Ending The Pain In Unhealthy Ways

depressed ending pain Pixabay girl-517555_640Owing to the fact that dealing with infidelity is such a painful experience, we look for ways to escape. Much like the lancing of a boil, the touch required to drain it causes some pain. The normal response is to pull away. It is easy to fall into thinking that if we’ll just leave it alone, it will heal on its own. We’ll resort to ending the pain even in unhealthy ways.

It feels as though what we’re doing is making it worse. We’d like to address two of the most common unhealthy attempts to end the pain.

First is the infidel’s desire to spare the spouse more pain.

A common example of this occurs when the infidel accidentally sees a former partner. Or it may be that they are actually contacted by a former partner. The infidel withholds this information from the spouse. They know it will hurt the spouse and precipitate another long episode of grief.

Unfortunately, we have seen what happens when the information comes out later—and rest assured it will. The spouse feels he or she has once again been deceived. He or she has great difficulty believing the infidel didn’t initiate the contact or respond inappropriately to the contact. The healing process in the marriage is set back significantly.

It is so much easier to deal with truth. And when truth is handled correctly, the infidel has some control over how the spouse is exposed to it.

Acknowledging a contact will indeed bring questions. Don’t sidestep them. Be bold. Many episodes of adultery happen within the workplace, so unless the infidel or the partner has changed jobs, contacts will inevitably occur. It is best if your spouse hears this information from you. And if your spouse asks how the contact made you feel, be honest.

Dealing With Emotions

Most spouses are not opting to stay with infidels who are devoid of emotions. Therefore, an answer that denies emotions feels like a lie—again. A simple “I felt sad,” “I was very uncomfortable,” or “I felt guilty for just being there” followed by an affirmation that this marriage is where the infidel will be putting energy and effort reaffirms the commitment to the spouse.

The point is that one of the biggest hurts experienced by the spouse is the deception. Anything that even remotely resembles deception causes more pain. And we have heard countless times from many, many spouses that they can perceive when truth is being withheld. They may not be able to articulate what truth, and they may not be able to discern what is or is not going on, but they know something is up.

The second common dynamic we have seen is the attempt to short-circuit the healing process.

We’ll do anything to escape the pain. For example, let’s say it’s evening. Things feel almost normal at home for a change, and then the spouse brings “it” up again. More questions. You want to avoid what you know will occur if this conversation takes place, so you sabotage it using anger, avoidance, or anything that will create a diversion. The message to the one who wants to talk is to “get over it and move on with life.”

This is common to the infidel, but we have also seen it with the spouse. Some spouses are more than willing to avoid any conflict. It seems they are more afraid of the truth than of the illusion of healing. Again, you may feel better momentarily, but your relief will be short lived, and healing will not be accomplished.

Avoiding the pain circumvents healing.

Enduring the pain facilitates healing. If what you want is a healthy marriage, you must endure the pain. The good news is that God has promised to see us through the pain and to bring us out on the other side.

This article comes from the terrific book, Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity, written by Gary and Mona Shriver. It is published by David C Cook. This is an absolutely terrific book! It’s written by a couple who have been through this horrible experience themselves. “More than ten years ago, Gary Shriver shocked his wife Mona, with a confession of his three-year affair. There was also a one-night stand.” It devastated their marriage!

What we appreciate about this book is how totally honest they are in their writings and how transparent they allow themselves to become as they diary the gut-wrenching struggle— each giving their own perspective during the healing process. This book is a great roadmap to follow to recovery! We wish every couple that goes through this terrible experience could read this book because it’s packed with so much that could help them. The authors Gary and Mona can be reached at Hopeandhealing.us.

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12 responses to “Ending The Pain In Unhealthy Ways

  1. (AFRICA)  What advice can you give the offending spouse as it hurts both ways? What if the Infidel has tried to ask for forgiveness from the betrayed spouse and nothing seems to work out. How does she cope knowing infidelity is a two way thing. Everybody feels the pain. I want more resources or advice on how the offending spouse is supposed to move on too.

