Today we wanted to show you a nice video from Dr. Huizenga, the Infidelity Coach, and author of “Break Free From the Affair” about the 8 Stages of Recovery. In the video he goes through the 8 different emotions that one feels after being victimized by infidelity. One of the main points of the video is for the betrayed spouse to focus more on yourself so that you can move yourself through the 8 states of recovery faster.

We have referred to “Break Free From the Affair” many times through out our ordeal, and it has been an extremely valuable resource for us. In fact, our copy of the book is all dog-eared and almost worn out, and is sitting underneath my comfy chair in our family room!

After viewing the video, please comment on what stage you or your spouse are currently in and how you are focusing on you.

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    6 replies to "Infidelity: 8 Stages of Recovery"

    • Jude

      It is comforting to know you are here to help. I have moved through several of your stages since finding a 3 page love letter from my husband of 43 yrs to a woman he had an affair with25 years ago. I was frozen, physically ill, in shock this time. When affair first happened in th e 80’s, I developed colitis, after 1 yr of grieving I went to college, got my degree, worked for past 20 yrs, had my own company, retired, then found the love letter. It was like it all started all over again. but now I am old, in poor health, lost & alone. I look forward to your advice on moving through the painful stages and find joy in my life again.

    • Holding On

      I found this post as a related post on the end of the 4 Stages of Healing. I have definitely been on a roller coaster of emotions in the past 2.5 months. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where I am as I feel like I am up and down so much. But I hope this new found hope and patience and understanding and acceptance means I am near the turning point. And near the end of the hard, raw pain and anger and overwhelming times. Looking at others, I am not sure if I am really that far in the stages, but a few weeks ago, I could not even imagine or figure out HOW to start to forgive, which I (as well as my husband) desperately want. I physically and mentally didn’t KNOW HOW to wrap my mind around forgiving him for his actions. It seemed like it was impossible for me to do it then. It was a frustrating feeling.

      The past few days, it feels like a big weight has been removed. I am so ready to put the past in the past and begin on the future. Maybe a lot of it has been soul searching and lots of prayers? I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. I finally asked some family members if they would start praying for me, but did not share more information than I have been going through a hard time. I’m sure that has a lot to do with the peace I am feeling now. I can feel forgiveness. I can feel an understanding and compassion for my husband. It doesn’t seem hard or impossible, and it seems difficult to think back and try to remember how I felt when I couldn’t even wrap my mind around forgiveness.

      I want to tell my husband I now forgive him, because sharing that feeling in my heart would make us both so happy. But I am still a bit afraid, knowing how my emotions turn so quickly. I don’t want to end up angry and raging at him next week and feel horrible for the turn around. So I’ll give this feeling some time and hope that it continues and then move on from there.

      Thank you so much Doug and Linda for your site. Your encouraging words. Having a place to go and connect with others trying to recover in all our various stages. It has been so helpful to know I am not alone. I’ve been able to share my story and struggles, as this information has only been between my husband, a couple church leaders, and a marriage counselor. So thank you for the work you put into this site. I hope the blessings of heaven pour down on you both for your work and your marriage has an extra blessing.

      Much Love!

      • Doug

        Holding On, It’s so good to hear that you have arrived at a better place. Forgiveness is such an important step and I’m happy for you that you feel that you are almost there.

      • Healing Mark

        Hopefully, you have had a chance to review one of the attachments to one of the more recent posts which is titled “Exercises for Forgiveness”. It’s really good in my opinion. I wouldn’t worry so much about possibly becoming angry after telling your husband that you have forgiven him. One of the entries for what forgiveness is was very telling for me and it is as follows: “Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. We do not erase the past. Those experiences have a lot to teach us. What we erase is the negativity, the judgments.”.

