When You Are in Over Your Head

The Journey Through Crisis and Finding Solutions to Move Forward

Before we dive in, I wanted to show you a student-produced film that I found online. It is only five minutes long, but it perfectly captures what it looks like to be caught in panic, to be stuck, and unable to move forward after a disaster in one’s life.

I wanted you to watch this film so you can see how sudden trauma affects us all. This (dramatized and fictional) video may have been produced by a young woman, who is a university student, but it perfectly captures how sudden trauma affects the mind, then the body, and then can turn into a panic attack.

Few understand how deeply trauma affects the body in addition to the mind. After trauma, panic attacks are not all in one’s head. Please watch this video, but keep in mind this post is about the journey through crisis and finding solutions to move forward.

That was an accurate portrayal of how any kind of trauma affects the body and the mind, not just the mind. Luckily, no one has to be stuck and no one has to stay stuck. There are concrete ways to remove trauma from the mind and body, but it all begins with action.

Quite often, transformation happens in the least likely of places and can come from what might appear to be the most mundane people. When it happens, it is awe-inspiring. This story is about an inspiring transformation, but also about the key component that had to occur to cause the transformation to occur: concrete action and how that looks.

Most people know they must do something, but they do not know what to do. Some people can spin in the same place for years because they do not know where to go and what to do.

But, following a path forward also involves making concrete choices, having faith, and listening to intuition.

Two days ago, I had a synchronistic experience that has left me in awe. This experience illustrates the power of what happens when another person finds the metaphorical map forward: it is a transformational experience.

The Story of Adam

What happened two days ago is a true story and it is about a man named, Adam, who approached me to give me his real-estate brokerage card. Little did Adam or I know what was about to unfold and what transformation was to occur in Adam’s life.

This is a very inspiring story about how Adam found a way out of his personal Niagara Falls moment, even though it started with a real estate card.

However, I wanted to preface this story with letting you know I was in the metaphorical “zone” that I needed to be in to help a stranger. Little did I know I had been preparing all day to get into that healing zone.

When I was alone at home this past week, I had been listening to Helen Reddy sing Candle on the Water and I was trying to duplicate the style. Since I was a child, I wanted to embody the metaphorical candle on the water that is described in this song.

When I was a child, I would sing the song to injured animals that I had found and rescued. But, when I became a mom, I sang it to my children. But, as they have grown older, I have realized that I can embody the Candle on the Water to all who need guidance.

It was late, Sunday afternoon and I had been cleaning the house and singing the song when no one was around. I have been thinking about singing publicly again—doing church solos and singing other inspirational songs.

Soon I realized it was approaching dinnertime and I decided to head to Safeway in my housecleaning clothing: yoga pants, a videogame hoodie that my son wore before he grew too tall, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. I had not showered, I had not bothered to put on make-up, and I had pulled my hair in a careless ponytail. I was really schlepping around.

I went shopping in the nearly empty store and then started to head home. When I was loading all my groceries into the car, a very well-dressed, well-groomed, and classy man approached me to talk.

I will tell you that in my mind, I was wondering why a well-groomed stranger wearing a suit came to speak with me as I was loading my car.

The stranger was not a police officer, he was not Mormon, he did not appear to be selling anything, he was certainly not there to offer me a job, and he was very friendly. His name was Adam and he wanted to talk about my car and give me his real estate brokerage card; he liked my KIA. (LOL).

I had to get home and thought about leaving.

The still small voice inside of me said, “This is a foreign man and he is approaching you to talk because God has sent him. You want to be the lighthouse, so here is your chance.”

That was my cue to listen.

Back in 2013, I told God that I was ready to do his work and that I was formally asking God to be his metaphorical lighthouse here on earth. I told God that he could send strangers to me and give me the words and guidance that they needed to hear.

I worship the One God of Judeo-Christianity, but I do not discriminate when it comes to helping others. It doesn't matter if a stranger believes what I believe; it doesn’t matter if a stranger believes in God at all; it doesn't matter if a stranger is gay or straight, rich or poor, black or white; if the stranger is a child or someone close to death. I love all people.

When God informs me that he sent a stranger to speak with me, I listen and patiently ask God what I can do to help, even if I have to get home for dinner.

Only, here is the catch: strangers do NOT know this about me.

In fact, very few of my friends know this about me. I am only blogging about it now because the events of Sunday night and my talk with Adam will take on a much greater significance if you are aware that I have a pact with God and that I humbly ask to serve as God’s metaphorical lighthouse here on earth.

I only stop to speak with male strangers if I get an impression from God – one that is very strong and cannot ignore.

Back to Adam

Adam approached my car, told me he liked it, and told me he was a real estate broker and gave me his card. He told me that a car like mine would be a nice car for clients to ride in since it had leather seats and lights underneath the car that lit up at night.

