re a bunch of lies. Even though our rational minds know all of this, it’s a battle which is part and parcel of trauma experienced in the brain of a betrayed man or woman. Our primitive brains scream “this is not safe”.

Woops there goes another thought...

The only way to overcome PTSD from betrayal is to face it front on and move through it. Fight, flight or freeze—the limbic system gets an almighty workout on this journey. There are techniques we can learn to ground ourselves, we get to choose what we need to do to feel safe.

If you can relate to this, my only advice is to be kind to yourself, take time for yourself, and do the healing for yourself. Speak up, in truth with love and don’t be a slave to unhelpful thinking styles that keep you stuck.

You can do this, you’re stronger than you realise! One day at a time…

“And this too shall pass”

Noni x

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds
Psalms 147:3

Real Time Recovery pt 2

I honestly wasn’t anticipating the fallout of asking Noni whether something was bothering her after grocery shopping. Sure she was quiet but I still didn’t think it had anything to do with me, I really wasn’t expecting it.

Only when she queried what was going on back at the store did I realise that my wandering eye had been noticed. My gut immediately churned with the stinging deep conviction of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, rather than compelling me to humility and restitution, my spirit morphed quickly from conviction to condemnation, shame, and the desperate need to avoid this current sensation of discomfort.

Waves of nausea enveloped me while I pieced together the significant impact my thoughtlessness had on us and how easy it was for me to dismiss Noni’s heart, a heart and space I truly want to protect. 

Unaware I was slipping into the tired old cycle of control and manipulation only served to drive Noni away. After transferring the groceries from the boot of the car to the kitchen, Noni asked me to put them away and then walked out the front door.

I was left to work this out over the next few hours. 

Fear had to make way for courage. I knew that I could easily welcome and nurse the poor me victim I was so familiar with—but we’ve done too much work for that option to be as enticing as I once thought. I know far too well how that cycle goes—it leads nowhere.

I needed to confront myself with raw courage even though it scared me to death.

Read on for a glimpse into the process for me during this event…

We probably passed the tall active wear woman mentioned in last weeks blog post, about 4 times before arriving in the dairy section, I sensed then that I was feeling a little awkward inside. I knew it wasn’t right to repeatedly let my eyes linger longer than normal, gazing at any woman other than my wife, yet I continued to do so. I was embarrassed for myself without even beginning to consider how this incident might make Noni feel. This behaviour has been a painfully common occurrance through the course of our relationship and a habit that I thought—was no longer a thorn in my side.

My ego was consoled with a bunch of half baked truths such as—I know in my heart there was no lusting—I wasn’t looking for her she was just kind of there over and over! At this point I failed to acknowledge that it was MY choice to keep on looking and of course Noni would notice, how could she not!

My next big mistake without any thought was my reflex response to Noni’s question. I shared what I believed were rational explanations—rationalisations. I desperately wanted Noni to believe what I wanted to believe; I was sure I could make her understand it wasn’t such a big deal. The harder I tried—the more it felt like I was struggling in quicksand. GASLIGHTING!

Noni was right to leave the house.

Once she got home I still had the overwhelming urge to point out all the times over the last months I had taken steps to remove myself from these types of situations, it was an effort to demonstrate I am not as bad as I seemed at the moment. Proving to her that it was simply a momentary lapse, not an uncontrollable compulsion. As soon as I gave the accounts of my ‘good behaviours’, a light flicked on for me and I realised – wow Dave are you really expecting praise for being respectful or not doing wrong? Why should I expect Noni to applaud me for doing what should have always been an acceptable standard of committment? This is the depth of self deception I can live with.

Eventually, I just shut up and watched and listened to how Noni felt, laying aside my discomfort with the situation momentarily. She was wounded by my efforts to minimise as much as I hurt her with my actions. It took me quite a few attempts to hear Noni completely—that is—without adding context to what she was saying, filtering what I was hearing, or offering what I thought was a helpful explanation/qualification or correction. I needed to put aside my shame to really recognise and empathise with Noni’s grief. After hearing the detail of how humiliated Noni felt, my apathy also set off an avalanche of fear and pain, I was gutted. It then dawned on me the significance of my thoughtless glances, this was a huge red flag.