    In this case I am the offending spouse, I hit back on my hubby by having an affair of my own. I regret all the hurt and pain I have caused him, but he hates me too much to even talk to me. I need help to get past this tremendous hurt and just how to get through to him. As much as I offended him, I still love him and want to save my marriage

    1. (UK) I too am in your situation. I was unfaithful to my partner. Read below you will see more about my situation. But I’m in great pain knowing what damage it has done our relationship. Prayer works but sometimes my partner’s rage and words are so hateful and bitter. I don’t know if we should get married, because we are currently not. Even when I tried to do things right in the eyes of the Lord and live apart from him until we married, to stop living in sin. He wouldn’t let me because he said he was too weak?! But then sometimes he is so loving and willing to work things out. How long have you been married Dee? How is your situation now? I really want to connect with people that are in similiar situations.

  2. (USA)  Hi, what advice would you give if the infidel will not come clean and denies it even after failing a lie detector test? I have concrete evidence between phone numbers reversed, recording of him talking to her; yes, co-workers; she dumped him and got married though not sure why. He is unrepentant and does not acknowledge my pain–he constantly blames me and withholds any form of intimacy and watches porn.

    After I forgave him and tried to heal, on my own, I found the porn to have him turn the blame on me, again. He even took the computer tower; he was so peeved that I caught him downloading that crap! I’m sick to my stomach, heartwrenching pain and just can’t seem to get past this mess. Any advice?

  3. (USA)  I have been having a ongoing affair for almost a year now. I am very much in love with this man. I am have been with my husband for 15 years and we both love each other, as well. I have spent more time with my affair in the pass year then I have with my husband.

    I have gotten busted by my husband and he wants it to end and wants me to tell all. I have been trying to end this affair but I am having a hard time telling him it’s over. I am scared of never seeing him again. I don’t want to hurt him and leave him alone. The power he has over me is crazy.

    On the other hand my husband is a good man that has forgave me. As long as I end it and tell him what has happen. I look at what I have done to these two men and I feel like a monster. I am even having thoughts of killing myself because I can’t deal with ending one or the other or both. I am so lost and in a dark place. If I lose one or the other and end up alone O have no one in my life. I will be all alone, no husband, no boyfriend, no daughter, no family, no friends. I have no one but these two men. One gives me safety, a sense of family life, a roof over my head, and loves me. The other gives me youth again, passion again, he loves me and a meaning to get out of my bed and go outside.

    I am at a cross road and asked God for help over and over. I don’t know how or what to do. I am a day away from putting myself in a nut hut.

    I know the right thing to do is to stay with my devoted husband. I think I will always think what if, and I know I will always love him. How can I end this without crushing him? Please can anyone help me?

    1. (USA)  Debra, Your story has blown me completely into a wall and my heart is broken for your husband. There is no way out of this without hurting someone. Obviously you know this is wrong. Unfortunately, the door to this dark room has already been opened and you have to find your way to the light again. What you are doing is VERY wrong. Your comment, “I am scared of never seeing him again. I don’t want to hurt him and leave him alone. The power he has over me is crazy” refering to the “boyfriend” as you called him, means you are way too into this. Also, “I know the right thing to do is to stay with my devoted husband. I think I will always think what if, and I know I will always love him. How can I end this without crushing him?”

      You have just stated the right thing to do not to mention your husband is willing to forgive you and start the healing process which I can assure you will be a long one. You have a family and husband and most of all a GOD who loves you and you are choosing to act selfishly. This comment is not to put you down or be too harsh but honey you have to wake up! I know you are hurting, the guilt must be devestating an completely overwhelming but by the strength of God you can do whatever it is you need to do today, tomorrow and the next day. One foot in front of the other. Gods love is never ending and it is unfailing and he is always faithful to forgive and love.

      When you allow yourself too be open to these things they will suck you under further and further, faster than you probably thought. All of us struggle with temptation but none greater than the other. If we aren’t careful to put on the armor that God has given us, Satan will get us every time. He is sly like that, but don’t allow him to keep his foothold on you. Repent, and turn away from this sin and never look back. Begin a new life with your husband and daughter. Don’t choose this path of destruction any longer. Satan wants you to give in and think you are in too deep to get out, he wants you to think the only way out is self-destruction but God promises differently. Please have faith that God can turn this around and work this out for the good and trust him completely with this becuase if you try to do it alone you will only continue to mess things up as you are human. He is stronger than any storm you may face and he is bigger.