I thanked Adam and listened to him compliment my car, knowing his small talk was leading somewhere. I knew he was not there to hit on me and I knew he was not trying to get a listing for a house because I could see his troubled eyes very clearly.

I asked Adam where he was from, and then, he started telling me his life story: Adam was a middle-aged immigrant from Libya who had been a trial attorney in his own country and had come from a wealthy family. Like many immigrants, his degree and prior work experience was not transferable.

He explained that he worked very hard once he came to the United States and became a real estate broker since he could not practice law. Adam’s use of the English language was phenomenal and his thoughts were profound. He was an excellent communicator and a deep-thinker.

Adam talked about years of stress as I patiently listened; he was apparently at his breaking point.

He told me about his frustrations regarding returning to school in order to practice as an attorney again. He told me about all of the stressors of being a real estate broker. He told me how difficult it was studying for the TOEFL exam so that he could become admitted to a university in my state. If he was admitted, he could get a Master’s degree.

He told me about his frustrations because many people are rude to him. He said that once people learn he is an Arab man, they do not want to speak with him. (I believe that because I have seen this for myself in the town where I live.) Adam marveled that I did not care he was from an Arab country or that he was a Muslim man.

He told me he was at a frustrating crossroads and heading for burn-out.

Adam said he was trying to become admitted to an LLM degree so he could practice as an attorney again, while maintaining a busy brokerage firm.

That’s when I decided to speak.

I looked at Adam and said, “You cannot practice as an attorney in the United States with an LLM degree.”

Adam furrowed his brow and said, “What? Are you serious? But, I was told that if I wanted to be an attorney, I needed an LLM degree.”

I said, “You can be a legal assistant with an LLM degree or perhaps a law clerk, but you need a Juris Doctor degree to be eligible to practice as an attorney. But, even after you finish the Juris Doctor degree, you must pass a state bar exam to practice as an attorney.”

Adam looked stunned and said, “I have called the state government offices so many times to find out what degree I needed if I wanted to be an attorney in the United States. Everyone gave me a different answer. Finally, someone told me I needed an LLM degree so I have been studying for a TOEFL exam for an entire year just so I can apply to an LLM degree.”

I shook my head. I showed Adam a fully online law school where he would be able to do all his coursework at home and then he could sit for a first year bar exam in the state of California. If he passed that first year bar exam, he could continue his law degree online, finish it, and then sit for the regular bar exam in California. If he passed, he could practice as an attorney in California and be eligible for reciprocity in many other states.

Adam was shocked and he said, “I am 45-years-old. I have been wasting so much time going here and there. I have lived in the United States for nearly 10 years now and no one has been able to give me a clear answer on what I need to do if I want to be an attorney. I have been spinning. If I go back to law school, I can work as an attorney by the age of 50. Time is going so quickly… I am already done with half of my life…why do you know so much about being an attorney?”

I said, “When I was much younger, I completed one year of law school. I loved law school and have attorneys in my family. But, one day it dawned on me that being an attorney meant I would be the person that people came to see after their life had reached the point of no return.

That bothered me because I was interested in redeeming the lives of others. Redeeming others is inspirational and suing others is NOT inspirational and so I withdrew from law school. I wanted to be a redeemer and not a litigator.”

Adam became very quiet and lost in thought.

Finally, he said, “That’s the answer. I want to continue to help people, but I need to decide HOW.  I helped many people in Libya when I was an attorney. But, now I need to focus on how I want to continue to help people.  I want to serve people, but part of me does not want to return to being a lawyer. It is hard to admit this because law is thing that I know, my family loved the status of having a son as an attorney, but I don’t really want to be an attorney. I want to help people before the disaster; I want to be a redeemer too. Suddenly it’s all becoming clear.”

I told Adam that I needed to get home, but that I was glad he was able to figure out who he wanted to be.

Adam did not want to stop talking.

He asked, “Wait, I did not even ask you what you do for a living.”

I said, “Go ahead and guess.”

Adam said, “Are you a psychologist?”

I chuckled and said, “Well, yes and no. I have graduate credentials in psychology, but the way I work is much different from how others work. Most often, I work with people who are going through major life-transitions due to infidelity and who have hit a brick wall. Helping people navigate life after betrayal is my passion and I get to be a redeemer of people and of marriages.”

Adam smiled and he said, “That’s a really nice thing to do for people; I like that.”

But, then Adam’s face became very serious and he quizzically stared at me for a while. I was wondering if I had offended him. After all, I had not given Adam the best of news. I had told him that an LLM degree would not allow him to reach his goal of being an attorney. All of that work that he was doing to get admitted to an LLM was seemingly coming to naught. But, it caused Adam to think about what he really wanted.

Adam finally said, “I believe God led me to you.”