        When I told my wife that I had reached the point where I could forgive her for her EA, I also added that this did not mean that there would not be times where something might make me remember the EA and be hurt or angry (there have been but as time goes by there are less and less and my feelings about the EA when I run into a “trigger” are getting pretty close to a “So what? We’ve put that behind us and are moving on.”). Instead, I assured her that I was not going to be holding the fact that she had an EA over her head any more, that the occurrence of the EA itself would have no bearing on our relationship going forward, and that the success or failure of our marriage would be governed only by what takes place after today. I can’t tell you enough how much better things were between my wife and I once she no longer felt like the EA was being held over her head. So even when something would come up that reminded us that, yes, my wife at one time was having an EA, however I reacted to it was a lot easier for my wife to handle given that she knew that I had forgiven her, and we both understand that as time goes by and we are happier together the fact that the EA occurred becomes impactful on my feeling toward her.

        I’m also glad that you seem to have arrived at a better place. Take care.

        Healing Mark

        • Holding On

          Thanks, Healing Mark. I find great strength from reading of your experience in moving forward.

          I ended up telling my husband that I felt I was in a much more positive place – understanding, compassion, a feeling of being able to forgive and move forward. He is tentative still and not ready to accept that I am through all the anger that I have recently thrown at him. I have been very angry about everything which all stems back to the affair – anything that shows he has disregarded my feelings or not been sensitive enough about my trigger things. I was horribly angry. I know it will take some time to show him I’m not blaming or holding things over his head anymore.

          Thank you for the suggestion for “Exercises on Forgiveness.” It seems very helpful. I printed it out. There is a lot of good information on this site.

          I know I still have a road ahead, but I love the better place. It is freeing to have calmer, less anxious days. I found I am thinking about what has been done less and less and with much less tears, hurt, anger, and questions. That is a great feeling.

          I have found I am extra needy lately. I am really needing his attention and affection and communications. I’m hoping this is a phase as well, and trying to handle it better without complaining about what he isn’t giving me, which I did do for a bit. Instead I need to focus on what he is doing good, which is a lot of positives.

          Thanks again for your encouragement and words!

          • Healing Mark

            That’s fantastic and you are more than welcome. It is difficult to get past your partner having an affair assuming that you love them and want to be happily married to them. But as you can see, it’s not impossible and as hard as it is to be this, you have to, in my opinion, try as hard as you can to be patient with the process as there is a process given that you and your partner are each human beings and the feelings that we will typically have following the discovery of an affair are going to be there no matter what.

            My wife finds it hard sometimes to put herself in my shoes regarding feelings about her EA and trigger events. I think she so much wants the “bad” to go away and I know that she desperately wishes that, having ended it and then worked to make our marriage probably better than it had been in quite a while, I would have never discovered that it occurred. I do have to agree with what our counsellor said which is that if the CS can determine why they needed at the time to connect so closely to a person other than there spouse, and then work to have their spouse satisfy these apparently unmet needs, this can actually be a positive going forward which has resulted from an EA. So my advice to you Holding On is to accept that your husband is probably not going to ever be as sensitive to your feelings regarding the EA and triggers resulting from the same as you would like, and might even appear at times to be disregarding your feelings in this regard, and not feel bad or angry as a result. It just is what it is.

            Finally, don’t beat yourself up for being needy and do focus on the positive. It’s weird, but in my experience, when I was the most needy, it turned my wife off and made her less likely to provide the degree of love and affection it appeared I needed. So I work really hard when she says or does something affectionate (she actually does this a lot especially after my “act”) to let her know how much I appreciate what she has said or done, but I also let her know that I am not needing anything more than what she is already giving me, and that I am really very happy with where we are and totally over the EA. She has expressed on numerous occasions what a relief this is for her and how good it makes her feel and how much it makes her want to say and do affections things more often.

            So, enjoy feeling less anxious and negative, focus on the positive and be willing to trust your husband once again. I suspect that he wants you to feel that way and to be trusted by you and, if he does and is a good guy, he will perhaps consciously or subconsciously begin acting in ways that help you get past the affair, and consciously act in ways that do not breach the trust that he should be very happy you are giving back to him. For my wife and I, we found that it was going to be virtually impossible for us to remain happily married together if I remained distrustful of her as a result of lies about the EA. Again, she is happy and appreciate of the fact that I am willing to trust her again just like I did before the discovery of the EA, and she certainly understands that it is important that she not do things that make me once again feel as though I cannot trust her.

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