      Be honest, for yourself and for your family. This will not end good if the affair continues or if you choose this so called, “boyfriend”. And if this man you are cheating with knows you are married, what in the world makes you think he has an ounce of integrity that it wont happen to you by him? I understand he has made a mistake as well, but he needs to let you go and do the right thing. It may be the hard thing but right isnt always easy. Both of you are going to have to pick up the pieces but being together will only dig a deeper hole. Cling to Jesus now and start the healing. If you dont cut the cord immediately it will be too late and your husband may not be willing to take you back.

      You are valuable, loved, treasured and you are beautiful and your actions wont change this. The things this other man gives you as you claim, “youth again, passion again” this is an excuse to stay because if you worked at it, you could feel this with your husband again by the grace of God. This other man can’t give you the years you have with your husband, the memories, the daughter… Stop feeding into temptation, stop thinking the grass is greener on the other side and start fertilizing the yard you already have. You and your husband are in my prayers, Debra. God Bless you! Please pray and choose the right way. Again, the answer to your question… there is no way out of this that someone isn’t going to get hurt but by staying in this unhealthy relationship you continue to hurt everyone.

    2. Debra, There is a community of others who are working to stay out of affairs, as well (some emotional and others emotional and physical). They have been posting on this web site under two particular articles. I recommend you read the articles and then go through the many comments that are posted under them because I think you could find help there. One is titled, “Total Separation: The Right Way to End an Affair,” which you can find in the “Surviving Infidelity” topic. You will find almost 600 comments under that article. It is a very active thread, which is helping them to fight the temptations you bring up in your comment.

      The other article is titled, “Getting Unhooked from an Emotional Affair” and is posted in the “Emotional Infidelity” topic and has over 700 comments posted under it. Both of these articles and the thread of comments afterwards (plus the support you may find in this community of those who are experiencing a lot of what you are experiencing) could be helpful for you in your situation. Post a comment, like you did under this article, after reading what they wrote, and then see if you have others who will help you. They don’t mince words. This is a type of addiction you are experiencing. But these women and men are kind and they understand because they are working on breaking free, as well.

      I hope this helps. This is not a new temptation. Many have and many are dealing with very similar issues. There is hope. God can help you to break free and get back on the right path. I pray you will work with God and other believers to break free from that which is wrong and find freedom in turning to God, by grabbing onto the strength and hope God makes available. May God bless you and your husband and all the efforts you put forth to reconcile.

  4. (UK) I cheated on my spouse nearly two years ago. The details of my affair were that I cheated twice over a period of a year with the same person. My spouse and I have since been working things out. He says he has forgiven me and has since been keen for us to get married in the next month or so.

    My trouble is that just last night he had a flashback out of no where and fell into deep pain. I tried my best to go over the details he has asked me a few times over, and answer any question about why I was unfaithful. I told him that I since have repented to God and would never do such a thing again. There was no excuse for my actions and I’m to blame for the pain that I caused. But he said that he has feelings of vengegance and that it would not be his fault if he cheated on me in light of what I did to him. He then wanted me to show him exactly how the sexual acts took place by demonstrating on him. I mean I’m all for being open even if it hurts me but am I wrong in thinking that this is a bit to extreme?!? What do I do?

    I’ve asked him to take some of his feeling to God in prayer and I have actually demonstrated the sexual act and details of my affair several times before. Do I have too keep doing this for the rest of my life? Its been two years. I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable to his feelings. I’m stuck and need advice, help please!! I’m in pain and have no one to talk to.

    1. (AUSTRALIA) No you absolutely don’t have to and shouldn’t demonstrate sexually what you have done with the other man, especially since your husband (or not, you say ‘spouse’, meaning you are married then you say you are going to get married -so not sure) already knows the details and you have ‘demonstrated’ previously. I would say carefully but surely that he knows what happened. You are sorry and it is now up to him to choose to get over this or not. I would say to him that it is unhelpful to him to want to drag himself through the pain again. He doesn’t need any more going over of the sexual detail. He is torturing himself and you should say you won’t take him there.

      You can develop your sexual relationship in new ways so that it is your own unique way of relating. I would try not to ‘do what you used to do’ with the other man, lest you remind your man of the ‘other man’. By all means do everything you can to be the best partner you can be and make it up to him in every other way too. Be gentle but firm with him. Indicate to him that it would be most unhelpful for him to deliberately make the same mistake.

      Also if you are not married, give him the option of not marrying you. Also are you completely sure that you want to marry him? It is kind of a rocky start you would be having. Marriage is hard work even when starting in a great place.