I replied, “Tell me more about that. Why did God lead you to me; how does that work?”

Hint: When people say that, I want to know if they are using a common cliché.

Adam said very seriously, “You have no idea how my day has been today; right before I met you. I have been working on my laptop in a coffee shop all day. I became very upset because I found out earlier in the week that my law degree and all those years of practice were not transferable to a future Master’s program. The state could not tell me what degree I needed to practice law again and kept suggesting an LLM.

I was afraid I would have to keep being a real estate broker and that would disappoint my parents. I was sitting there working on my laptop and there was an awful vision that came into my mind.

In the vision, I was in a small boat with no motor and no way to row. I was floating in the middle of a dark sea. There were many waves and no light anywhere. In my vision, I fell off the boat and did not know where to swim. Everything was dark. There were no stars in the night sky. I knew that no matter where I swam, it would be useless.

There was no point of light to show me where the land was. I saw that I could swim for miles in any direction and still be lost in the dark waves. I knew I needed a lighthouse, so that I would know also which direction to go in.

I realized immediately this vision was about my life. No matter which way I go, everything is useless. I started to despair. Then, God said to me that I needed to get off my laptop, to take a long walk in one direction, and that I would meet someone who would be like a lighthouse.

This vision caused me to leave the coffee shop and go on a long walk, which led me to you. God said he would point that person out when I crossed their path. The reason I came to give you my card and talk about your car was because God told me you were the lighthouse.”

To say I was stunned was an understatement. I almost took out my phone and almost started recording him on my phone’s video camera.

I was astonished because Adam had described the contract I have with God.

Adam told me that talking to me helped clear his head and gave him the literal illumination he needed to move forward.

I thanked Adam and told him I would probably see him around town, then I went home.

The next day, my kids wanted Teriyaki for dinner from a specific take-out place. I drove there around 7pm. After I ordered, someone came running into the teriyaki shop behind me. It was Adam.

He said, “I was working in the coffee shop next door and saw your car drive by. I just wanted to tell you that the talk changed you had with me last night changed my life. I now have a clear sense of direction and I cannot thank you enough. I love being a real estate broker because it allows me to help people and to serve them. You freed me from the false belief that I could only help others by being an attorney.”

I told him I was happy to help and would see him around sometime. Then, Adam left the teriyaki shop and I watched him drive off in a brand new Mercedes-Benz.

The lady behind the counter asked me what the stranger was so excited about and I told her about the night before.

She noted that he seemed sincerely appreciative for whatever I had done. I told her all I did was speak with him and help him sort out his direction in life.

She kept saying, “Wow, you must have really helped him. He was so excited and happy.”

Later that night I took Adam’s business card to see if he really was a broker. Little did I know that he was the head broker of a prestigious real estate company in my area. All of the houses he had listed under his name were being sold for millions of dollars.

My head was spinning. To outside appearances, Adam was already living the so-called American dream. But inside, he was far from content. Somehow Adam recognized the housewife driving the KIA had the answer.

But, let us recap.

How did Adam get through his Niagara Falls moment?

Well, the first step was, he had to recognize something was very wrong. I suppose having a vision in one’s mind of drowning in a dark sea with no stars in the sky would be a wake-up call.

Adam had to follow God’s instructions to close his laptop, get up, and go and take a walk because there was a metaphorical lighthouse waiting for him.

Adam kept walking until he saw me loading my car. God told him he had found the metaphorical lighthouse.

Adam had to take the first step – concrete action - by reaching out to me and giving me his business card. He had to put himself out there and tell me what was troubling him.

I was able to help Adam sort through his issues because he was willing to listen to the concrete facts I had for him about what it took to become an attorney.

Adam was willing to search his heart and realize that maybe he didn’t want to be an attorney and was hanging on to the idea due to the status of the job and the disappointment that he might face because his parents wanted an attorney in the family.

Adam realized he loved being a broker, but had been trying to be an attorney due to the pressure from his family and not because he wanted to be an attorney. In realizing he could follow his heart and his intuition, he found peace.

The Importance of Adam’s Experience

So, what does Adam’s quest for clarity have to do with infidelity?

Adam’s career was as important to him as a marriage. Adam had worked so hard for so many years that Adam was never able to get married and have a family of his own. Adam had been married to his job for many years and his career was all he had. His career crisis felt like he was losing everything he had; it felt like he was losing everything for which he had worked.

In short, the very thing he had dedicated his life to felt like it was slipping away.

Adam’s vision of falling off a boat and floating in utter darkness with no light, no boat, and no land is an image we can all relate to; for most of us it is the stuff of nightmares.

In fact, it very well could have been the experience of someone going over Niagara Falls in the dark.