The Red Flag

In another place and time in my life not so long ago, my decision to hold the gaze of another woman would not have been so thoughtless. It would be me grasping a brief moment of gratification, a gesture that may or may not be reciprocated, if that look or gesture was acknowledged or returned there would be further gratification, it may even have led to a verbal exchange—polite yet with an undercurrent of flattery, and even more gratification. From that verbal exchange, the idea of other possibilities may be held in the back of my mind (a fantasy perhaps) which might even result in further contact by chance or design. It could end anywhere, and most likely would end nowhere, yet this cascade of decisions pursuing momentary selfish gratification is at the heart of betrayal. Infidelity begins with a thought, not an action and after a series of thoughts, the wheels are in motion.

In isolation, my action and choices may seem like a minor lapse of concentration, frought with danger though, if such a lapse goes unchecked and I allow myself to explain away the decision, then what next? Our partners are right to challenge our behaviours, us unfaithful may judge our recovery on our intentions but the hearts we’ve shattered are wise to gauge differently.

It might take years but if these moments are left unchecked they inevitably increase in frequency and scale, eventually corroding the boundaries I’ve established to keep me and my marriage safe.

Like a fence that isn’t maintained, if a series of small breaches are not repaired and fortified, the fence is weakened and eventually, one day when it is tested, it offers little resistance…

Noni will wrap up part 3 of Real Time Recovery next week, this sinkhole has been another massive training session for the marathon effort needed to change my lifetime of faulty thinking.

Dave

Real Time Recovery

If you’ve read our Memoir you’ll know right from the start that Dave nor I profess to have ‘arrived’ anywhere, we are still very much in the thick of this recovery journey. It’s taken us a lifetime to get to this starting point so it’s likely going to take us another lifetime to complete it!

Yes we’re different, yes we’re further down the road but there is still a ways to go. We’ve written our story with complete authenticity so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that our blog posts are no different. Real time rawness!

In our chapter “WHAT DOES RECOVERY LOOK LIKE?” we describe how our recovery road is made up of potholes which often feel more like sink holes. Well we’ve just hit another crappy sink hole.

If you are of faith, the timing of this ‘relapse’ will come as no surprise. Stepping out to share our story in church and on radio has left us wide open for an onslaught of arrows.

Here is how last Sundays slipping into the sinkhole unfolded…

After church Dave and I grabbed lunch, spent a little time in conversation about a question posed to us during the radio interview, it was around the topic of boundaries. We were both on the same page and in agreement with how we felt the interview went. There was no distance or tension between us.

After lunch we headed into Woolies to do weekly groceries. All is going well…

Dave was pushing the trolley while I tossed bits ‘n’ pieces on top of the ever mounting load.

A tall slim young and attractive woman, dressed in black active wear, was shopping with her young child and partner. She took no notice of us while she went about her business while heading down the same aisles as us. I cast a glance noticing how pretty she was and thought nothing more.

Dave, on the other hand, looked, and looked, and continued to look, and while he was busy looking he failed to realise that I became fully aware of him checking her out, not once, not twice but over and over.

Some might say, what’s the problem? That’s just normal, he wouldn’t be male if he didn’t, there’s nothing wrong with looking, and Noni don’t be so insecure, right?

Let me try to explain how this scenario played out.

By the time I was fully conscious of what he was doing we were skirting around the outside of the dairy section, this is when Dave began behaving like a kid caught with his hand in the lollie jar. Dave has little interest in food shopping yet started talking about juices, butter and yoghurt in a somewhat familiar and anxious manner, so yeah, I noticed. I’m not saying that he was lustfully drooling or anything super creepy, gosh, Dave doesn’t do that, it’s nothing quite so obvious. This is more like sneaky glimpses, when he thinks no one is watching.

It is is painful to witness, it’s humiliating, infuriating, disrespectful and unfortunately far too common in men who have affairs. It’s not that they actually seek or desire the person their attention is fixed on, well not at this point anyway, it is more akin to this being one of the first steps of them acting on their vulnerability.

Let me explain the cycle for those who don’t understand how it works.

The formerly unfaithful is doing really well but an area of fatigue/conflict/stress has risen (this could be work, relational, financial, health etc, we all experience these moments, it’s called life). It looks different in everyone but happens to everyone.

