By Eddie Capparucci, Ph.D., LPC, C-CSAS
Important point: before you read this article, let me clarify the circumstances I am writing about pertain to betrayers who have, over an extended period, demonstrated themselves to be sober from their addiction and have demonstrated an interest and commitment in becoming emotionally developed. These circumstances do not pertain to betrayers who have consistently failed to show a change of heart. Are we on the same page? Good, read on.
There comes a time in the betrayal recovery process when those emotionally scarred must decide the future of their relationship. It’s a tragedy that betrayed partners are put in this position since none of this chaos has been their doing. What they thought was reality turned into a never-ending nightmare that was more troubling than any horror movie.
But here we are today. After years of recovery work, bouts of depression, loss of time with children, and existing in a constant state of fear, it’s time to determine the next chapter in life.
So, what are those options? The betrayed can cut her losses and begin anew. Yes, it will be frightening and challenging, but these women have no other choice. They have not seen consistent changes in those who scarred them. Instead, years after D-Day, they continue to be bombarded with defensiveness and emotional distance. He has forced her hand by not being able to figure out what she required was
- A new commitment
- Consistent outwardly focused behavior
- A demeanor that is gentle, caring, and loving
- A Christ-like heart
- A man and not a boy
He could not – or would not – make the changes required to win back her trust.
The second option is taking the chance that the changes she has been witnessing are genuine. Yes, I know, “how can you determine if his motives and heart are pure?” Unfortunately, that answer only comes in time. And that is why a long stretch of positive behaviors – both sobriety and emotional maturity – is vital to helping move a woman in the direction of staying.
She can only fully invest in you when she sees you fully invested in her and your relationship. That is when her fear can start to slowly be replaced by hope.
Are you listening guys? Are you up for the challenge? Can you put your pride, self-centeredness, and fears aside to invest in the attitude and behaviors that make her feel you’re worth holding onto? If so, you must do the following:
- Provide a secure lifestyle and environment by ALWAYS adhering to her boundaries
- Demonstrate she is the only woman you want by making her feel accepted, loved, desired, and unique
- Be faithful in showing her your reliability and commitment
- Review your wedding vows and commit to taking them seriously
- Understand love never fails
Taking these actions will allow her to take another chance on you. But for that to occur, you must provide her with peace of mind.
Dr. Capparucci is a licensed-professional counselor who works with men struggling with Problematic Sexual Behaviors and emotional deficiencies. He is the creator of the Inner Child Model for treating sex/porn addiction and the author of Why Men Struggle to Love: Overcoming Relational Blind Spots and Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.