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Infidelity Recovery 101

What is Infidelity Recovery?

“Infidelity recovery” describes the process that brings an end to the suffering, pain and hurt brought on by an extramarital indiscretion or deception. Notice the word process. This word is key because the experience of recovery is never a one-time event, but rather, a series of small insights that eventually shifts you from pain to peace and from suffering to freedom.

It’s also important to note… that infidelity recovery applies to anyone caught up in the drama of deception. This includes the betrayed partner, the wayward partner AND the affair partner. This is because when it comes to infidelity, there are no winners, only survivors.

The Right Way vs. The Wrong Way

I believe that surviving infidelity is like surviving a fire: the more you know about the nature of fires, the better your chances of surviving. And the opposite is also true: the less you know about surviving a fire, the more dangerous things become for you.

Why?

Because in the event of a fire, there’s a wrong way and a right way to survive it, and knowing the difference between the two could be a matter of life or death.

Here’s what I mean by that:

When it comes to domestic fires, it’s important to know that the heat and smoke are more dangerous than the actual flames. In fact, firefighters tell us that most fire tragedies don’t come from burns. But because people’s instinctive reaction is to scream, they end up inhaling super-hot air that sears their lungs, or they breathe in poisonous gases that make them disoriented, confused and unable to find an exit fast enough. What this tells us is that in the event your house should catch fire, to panic and to react based on instinct would be the exact wrong thing to do. Some similar rules apply when it comes to surviving infidelity.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. This is why the most dangerous part of infidelity isn’t the actual affair itself (although it’s what starts the fire). Rather, it’s one’s instinctive reactions that usually end up causing the most damage, pain, and long-term suffering. When dealing with the aftermath of infidelity, there are two roads to recovery you can take:

  1. You can take the passive road.
  2. You can go with the active recovery approach.

And of the two ways, the first (the passive road) is by far the most popular. Why? Because it’s the one people have been “instinctively” trained to seek out.

Passive Suffering vs. Active Learning

If you take the passive long-suffering road to recovery, you’ll waste hundreds of your precious life hours suppressing pain, repressing anger, and suffering in silence — all the while trying to condition yourself to learn to live with the negative emotions.

Your recovery time, depending on your tolerance for pain, could feel like it drags on forever … even if it lasts for only a few months, because tolerating pain isn’t the same as healing pain. 

And when you’re in pain, time has a way of passing very slowly. The good news? The passive approach is one way to deal with the aftermath of infidelity, but it’s not the only way. It’s my privilege to suggest another way to approach recovery.

Rather than taking the passive approach, I suggest you go for the active learning road to recovery, where instead of spending your time passively suffering, you spend your time actively processing. Instead of conditioning yourself to tolerate the hurt, you spend your time learning how to heal the hurt. And instead of holding on to the past, you learn to set it free. Do this, and the time it takes for you to recover will feel like it went by so quickly — no matter how long it actually was.

My Approach to Infidelity Recovery

While I agree that pain after infidelity is normal, I don’t agree that prolonging that pain is necessary. For this reason, I’m an advocate of the active learning approach to recovery because the learning approach dramatically shortens the timeline from hurting to healing, and because it places a higher emphasis on letting go, rather than living with pain (which is a far better option, in my opinion).

The Key Decision

Now that you know the difference between taking a passive approach to infidelity recovery and taking an active learning approach, you have a key decision to make. Because it’s not a matter of “will you recover?” (In that, you can be sure.) The question is, “how will you recover?” By passively suffering or actively learning? The key to making that decision comes down to one simple question. That question is this:

Do I want to keep the pain, or do I want the pain to go away?

Because you can’t have both.

If you choose one, you automatically discard the other. The choice to take that passive long-suffering road to recovery IS the choice to keep the pain alive as long as possible. And the choice to spend your time actively learning IS the choice to heal the pain as quickly as possible. Which way you go is up to you.

Note: If you’re a fan of the passive long-suffering approach, then my infidelity recovery advice, workshops and coaching programs won’t be a match for you. This is because everything I teach is based on the active learning approach. And if that approach sounds right for you, then you’ve come to the right place.

6 Frequently Asked Questions About Surviving Infidelity

Question

What are the stages of infidelity recovery?

I’ve identified at least six stages most people can expect to deal with in the aftermath of infidelity:

  • Stage 1: MOD (moment of discovery)
  • Stage 2: D&G (denial and grief)
  • Stage 3: Trial and Error (trying to move on and failing)
  • Stage 4: Breakthrough/Breakdown Threshold
  • Stage 5: Surrender and Acceptance
  • Stage 6: Learning Success
Question

What causes infidelity?

While I can’t say for sure exactly what causes infidelity, I can tell you that just about all acts of infidelity follow a pattern. Here’s basically how I break it down:

* top row indicates behaviors/feelings that lead to the affair

Question

What’s the difference between being a victim and being a survivor?

The key difference is the “view” or the way you see yourself in relationship to what has happened. For example, if infidelity were a hit-and-run accident, the victim would be the person who sees himself/herself as the target of the accident, and the survivor would be the one who sees himself/herself as the witness of the accident.

Question

What does a person really need to do in order to truly overcome infidelity?

The key to infidelity recovery is true forgiveness. This is because forgiveness is the only technology (that I know of) that releases you from emotional pain. And what is healing but the release from pain?

Question

There seems to be a lot of terminology and abbreviations when it comes to infidelity. Can you go over some of them?