    2. (UK) Thank you Jennifer, I have told him that it there is no point in dragging the past up and that he is right when he says the world would not end if we broke up. He is so very double-minded. One minute we are great and he is telling me he will never leave and we will get married and be ok, and the next he asking me what and why I did what I did. These low points are few and far in between but he still brings up the affair in arguments.

      At the moment I have been praying and think that we need professional counselling with a married Christian couple soon, because once we make those vows, there is no going back.

      I have recently lost my mother to AIDS two months ago. This why I was so shocked at his outburst the other night. I will continue to pray that when we do get some counselling the Holy Spirit convicts him because as much as I love him and want to share my life with him, I am not willing to spend my life with someone who has what he calls ‘near enough hate’ for me because what I did.

      I have also tried new ways of doing this sexually and enhancing other areas of our life and supporting his own personal and career interests but it always comes back to me not doing enough. He is always saying that I’m never doing enough or not doing things the right way. He also went and bought a car disregarding that I told him not to because we are in financial debt and he went to Miami a few weeks ago after I said he shouldn’t.

      Even his family has said that he has no respect for me and that he is selfish. I mean he is young (28) and we got committed at a young age. He was 18 I was 16. So I understand why he is selfish. But even an uncle says that he wants to have his cake and eat it. Is there anyone out there that has experienced these same problems with their husband?

  5. (AFRICA) I thank God for this ministry. Thank you Steve and Cindy! It’s amazing how God speaks to us before, or even during or after the temptation has overcome us!

    I have a similar situation (with Debra’s). I had an affair with a man some 12 years ago. And the reason I convinced myself to get into that affair was I wanted to get even with my husband who had cheated on me several times within the first 4 years of our marriage. I was also under pressure after starting on a new job and I shared my concerns with this man until we became too close and an affair started. The affair went on for about 6 months and it ended. I have been married for 16 years now. Somehow after 12 years I got in touch with this man and an affair started.

    It has been 3 weeks now and I had quickly gone deeper into it which something I had vowed not to do after breaking the first affair. I thank Marriage Missions’ Messages 200 and 201, which have helped me to reflect on my actions before I was emotionally entangled with this man. The man has marital issues in his marriage with his wife and I wish I could reach out somehow to the wife to tell her to fight for her husband… I have seen or experienced that it is the attention that the man gives you and in turn, you neglect your marriage and live in this fantasy land where everything seem rosy. I thank the Holy Spirit, which has continuously propped me to consider my ways and see that this is plain ADULTERY and it has to stop.

    Like Debra, it is very difficult to break the relationship because you are considering this other man other than your husband. But for me, I am prioritizing my relationship with GOD. What I am doing is a sin and it has to stop. I need prayers also as I have to take the first step out of the messy situation. I have decided now and IT’S NO MORE TURNING BACK. I have set an appointment with my accountability and prayer partner to assist me in prayer and support. I believe it’s our duty as partners and believers to guard the sanctity of marriage.

    1. Natasha, You have made our day! We thank God that He impressed this marriage upon our hearts for you and for others who need its message. I pray strength for you to resist temptation and to help you to invest your energies in ways that are healthier, for all concerned. May you never turn back to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to cheat and do that which you should not, are acceptable. May you allow God to be your guide in how you live your life, from this day forward, as it comes to how to resist temptation and to make better choices in how you spend every minute of the time you are given on this earth.

      As Kirk Cameron said, “I want my life to be one big ‘thank you’ for all He has done and wants to do in my life.” That’s a great challenge for us all to embrace. I hope you will join us and will live your life with this same goal in mind. May God bless you in this mission.

  6. (USA) My husband and I have been married almost 2 years. He didn’t disclose to me, until AFTER we were married, that he had LowT (actually, NO-T) and couldn’t have sex. We have now been together 22 months and he has never touched me. We’ve never seen each other naked. We are living a celibate marriage. He says he loves me. But, I feel totally unloved and unwanted. LowT or not, he should “do” loving things with his wife. He barely even kisses me. He does love to “snuggle” in bed, but he could do that with the dog!

    I am unhappy and continue to get more and more depressed. I cannot see remaining in this marriage. It is the hardest thing I have ever done!

    We are both Christians and we really felt that God put us together. But, did God really intend for me to experience two years of pain and agony and loneliness? I think we were misguided and mistaken to marry and … we have never consummated the marriage anyway … so is it really a marriage?