Emotional HealthMarriageRecovery 3 minutes to read

You are nearly 12 months into your healing process. You have endured the grueling phase of hopelessness and gut gnawing sadness. You have gained the strength and endurance that only adversity brings. You have an understanding that there is plenty of training left to do, and races to run, but the finish line in this first relay race is in sight.

Then, rounding the corner with the baton firm in his hand, he reaches to pass it off to you and…he drops it. He relapsed. 

You can hear the collective groan of disappointment from all those who are watching from the stands and you momentarily freeze with a compilation of shock, anger, grief…and well, more anger; which is likely rooted in deep disappointment. 

You find yourself saying, “But we have come so far. Why now?” Maybe you feel like you have been disqualified and all the hard work was for nothing. It can certainly feel that way. 

Friend, lift your chin. You have not been disqualified. Yes, this is a setback, but the race isn’t over. So what do we do next? 

Pick Up the Baton

Resist the urge to hit him over the head with it. And together, make the choice to not quit. 

Assess the Exchange Zone

There are many things to consider here, but first and foremost is to remember that you are on the same team, moving toward the same goal. If you discover that you are not on the same team, the following can still apply:

  • Reach out to your support and make a game plan for your next steps.
  • Listen to this Pure Desire podcast for practical use of your Recovery Action Plan.

Estimate the Cost of Continuing

Acknowledge that what you are feeling is trauma. It is common to experience anxiety, brain fog, distrust, and dissociation. Recognize your strengths and tenacity while establishing emotional safety through identifying what you need and communicating those needs. Your spouse will likely need to make restitution before feeling like you can fully re-engage.

Finish Strong

Take care of yourself. Nourish your body and mind. You may need to drop a few things, for the time being, to have the energy to prioritize yourself; but making a daily self-care plan can help you focus on the importance of your own needs. Doing this is not selfish. You matter and this is important to remember.

Listen for the Cheers

There is a considerable amount of us who are wholeheartedly applauding your efforts. Coming back from the anguish of relapse is not easy. It takes a courageous soul to address the pain and press into healing from it. These are the individuals who we all admire most and you, my friend, are one to marvel at. Your comeback story is in the making. 

Healing your marriage from the effects of sexual brokenness isn’t considered an official sport but it should be. The mental toughness cannot be underscored. You have what it takes and we are here to coach and prepare you for the endurance races ahead. 

We’ve been there, we get it, and we want to help you succeed.

If you have questions about a support group or counseling, please contact us at 503-489-0230 or info@puredesire.org. We are here to help.

Image: “BXP135656” by tableatny is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Jennifer Howie

Jennifer is the Groups Care Coordinator for Pure Desire and is a certified Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP) through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). Seven years ago, she and her husband went through the Pure Desire Clinical Program. She has led several women’s groups and has served as a Regional Group Advisor. Jennifer is currently a certified Pure Desire online group leader. She is passionate about walking alongside couples, with her husband, as proof that the Pure Desire process works!

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