Adam’s vision of being adrift in dark water, waiting to drown, evoked strong feelings in me because his vision captured how I felt right after D-Day.

Right after D-day, I felt like I was going to drown. Right after D-Day, there was NO light to illuminate my path. I had to fumble through the darkness alone. There was no infidelity material that was helpful because I needed more than a book.

But, my trauma was larger because I also lost my home, I experienced being physically beaten for the first time in my life AND by someone who was supposed to love me; I experienced true terror.

There was no affair book on the market that could reverse the trauma I had experienced both physically and mentally. I needed more than a book could provide. I needed to change from the inside out.

I have spent years studying what it takes to change from the inside out and all of my research ends up in blog posts so that you don’t have to be as lost as I was.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will finish this three part series. In part three, I will tell you how to obtain a victory in your own life and in your own marriage. Positive change is always possible and it is possible to change your life and your marriage.

Now It's Your Turn!

Please share your Niagara Falls moment and/or let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

19 responses to “Empower Page 1”

  1. I had three Niagara Falls Moment.Dec19, 2018,my husband comes home and tells me he went to dinner with his Orthodox PA (he is a surgeon) and they kissed and he been having feeling for her. He said they were. Good friends and just kissed. After initial shock,I started checking everything. He had bought her gifts, send her home from work every night in an Uber, planned to go away. He swore and lied for 4.5. Months that was it. He said he went crazy over her. Because he wouldn’t. Sleep with her and she cut off their relationship. At the time we called it EA. But. I could always tell he was lying, i searched and searched and he. Lied and Ifelt crazy. When confronted with his obvious lies, there would be a huge fight and i would go cray. I never believed it was one kiss, but. I did believe nothing happened until mid November when he caught her with his junior partner. I started feeling crazy, i had panic attacks and deep depression. I started couples therapy, individual therapy and starting seeing a psychiatrist due to my multiple mental breakdowns. Everyday was more lies and every week i would find something. Else out.I begged him in front of therapist to tell the truth.but he lied to his therapist, our therapist and me. I knew there had to be. More. If a story. Doesnt add up, you have done the math wrong. Fast forward to. April 29,2019 dday 2 we leave therapy and I look at him and tell him. No one believes you. He then proceeds to “ tell me everything”. Not. At this point he says, he did kiss her. More than once and it started in October and she broke it off. Because he bailed. On going to hotel for sex. My mind was blown, i thought he went crazy after finding her with his partner, guess what not true. I employed some unscrupulous methods to retrieve his old emails and texts. DDay number three. May 3rd 2019. Truth, he started having. Sex with her early October, she did get mad over hotel, broke it off and he went crazy. To win her back. They renewed affair, they were having sex in his office from October. In attempt to win her back, they started sexting and speaking on phone at night, phone sex. Having a full blown affair had nothing to do with his partner. Fooling around with her. It only made affair more intense. They had sexual relations 3-4 times a week. When i texted him on that OMG you did her in the Butt 9 not real words I used and she blew you everyday,he called and said now you know everything. After me begging him for. Truth for months. He made. Me believe he had fallen in love with her. Texts were I love you ETC. anyway, i went crazy. Drove to hospital and trashed her office because little Miss Religious woman had left. Truth about her, multiple affairs, swinging. She had sex with three surgeons that she worked with. I knew something was wrong with marriage. During his affair. No sex,he treated me like crap. I. Tried everything. Never thinking the man I loved and adorned would cheat. It was my friend who said he’s cheating. In Sept i. Asked him if he was having affair because we. We’re broken. He lied. In fact he told probably a 1000 lies to cover his ass. He made me feel crazy, i went crazy and found myself in ERfor psych evaluation and was almost committed. Today, he is here because I am so mentally sick, i need someone to take care of me. His story now was, he lied to HER not ME. He did all those things but he didn’t love her, she was just willing and since I hadn’t given him blow jobs lately and she would why not. This story is horrendous. I’m. Going to my psychiatrist today,they are changing all my meds. I have to miss work for a week to stabilize, My hands shake, my. Body shakes. There. Is so much more to this story. But i never thought a religious orthodox. Jewish woman would do these things, so I didn’t think of her as a threat. Never trust a shewolf in sheep’s clothing. And never underestimate the stupidity of men.My. Husband wants to works things out and stay married. But the question begs, WTH is the real truth and why didn’t he just come clean from start . Instead, I had to have several breakdowns and nearly committed..thats just part of my. Three DDAY. Niagara Falls day

    • Hi Donna,
      Thank you for sharing your Niagara Falls moment. Hugs to you, Donna. My heart goes out to you. If you lived nearby, I would come and give you a hug in person because you need one. And I am not shy about sharing hugs with betrayed, female spouses or children of any gender, age, or color. There have been many times strangers have gotten much-needed hugs from me.

