Affair Recovery Blog

In Recovery Room podcast #502, counselor Jennifer Gingras and I discuss issues related to someone who has had repeated affairs. Let’s focus on just one questions: If a marriage has any hope for healing after repeated infidelities, what is the one thing that matters most? What is the best predictor of genuine, lasting recovery (assuming the betrayed partner decides to stay)?
First, let me list some circumstances that are not most important in relationship recovery from multiple affairs. Although these may all be part of the recovery process, they will not matter if the one thing is missing. 

  • The injured partner’s willingness to forgive.
  • The involved partner’s willingness to be honest.
  • The involved partner’s guilt or sorrow.
  • The involved partner’s promise to change.
  • Establishing clear, strong boundaries for the future.

What is the change that is more important than all of these? What is the one thing that matters most and is the best predictor of an end to the pattern of infidelity?

The essetial, necessary change is this: The involved partner’s sincere passion to take responsibility for personal and relationship healing and their desire to work on change that happens from the inside-out.

There must be an obvious, recognizable difference in the way the unfaithful partner confronts their affair behavior. There needs to be a real difference in the way they work on recovery now in contrast to their efforts after previouse affairs.

The inside-out change means they are driven by a personal passion to do what is necessary in pursuit of lasting change. Not because they’re being forced to do it. Not just because they fear the consequences if they don’t. Not because it’s what’s “expected.” It needs to be an almost desperate desire to figure out the pattern and to follow a different path in the future.

This shift is the greatest predictor of long-term healing.

For more information about this “inside-out” motivation, I’d suggest listening (or reading the transcript) to podcast #501: “Satisfying Choices, Lasting Change.”

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