How Long Will It Hurt?

I get asked that question on a regular basis. Two weeks. Six months. Five years. Not sure. Another question I’m often asked is, “How do you get through the pain?” Cry it out. Yell and scream. Act like it’s not there. Not sure.  These questions always come from hurting wives after they have found out of their husband’s betrayal (or hurting husbands after a wife’s betrayal). Whether it’s an addiction to pornography or a full-on physical affair, the pain is still real in both cases. None of the answers above are right or wrong or accurate. For some people healing is faster than it is for others. Pain is no respecter of persons. You can’t buy your way out of pain and you can’t “be positive” and expect it to go away. From my personal experience, the only way to stop hurting is to walk through the mire and deal with it. Anything else will cause you to be cemented in a pit of pain and discomfort for a lifetime. The length of the pain varies from person to person and depends upon just how willing the person is to deal with the pain versus ignoring it. But that’s not all of it. Pain will never go away and a heart will not heal without the supernatural touch of God. It’s often said that “time heals all wounds”. I see why people say that and to a certain extent the cliche is true. However, I would change it to “God heals all wounds in time.” I do believe that time is a big factor in the healing process but a heart will not experience true healing void of the power of God. Allow God’s truth to seep into your wounded heart:
  1. For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
  2. But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
  3. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
It really stinks to hurt. There isn’t anything fun or enjoyable about it. But it’s part of life and the sooner we can accept that, the sooner we will be able to experience the power of our healing God. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Year by year. Don’t lose hope.

22 thoughts on “How Long Will It Hurt?

  1. I 100% agree. I was actually someone who asked this question! Now almost exactly a year later I can completely agree with “God heals all wounds in time”. As I allowed God to be my Comforter, God to teach me and minister to me, the hurt has slowly gone away. And I’m blessed to have a better marriage by it. Not everyone goes through the same exact experience but with God there is always Hope, Comfort, and Shelter.

  2. It is true, God does heal us. But, I have found that even though the pain has “faded”, the memory of the adultery reminds me of the unbearable pain and the broken trust that has been a process to rebuild. I do believe that my marraige is stronger, in a sense. I know that we do not take our relationship for granted and what was once an “easy” marriage is now one that must be worked at continuously. My love for my husband never waivered and I love him more now than I ever thought possible. God is able to restore your marriage…it will not ever be the same but it can be better. I believe the only way for true healing is through God. I know that I could not have made it without Him each and every moment of the day. He is forever faithful to us.

  3. My husband confessed to an affair on May 15th. 3 weeks later he moved out “to find himself” because the shame and guilt were too overbearing being around us. 3 weeks later he told me he was moving to another state. 1 week later, he asked for a divorce. 1 week after that I found out he was having another affair that had been going on since April. Talk about continual news of doom!!! I don’t know how I made it through–except by the grace and strength of my God. At this point, I continue to pray and hope for a miracle. This is NOT the man I’ve been with for 10 years! When we married, he was an incredible man of God and together, we served God’s people for years through our marriage. I thought our life was so wonderful and that we were so happy, so to hear all this craziness was hard to soak in. So, here I am, a little over 4 months later doing my best to provide and take care of my two boys and myself, while still hoping and praying that God will do the impossible in this hopeless situation. God has placed amazing examples of his miraculous abilities in women around me who have walked in my shoes. They clung to hope in their hopelessness and had faith when all seemed impossible. I thank God for their examples and willingness to share their pain in my pain. And thank you for all your vulnerability! Without your example and the example of others, I don’t where I’d be. I only hope and pray that my story can be used in the same ways.