      Let’s talk about MD’s. My husband is one, but not a surgeon. He is just a GP guy. But, I have seen the ugliness in the fullforce. If anyone is reading Donna’s comment and what happened to her, I can tell you this is REAL. All of it. And yes, this is what is happening in our modern-day medical profession, folks. There are many non-MD’s who enter the field hoping to poach a doctor. In my personal experience, these physician assistants are the worst. They have little schooling, NO residency, and they have the authority to act in the same role as a family physician IF there is a regular MD – like a surgeon on staff – to informally supervise their work. Human nature being what it is, a lot of female PA’s seek out doctors to “test out their skills in anatomy.” I am referring to the same way the PA who disrupted Donna’s marriage was testing out her skills.

      Donna, I don’t know who this other woman is, but it might be time to hire an attorney. One day, HR is going to get a whiff of the shenanigans going on where your husband works. In fact, I would urge you to get an attorney.

      I would also urge you to:

      -Print out all the emails and texts that demonstrate it was a consensual act between the two of them. Print out everything you have and put it in a bank vault under your name.

      Why?

      When HR gets involved… it’s only a matter of time, all the MD’s who have lowered themselves to allow this “creature” near them will be reviewed. If they don’t have documentation proving that this PA was pursuing a sexual relationship and that it was consensual, things will get ugly. Soon state licensing boards get involved, if they get involved, whoever insures the MD for his malpractice insurance also gets involved.

      If things get very bad, a doctor will lose his license, his medical insurance, his reputation… everything. He will be flipping burgers at MacDonald’s and he will likely have a criminal record if the affair partner is able to convince everyone she is raped.

      There is nothing like a wake-up call for all the surgeon’s out there who are dropping their pants, to go from top surgeon at Big Name Hospital, to burger-flipper and registered sex-offender. Think this is a myth? I could give you some names of several MD’s in my area who are in this very position right now.

      The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

      Now, some readers might wonder if I am helping Donna defend her husband so that she can stay in her marriage and the mean, old PA can get fired.

      But, here is what I am really thinking. Once, Donna gets her bearings and understands she is wiorthy of love and being cherished, there might come a day when the thought of leaving crosses her mind, well, she will need to pursue alimony and child support. If a surgeon is still employed, well, he will have a surgeon’s salary, won’t he? If a wife happened to leave a surgeon in a state where there is permanent alimony (for example) no matter how many years she has been married, well she can get a divorce and at least half a surgeon’s salary and 1/2 of his assets for the rest of her life. Then, she can go live on a beach in Mexico where the sunny days are long and the people friendly and kind. I dunno it’s just a thought. There is also Hawaii. There are so many nice, gated townhouse communities and tropical weather 365 days a year. But, I have recently learned Equador adopted the US dollar all the way back in 2007. There are huge ex-pat communities and all an American needs is a proof of income, stating they have at least $800 a month, and they are welcome in Equador. (Senior citizens on a budget are also welcome in Equador). Also, the Galápagos Islands happen to be owned by Equador. I see so many possibilities.

      But, let me be completely serious. Donna, my heart is broken for you. I applaud you for trashing the PA’s office. Sometimes a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. But, unfortunately this PA will always be who she is. She probably has a lot of enemies and her office probably gets vandalized a lot. Or maybe the janitor doesn’t like her. Or maybe an earthquake hit when she was not looking. She probably won’t acknowledge that her behavior caused someone so much pain that they destroyed her office. Nope, she is just looking for the next MD that she can show her butt 9 too. By the way, that is the first time I saw “butt 9.” I must be sheltered, even though I have a male teen who tells me the most gross things he can come up with. Butt 9 gave me a laugh.

      I understand why you stay right now. Your mind and body is a mess. This is what infidelity does to people. It is the worst experience in the world to be betrayed. It changes a person mind, body, and spirit.

      Donna, can I email you off-line? I will assume you are also Jewish since you mentioned the PA being an Orthodox Jew. If you are not Jewish, I can shed some light on HOW an Orthodox woman can do this with a clean conscience. But, I am not here to trash Jews. I inhabit the “no man’s land” where I was born to an ethnically Jewish mom (yes, Jews are their own ethnicity), and a Celtic/Scandanavian/Italian dad. Rabbis put me into the “Jewish” catagory due to Jewish law. I am kind of like Scarlet Johansson. She has identical ethnic lines. Sadly, I look nothing like her. That’s why she is a movie star and I am not. She makes a great Avenger though and I get to be a super hero behind the computer screen. So, it’s all good.

      But, I also wanted to talk about Jewish law. Donna, if your husband is a Jew, you may or may not be aware of the religious laws he is breaking. (Yes, I am aware of how some Jews are atheists and still call themselves Jews and so the law doesn’t apply to them. I always call bullshit.) I may only have a Jewish mom, but the Jewish law’s sure as heck apply to me IF I acknowledge my Jewish identity. And I do.