Anyhoo my formerly unfaithful husband is an exceptional man, he’s been courageous, present and committed but there has been a few minor stresses recently that may have been weighing on him without him even realising, so if he doesn’t realise, how can he share?

Unintentionally and unconsciously, he finds himself in a vulnerable state and I’m left in the dark. This becomes the first stumbling block to reduced self awareness.

We are still only in a pothole at this stage, what happened next is when it gave way collapsed into a sinkhole, taking us with it.

We packed the groceries into the boot of the car and drove off in deafening silence. Dave broke the ice with a tentative, “Non, is something wrong?”

My verbal response was intentionally measured and calm even though beneath the surface my heart was aching.

“How about you tell me what happened back there?

“Huh?”

“What did you focus your attention on?” (a few more quizzical huh’s followed)

“I saw a woman in a black gym gear and thought she looked like D**** M*****” (an acquaintance of ours)

Now, us betrayed partners have finely tuned inbuilt BS meters, they are rarely off, whilst an unfaithful partner has honed their gaslighting skills to be able to twist and turn even the simplest of conversations around. I called BS.

“Right now would be a good time to stop talking and really think before you say anything else”.

Dave didn’t heed my advice and continued mansplaining, the smarter thing to do would have been to pause and consider his next course of action.

He may have initially thought this woman was D****, but apart from her having blonde hair, she bore no other resemblance at all. This woman was a few inches taller, about 20 years younger and had a young child on her hip… Still, this was the story Dave was telling himself and trying to sell me on. The other reason I knew it was complete BS—when we were in the deli section Dave spotted a guy he thought looked like someone else we knew, he turned to me and asked directly, “Hey Non, is that J*** C****?” Now, why wouldn’t he do the same with this woman rather than continue to follow her with his eyes and get all awkward about juice, butter and yoghurt?

I hate to stop midway but this is too big a post for one entry, Dave can finish the story next week…

Recovery is an ongoing process, much love, Noni xxx

Severing Ties

How difficult was it to write our story? Bloody hard…

After decades striving to maintain an image and hide truths, the journey to owning my own story as a cheat, liar and unfaithful husband, has been slow and arduous.

I’d done everything within my power to prevent my brokenness from seeing daylight. Even when the truth finally found its way out, the urge to hide was still ever present. No one wants to be identified as someone who casts unimaginable pain on those they love and vow to protect.

My personal mission to take a lifetime of secrets to my grave was no longer possible once I was faced with losing everything I held dear. The agonising reality of losing my family, once they knew the full truth about me, was fuelled with risk and insurmountable fear. It was a risk I had to take.

Initially sharing the complete and shameful truth with Noni, I stood by, watching as she had to painfully digest and process what was to become our new reality.

The first step completed, my wife stood by me with strength and dignity when she had every right to get up and go.

Before telling our children, and with Noni’s encouragement I told a small handfull of trusted and close friends who could prayerfully support us. 

Each time I disclosed more of myself I discovered, to my surprise, that the world didn’t end. For sure there was pain and disappointment—but it was for a period—and I realised that I could experience forgiveness, even compassion, rather than the fear of rejection I’d courted for years.

Being the broken and contrite person bought me closer to my family than I ever dreamed of and I was able to humbly accept that I was worthy of their love despite all of my failings.

Decades of maintaining a superficial image, and striving to control my environment, acheived nothing more than unwelcome separation and disconnection from the love I desired and longed for. 

This was still miles off writing a book for the world to see.

The prospect of acquaintances or even strangers seeing my life in its ugliness was extremely confronting. Over time I recognised the discomfort and fear were remnants of my wanting to preserve an “admirable façade”. 

An innate desire to preserve an image to people who didn’t know me and were unlikely to ever really know me!

Finally, I realised—I have cared too much, for too long, what people think of me—and this was the crux of letting go. 

Letting go of pride and letting go of shame.

Severing ties with these lying parasites was crucial in allowing me to be vulnerable and honest throughout writing our story. This didn’t happen quickly, but I was determined I would perservere. 

During the process, many pages and hours of work were deleted or binned, as I found I had chosen words too carefully in attempts to soften the harsh truth. Writing the story down has a way of exposing any hidden narrative.

In the same period, I participated in regular meetings with similarly flawed men who were committed to recovering their lives and repairing the damage they had created in their relationships. Their ruthless honesty and bravery emboldened me when I needed it most. 