Here are some frequently used terms in infidelity recovery and on this website:

  • AP — affair partner; the third person in an extramarital affair (sometimes, also the wayward partner)
  • ARRP — a relationship recovery and rebuilding plan
  • B/B — breakthrough or breakdown threshold
  • BP — betrayed partner; the primary partner who’s being deceived in a marriage or relationship
  • BU — breakthrough you
  • CC — course correction
  • D&G — denial and grief; the stages immediately following the discovery of an extramarital affair
  • DD — deep denial
  • DNC — do not contact; the directive not to have any communication with affair partners
  • EA — emotional affair; persistent thoughts and fantasies about someone outside of your marriage that becomes disruptive in real life
  • ED — emotional dishonesty
  • FUBAR — fouled up beyond all recognition/all repair
  • IRC — infidelity recovery coaching
  • LTA — long-term affair; an affair that lasts more than 18 months
  • MOD — moment of discovery
  • OM — other man; a man who’s having an affair with a married or otherwise committed woman
  • ONS — one night stand; a one-time or spontaneous indiscretion
  • OW — other woman; a woman who’s having an affair with a married or otherwise committed man
  • PLO — personal learning opportunity
  • T&D — time and distance; the remedy for healing broken hearts after infidelity
  • TCU — turning the corner of uncertainty
  • TP — turning point
  • WP — wayward partner; the partner who has been, or is being, sexually or emotionally deceptive within a committed relationship

Terms & Phrases

  • Affair down — having an affair with someone who is seen as “less” attractive than the primary partner
  • Block & walk — refers to affair partners and means “block all communications and walk away from any opportunity to contact the other person”
  • Emotional fog — a temporary state of infatuation that blinds a person
  • Emotional roller coaster — the emotional ups and downs people experience when dealing with the aftermath of infidelity
  • Gas-lighting — a term from the movie “Gaslight” when one partner tries to make the other partner feel like they are “going crazy” usually because they suspect something is going on
  • Marriage encounter — a couples’ program/course designed to help improve marriages
  • Misdirection — arguments designed to redirect or deflect attention away from the real issues or truth
  • Offending partner — another term for a wayward partner
  • Passionate monogamy — a lifestyle built on the principles of love, trust and sexual happiness
  • Passion therapy — a collection of rituals and techniques taken from Tantra American Style to help couples “passion up” their relationship
  • Professional hook-up — a person who cheats with prostitutes
  • Repeat offender — someone who has cheated more than once
  • Serial cheater — a person who cheats compulsively (also a pathological liar)
  • The con — the planned-out lies and excuses used to “cover” one’s tracks so that indiscretions are not detected
Question

What’s the difference between a marriage coach (like myself) and a marriage counselor?

The two can be complementary, and yet, they’re totally different. For example, a marriage counselor is trained in traditional schools of psychotherapy. This approach is more talk-oriented and works well in many areas. I, on the other hand, take a more non-traditional approach. I’m trained in the area of NLP (neurolinguistic programming) and in facilitating a true forgiveness experience. Therefore, my approach is more action, result and experience-driven. And when it comes to infidelity recovery, I’ve observed these are the things that make all the difference in the world.

Here are five other ways my technique differs from the traditional approaches:

  1. My goal as a coach is to awaken possibilities within you. Therefore, I place emphasis on two key things: self-awareness and self-correction.
  2. I believe that current problems have current solutions. I don’t believe you find the light by analyzing the dark — by turning on the light, darkness disappears.
  3. I believe that in life, there are no answers, only choices. Therefore, my focus is not so much on finding answers, but on making better choices.
  4. I don’t offer talk therapy. I’m here to teach and inspire active learning.
  5. I’m not an authority, so I don’t tell you what to do. My job is to bring you a different perspective so that you can make your own decision about what’s best for you.

My coaching process is designed to help you

  • Shift from feeling like a victim to being a survivor
  • Switch the focus from guilt and punishment to atonement and correction
  • Replace contempt and anger with clarity and insight
  • Realize the deeper lessons and meanings behind what happened so that it never happens again
  • Embrace true forgiveness and allow the past to be over
  • Dismantle denial, deception and dishonesty
  • Process — not suppress — negative emotions and stressful feelings
  • Re-frame past painful events so that they no longer drain you
  • Design a new and more powerful vision for your marriage or relationship
  • Learn how to “infidelity-proof” your marriage and enjoy passionate monogamy
  • Self-correct your thinking habits that lead to mistakes, self-sabotage and wrong actions
  • Discover what will make it safe for you to love and be loved

Now, for the things a life coach and marriage coach like me CANNOT do for you:

  • Save your marriage (only you can do that)
  • Change your partner (only they can do that)
  • Give medical care or advice (only a doctor can do that)

A few final words…

You know how sometimes you’ve felt uneasy about something, but you went ahead and did it anyway… only to find out later that your first instinct was right because it turned out to be a bad decision? And how, in other times, you’ve made a spur-of-the-moment decision that you just knew in your gut was right, only to have it confirmed later that you were indeed right?

What’s the difference between those two kinds of decisions?

That’s a good question. Here’s how Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the book Blink, explains it (and I’m paraphrasing): “It’s almost as if people have a sixth sense about what is genuine, authentic and/or the real deal. If you ask them how they know, they just don’t know except to say… they just know.” I imagine it’s the same with you. In your gut, you know when something feels right for you. And you know when it doesn’t.

So far, I’ve given you all the details you need in order to feel comfortable enough to decide if working with me feels right for you. And if at this point it feels like my approach might be a match for you, here are 3 options for getting started.

  1. Book a private one-to-one marriage phone coaching session with me.
  2. Download one of my self-help infidelity recovery audio coaching sessions. (most popular)
  3. Take one of my upcoming online marriage workshops.

Now the ball is in your court. Keep in mind my approach is only one of many good options for you. And I sincerely believe that regardless of whichever way you go, you’re going to be just fine.

Until we speak again…

Remember… Love Wins!

Suzie Johnson

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