      Donna, I am sick to my stomach that this is happening to you. Please get an STD panel. Please get checked for the HPV virus every 6 months. Condoms don’t prevent it. Make sure a copy of your STD tests are mailed to an attorney that you hire. In some states women have been able to sue for getting the HPV virus. If this woman is really dropping her drawers for everyone, please please please get full STD panels. Get them for as long as you are sexually active with your husband- if you are sexually active.

      Everyone who is reading this article … can you give Donna some advice on what got through these early, awful days?

      Donna, please keep close to your doctors. You might want to take medical leave from your job. FMLA generally protects you. You have to look into it. I would recommend using the FMLA laws to take unpaid leave so that you can get the care you need.

      Big hugs. I am sending prayers to you, Donna.

      Sarah

  2. You can email me,Sarah. No we are not Jewish. My husband is Asian. After busting up her office, Chairman and Vice Chapman called him in and he told them story. It’s only a matter of time before HR gets involved. Meanwhile, he was told to take some time off and she is back at work like nothing happened. She has had five affairs. I know of. I called her. And husband answered and I told him. Everything. Guess what, they are staying. Married. I don’t know what is going to. Happen. Don’t think I haven’t thought this harlot. Will say sexual harassment, but one of the other surgeons wife found out, so there is a pattern. His partner also fooled around with her so there is that. I cant sleep and am. Worried sick that he will lose everything and half of zero is still zero. I’m a mess

    • Hi Donna,
      This really is a mess. I wonder why this woman’s husband will stay married to her. It’s a very odd relationship. Infidelity is very frowned upon in Judaism.

      I will catch up with you via email.
      Hugs,
      Sarah

  3. I was very moved by this post. I can remember asking for a roadmap of what to do. I followed the advice of my counselor but I lost my marriage. The lighthouse analogy is often used for spouses who stand waiting for their cheating mid life crisis spouse to return. Most of them don’t recover and don’t return. The lighthouse is alone forever, still watching and waiting. You are blessed that you hear God.

    • Hi Imperfect,

      I am very sorry that you lost your marriage. I was unaware that the lighthouse analogy is often used for spouses who stand waiting for their spouses. I would never ask someone to stand and wait for a spouse. Relationships are reciprocal. I hope that you are not still waiting for a husband to return. There is life after betrayal and a large world out there. I believe in being a lighthouse a hurting world, but I don’t believe in waiting for someone while they are trying to figure themselves out. We must draw boundaries with those who harm us. I sure hope that you have been able to meet someone who cherishes you. Hugs, Sarah

      • Thank you. I am not capable of accepting love yet or of being cherished. It’s a long journey to overcome. I will always love my husband but I am making a life without him. I gave him all the money I could get and I took on all our debts so that I could keep my home. He is running away from himself and living a mid life crisis life. I am doubtful of ever having another serious relationship. I feel too old, too scared and too cautious.

  4. Hi Donna,

    My heart goes out to you, going by your DDay, its been 5 months and I understand where you are at health wise, your mind has been heavily assaulted and it has sent your body into mayor trauma.
    At this stage I don’t know how your coping mechanisms are going i.e how much you are still shutting down. I am sure Sarah right now has been of great help to you.
    By the way I don’t know Sarah, never met her and she has never met me. This is the first time I have ever written into this, your story moved me sooo much that I feel compelled to say something. I am sensing you are in the early stages of your betrayal, at this stage of the game, wrapping you up in cotton wool is not what you need, that may sound hard but please hear me. I pray you find the strength and get a bull dog mentality towards your husband. This is not the time to join the dots and get all the truth from him, you know enough that he has committed adultery. You need to kick him out and start divorce proceedings, you need to use shock treatment on him, I am saying all of this because there are two types of repentance or remorse if you want to call it that. The first repentance that he is offering you is because he has been caught out and that repentance where he is saying he is sorry is all about HIMSELF, the real repentance you want is about where he comes to a place of repentance of what HE did to YOU, this is true repentance when he shifts from himself to YOU, when he feels and sees what HE did to YOU, this true repentance makes him feel the pain, and face the consequences of all the mess he caused. You did not cause this, not one stitch of it, he did. This betrayal reveals more about husband, his lack of understanding what it means to be faithful and his lack of character. I know you are in so much pain, believe you me I know, and it is sooo horrendously unfair because HE caused it. Trust me if you use the shock treatment on him, that is supposing you want your marriage, then you will have a way higher chance of your marriage restoring to a better, more healthy and strong foundation. The shock treatment means, you have to have a bulldog mentality, you have to follow it through, no ifs and buts, just do it. If you stay the way you are, you are going to prolong your healing and husband doesn’t get to face or feel the consequences of what he did. You might be thinking the risk is too high, I might lose him all together, your health and well being and life is the better risk to take, don’t you think. You may find doing it bulldog way may empower you to discover just how strong you really are.

