Prodigals

Help for the one who's had the affair

Help for the one who's had the affair

(See the recovery steps described in the article "Recovery From Internet Pornography." These steps are appropriate in affairs as well. Following are additional suggestions specific to recovery from affairs.)

1. Cut off all contact with the affair partner immediately. This step is costly, but essential for long-term recovery. In Bill's case (above) separation proved difficult because he saw his affair partner every day at work. This greatly complicated Bill's recovery process; the temptation to reconnect with his affair partner was a daily ordeal.

*  Ultimately, to save his marriage, Bill had to quit his job and go to work for another accounting firm, taking a reduction in pay. Whatever the circumstances of a particular affair, the principle here is crucial. The offending spouse must break off all contact with the affair partner, whether in person, by phone, letter, or email. We have rarely seen recovery from an affair be successful if the offending spouse has even minimal ongoing contact with the affair partner.

2. Get rid of all mementos of the affair. This includes letters, pictures and gifts from the affair partner, as well as souvenirs from places connected with the affair and tapes or CDs containing songs that remind you of the affair or the affair partner. All these were props used to nourish the fantasy world in which the affair flourished. Dumping these props is an important step in reconnecting with what's real and rejecting what's false.

3. Consider intensive counseling. A number of Christian counselors in various parts of the country offer four to ten-day intensives for both the one who's had the affair and for the spouse. This can be an excellent way to get the recovery process started. But there is no quick fix for sexual sin; this step must be followed by on-going involvement with local counselors and recovery groups.

4. Be accountable to your wife. Be willing to be accountable to your wife for how you spend your time.