The similarities in our stories and the universal anguish we each felt, for havoc we had wreaked, gave me the purpose. 

The purpose to share my story as a warning to others, to bring encouragement that there is hope for a much better life, without the shadow of lies. 

The grace and acceptance of a broken me was much more satisfying than striving for the admiration of the false image, an image I struggled to maintain for so long while holding my secrets tight. 

Not one of us is irredeemable, if we surrender ourselves to a safe space. Be brave, be honest, and be real. Remove the shackles of shame in return for freedom and peace.

Dave

Sobering Figures

I recently stumbled across the Sexual Health Australia site while meandering down the research rabbit hole.

According to this organisation, Australias prevalence for extra-marital affairs is that, a whopping 60% of men and 45% of women are willing to report that infidelity has occurred sometime in their marriage. They actually suggest that an accurate figure is more likely that 70% of all marriages will experience an affair.

We don’t need to look too far to see what this means.

Yep, that’s 7 out of 10 marriages in Australia...

According to VentureBeat, Ashley Madison—the Canadian online dating service and social networking service, a site marketed to people who are married or in relationships—added 5.5M new members globally to their site in 2020. This is an average of over 466,000 new sign ups every month, and this occurred during a global pandemic!

I appreciate that monogamy might not be for everyone, an open relationship model is fine, providing a couple are in agreement. (N.B. When I say couple I’m not talking about the ones who are having the affair)

If stepping outside of marriage vows is a consensual decision within the primary relationship then so be it, but how many AM subscribers do you think might have actually checked in with their spouses to see whether they’re on the same page as each other in this regard?

How many would have even considered engaging in any respectful conversation with their “for better or for worse” partner, BEFORE choosing to join?

You know—just as a common courtesy— to see if they’re on board with the idea.

It’s not rocket science right? Seems to me like a decent thing to do when you’re in a committed relationship.

Wouldn’t they respectfully want their partner to have a say in the matter, to make it a shared decision? Witholding of this information susequently denies the faithful spouse the right to make any choice based on what is best for themselves. It is controlling behaviour, preventing another person from voicing their concerns, thoughts or opinion and therefor falls into the category of abuse.

This is where the problem lies.

How many people contemplating an extra marital affair actually have the courage and maturity to openly confide in their loved ones about their inner most thoughts?

No one we’ve spoken to has. Dave didn’t, so how would it have been possible for us to avert the catastrophic fallout of discovery?

Could it be because the one looking for outside validation or pleasure, doesn’t want to acknowledge how this extra marital excitement might destroy their real deal? If they didn’t want their committed relationship to continue, why wouldn’t they just break it off before seeking the pleasure of an illicit affair? This would be far less painful than the gaslighting and lies needed to cover up an affair.

And if they truly saw nothing wrong with signing up for an affair, why keep it all hidden?

Seriously, it’s the deception that does my head in, and not far behind the deception comes the stories an unfaithful partner will use to justify their reasons for why they chose an affair, that list is absolutely endless…

Ashely Madison currently have over 70 Million subscribers; the way I see it is that unless the spouses of their members are fine with their significant others having an extra marital affair, then there is a solid chance that around 70 million people across the globe are being deceived and betrayed by people they love and trust.

That’s a lot of people on the receiving end of cheating and the consequences are astronomically debilitating. Ask any betrayed spouse or couple trying their darndest to heal after infidelity…

Ashley Madison also list Australia as apparently being the fourth country in the world, after Brazil, USA and Canada as having the largest number of members, heck they even list the towns with the most subscribers! 

I’m not judging anyone here but I find these numbers truly staggering and please hear me, I am talking about relationships which are exclusive, believing their intimate attachment to be completely monogomous.

I challenge anyone who says that having an affair improves their marriage, to actually go and ask their betrayed spouse if they feel the same.

Oh that’s right they probably don’t know about it do they…

For everyones sake, please be brave, be honest and have the conversation.

Heal well my friends xxx

We are special and perfect just as we are, nothing that we did or didn’t do caused our partners to cheat. It wouldn’t have mattered if we had been prettier, skinnier, funnier, smarter, richer, taller or any other version of our best selves. Our partners choices were theirs alone, they had other options!

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

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