  5. I had about 4 Niagra Falls moments and am constantly waiting for the next. It’s so difficult. The first was last June when I found a picture of the much younger (24 years) woman in his wallet and he told me it was just an emotional affair. I wanted to believe him so much that I turned a blind eye and tried to work it out. After several months of not too much progress and couples counselling he told me he needed a break, a separation.

    I agreed and then a few months later the code to his phone was revealed to me by my son and I looked. It was then my next Niagra Falls moment came when I realised it was in fact a full blown affair and it had never ended and was going strong. My whole world fell apart again and saving the marriage seemed impossible. My husband left me a few days later to go out of the country for work for a few months. The day he left he left his email open and I found all the emails they sent back and forth to each other. Complete with “I love you’s”, “I’ve never felt this way about anybody before”, “I need you, you are my future, the only one”. All written by him. That’s it in my mind it was over. After all he was planning a life with another woman despite he just spent the last couple days telling me how sorry he was and that he was having second thoughts about leaving. That was Niagra Falls moment number 3.

    Moment 4 came when he was starting to convince me about 2 months later that he was serious that it had ended with her and I was the one he was meant to be with and he had been such a fool and had a “light bulb” moment as he put it. Well this was all a lie because I found out the same day he wrote all this to me she was meeting him to spend a week in the Caribbean with him, in a place where people knew he was married. It was devestating once again. He once again professed his love for me and that it was “really” over this time and he was coming home to prove to me that he is serious. The last Niagra Falls moment was just a month ago when I found out that as soon as he came home and for at least a month after that he was still communicating with her via text, email and FaceTime but swears it’s done now and doesn’t understand why I can’t believe him and put it in the past. He constantly asks me when I’m going to stop asking him questions like, “are you sure it’s over” and “how do I know you wouldn’t do this again”. I tell him I don’t believe he is in love with me because how can someone treat someone they love like that. He is now going away again for work and I told him to figure himself out so he can understand why he has done this to us, in the meantime I will move on with my life and get healthier. I’m so heartbroken, mostly because he was willing to throw me and our kids aside and allowed himself to fall in love with another woman. I just don’t know if I can ever get over that fact. It just seems impossible.

    • Kristie he is just trying to avoid the financial fallout of divorce and hide his assets. Get a lawyer and file you don’t have a marriage. He continues to lie, gaslight, and manipulate you. Meanwhile as you stick around waiting for the next moment, he is squirreling away assets and you will be left with nothing. File and go girl no sense chasing that dog, he wants to roam wild.

      • Hi Deanna,
        I am aware that this could be happening. I certainly hope not. I have made him put my name on everything so to try to avoid all this. I know I’m probably being a fool but I still have a little hope we can make it through as he has actually shown remorse, the kind of remorse where he takes responsibility for all the hurt he has caused everybody. I don’t know. I’m one of those people that has to be absolutely sure before I make the final decision. Especially since we are from two different countries and a divorce would mean moving his kids away. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t stay in an unhappy marraige for the kids, I just don’t want to rush into a decision that can’t be reversed is all. Like I said I might be being a fool but when I walk away I will know I’ve done all I could.

        • Kristie,

          I feel your pain. Reading about situations like yours and others on this website, reinsures the fact each One of us is dealing with selfish, careless and insane behaving spouses.

          There inability to rationalize and make sound decisions is the norm. I hate to hear that you have been experiencing several D-Day’s along the way. I hope you can get the help and support you need to come out on the other side of this situation a much stronger and wiser individual. We are all good people who are experiencing similar situations. God’s Speed to you and your family.

    • Kristie,

      I am in the same exact position as you are. My H of over 18 years has moved out of our home and is living with his affair partner. She posts videos on youtube where she’s talking about my H and how he’s so sweet that she thinks she’ll keep him. He tells me he loves her and plans a long term relationship with her.

      My life has made a complete u-turn in 3 months time when I was initially blindsided with this. I’m grieving my marriage, or what I thought it was. I’m grieving my family life, my kids’ security, and my expectations for a future that are now completely changed and unpredictable.

      I’ve replaced my affair emotional rollercoaster with an end of marriage emotional rollercoaster. And the kicker? None of this was of my choosing. Honestly, I still love my husband. However, this detestable piece of crap he’s turned into is another story. Especially knowing how he was reassuring me, telling me how much he was in love with me during this whole thing, which he now says is untrue. It was straight out emotional abuse and torture. The height of cruelty. He made me lose my mind, identity,
      and sense of self. That is no one worthy of my love or capable of really loving someone.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this as well. It’s hell on Earth.

      • I hear you there is no pain like it. I’m so sorry you are going through this as well. My husband has also moved out but only because I packed all his crap up and moved it to our apartment. I refused to let him come home and told him I needed space. He agreed to give it to me. He has once again told me it’s iver between him and the little girl (compared to him) but that will remain to be seen. He is seeing a therapist to figure out where he went wrong so that is positive but make no mistake I am inthis with my eyes wide open. As of now we are not together just haven’t pulled the plug quite yet.

        So sorry the woman he is with is doing that to you, it’s incredibly insensitive and immature and it’s horribje he let’s her do it. I know it’s hatf but it’s tone for you to focus on you and don’t waste your energy on that woman. She has taken enough from you. Block her now so you can’t yirture yourself anymore, write her a letter and then burn it d let go, make her inconsequential in your life so you can concentrate on getting you better. Believe me, when you thrive that will be the best revenge! Hugs to you xx

        Ps. I probably should take my own advice 😜

  6. Hello Sarah,

    I believe everything happens for a reason. I have suffered with Alcoholism and addition issues throughout my teenage and adult years.
    After being sober for nearly 5 yrs at the time, my D-Day was 4/27/17. My life has been full of fear, chaos and uncertainty. I am experiencing powerlessness at a entirely new level.

    During our 20th year of marriage, my wife began a 9 month interracial physical affair. This man was the first person I trusted outside of my Sponsor in 15 yrs.
    This man was a professional athlete and my son’s baseball coach. He and My wife denied it the first 3 mos. What I learned later was that they both were using gas lighting techniques in which I was questioning my own sanity. You can imagine what these 2 yrs have been like once I began to get the “Trickled Truth”
    We have been to 3 different marriage councilors and we still haven’t been able to get very far down the recovery path.

    My wife still blames me for the affair and tries to sweep it under the rug. We are currently working with counselor #3 in which she has began to talk about the affair in very small intervals. She has not taken the action necessary to allow us to work through these affair issues and get to the core problem.

    On top of that my youngest son is playing on that same baseball Team the affair partner’s son is playing on. My world is upside down once again. This man not only messed with my mind 2 yrs ago he also tried to intimidate me with his physical presence. The worst thing a person can do is come back into contact with the AP.

    This brings me to my Niagra Falls moment. I have used meditation at times in my recovery. I also suffer from PTSD Symptoms which has slowed down my affair healing and caused me to obsess on the details of the affair and regress in my healing process.
    Monday I read your story about the Niagra Moment and how you helped the attorney. I was very intrigued by your story.

    Last night before our baseball game – words were exchange between myself and the AP for the first time in 19 mos. It was a very intense situation. During this exchange he tried to intimidate me with a physical threat. I have been on edge, arguing with my wife as I have relived my night mare all over again. The AP called me twice today and I didn’t answer. He is an evil person.

    After reading your article tonight, watching the video and learning that your are days away From launching your new workbook- I am hopeful that this might be the break I have been looking for.
    I have no real explanation for why I ended up going to the link that contained your 3 part series. But I do know it wasn’t by mistake.

    I have heard of the cognitive therapy and it was suggested to me. I don’t have clear cut access at the present time to a counselor who specializes in PTSD issues.

    I would like to know if you offering mentoring or acting as a life coach. If so, please let me know. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to release your new work book

    Thank you for the work that you do and providing pertinent information regarding life after infidelity.

    Matt

    • I’m so sorry you have had to go through this Matt. It does not sound like an easy situation at all. I pray you find peace and clarity in your journey so you can breathe easy and live life as a happy adventure. Hugs to you. 😊

    • Hello Matt,
      I have been very busy over the weekend and I am just now getting to comments.

      First off, my heart breaks for you. Yes, I do offer one-on-one mentoring. I do know how to treat PTSD. I am fully aware of how prior addiction issues will affect the big picture and the fact that this man was the first person that you trusted outside of your sponsor sends CHILLS UP MY SPINE.

      I know the complex experience hat you are going through and can only imagine the suffering you must feel right now.

      You can email me at:
      sarah.emotionalaffair.org@gmail.com

      Anyone else is always welcome to email me too.

      But, Matt, I do have some ideas for you and I do know very well the complexity of your situation and how what your wife has done could be a potential trigger for a relapse. Life doesn’t have to be living hell though. I do have some ideas on how to get through it.

      Please know that this is NO WAY reflects on who you are as a person. It reflects on the way those we love most can betray us, but it does NOT reflect on you. These stories really break my heart because I just don’t even understand HOW people can do this. Fortunately, I understand how to get through it and I have dedicated myself to giving others what I needed when I went through this alone.

      My heart goes out to you,
      Sarah

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