  4. I’m praying for all the women on here. Tleck Good will use you’re testimony to help others. He will use your strength and encouragement . I never thought my addiction to pornography would effect my marriage for a long time I led myself to believe it was not a physical affair so nobody would know or get hurt. Boy was I ever wrong. Up until 2 weeks ago I thought there was no hope for my marriage it was over, it seemed so hopeless. A lot of things contributed to this marriage failing the pornography made it worse. Being a women trapped in porn is hard for people to get, unfortunately porn in women is on the rise especially Christian women. I have taken my responsibility for the addiction and now having a clear head, fully surrending to God and true repentance. I see how this addiction makes you turn further from you’re husband not to him. I’m truly sorry for all the pain I caused him. Now we have to learn howII to trust and I have Been working on honesty and open communication. I never thought id ever be in this boat. I’ve never shared this story with anyone except Cindy except this is the first time I have admitted porn helped mess up my marriage. I live my husband so much that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to restore our marriage. So baby steps and pain and reading your stories to make me realize what pain I have caused. Thanks for listening

  5. This morning, I praise our Heavenly Father for Cindy’s post, “How Long Will It Hurt?” It’s been almost five months since the discovery of my husband’s “mistake” and I have suffered tremendously. I have also had so many incredible moments, hours, and days drawing ever closer to Jesus. I, too, wonder how long I will feel the effects of the trauma of learning that the one person who had never betrayed me in almost 22 years could do such a thing. Saddened by what Tleck shared, I realize that I am blessed at this moment to have a husband that does not want to leave, and over the months, through many tears and ecstatic, yet emotionally painful, moments of intimacy, vulnerability and honesty, we are peeling through the layers to find our true selves.

    Most importantly, we are drawing nearer to God. While true healing is taking place, the wound is still fresh and the triggers come when I am not guarded, and we so we begin all over again. It’s exhausting work this business of forgiveness, healing and redemption. I could not do it without my faith. I can see how it would be easier to run and escape the pain and shame. TLeck, this morning, I offer you my heartfelt prayers and will praise God for the strength he is giving you today. You are a woman of courage and faith and you WILL get through this. All of the comments draw me to be more compassionate and make me increasingly aware of our brokenness and sinful nature. Dear Lord, have mercy on us all. Praying for miracles!!

  6. Thank you Cindy for this post. I ask myself this question on an almost daily basis. I discovered by husband’s affair in March of this year. It began just 8 weeks after the birth of our first baby. It lasted 2 1/2 months before I discovered it through text messages, but it’s so sad to me that at the time that we were supposed to be enjoying our newborn baby, we instead have had to deal with the heartbreak, pain, confusion, suffering, and all of those other consequences that come with an affair. The pain is not as acute as it was in those first few weeks following the discovery, but it is still there–a lot, unfortunately. But I am learning to turn to God to help me through those times. While I say over and over again that I wish I could fast forward through this time in my life, I also realize that I am growing, our marriage is growing, and I, of course, would never want to miss out on these fun times with our now almost 1 year old. Praying that God continues to provide me comfort, peace, and strength. For those reading my comment, would you mind also praying for my husband. Although repentant and remorseful, he has not turned to God for help, hope, and healing in this. I fear that without God, he may do this again one day.

  7. Oh I know this pain and these questions. On Aug 25, 2011 my husband confessed of a 98 day affair with someone from our church. SHOCKED was a mild word. Clearly this was a joke from the husband who’s greatest joy was his family. Who repeated told people how awesome his wife was “she is my best friend”. Really? REALLY? What a slap in the face. How devastating….WHY?? We so enjoyed being together. Married almost 19 years, dated 9 years, and friends for 2 years before that. Almost 30 years of knowing this guy….wow. How could I sustain this betrayal? I PLUNGED into my faith. I needed Jesus more than anyone…for the first time, more than my husband. I had put too much security in one man, a human, who was a sinner. Who struggeled with porn, codependency, familial generational sin, ADHD, high need for respect, love, emotional connection…things we never fully understood. I needed independence- we thought our ‘strengths’ brought us together when in fact it is now through our ‘weaknesses’ that we have become stronger. Our dependence on the Lord. Complete and utter surrender first to Him then to each other. Yes it takes many, many, hours, days, months and buckets of ‘face on the floor, sobbing, I can’t do this’ tears! We dove into His word. Talked for hours into the wee hours of the morning. Boundaries, guidlines, new rules…a lot of transparency. BUT we never stopped loving each other. Also knowing that the affair was built on vapor, lies & deciet-just utter garbage.
    It was never authentic, never blessed, not what God intended. My husband got caught in a swirl of carnal lust, sinful desires and confusion causing major damage to his soul and integrity. I wanted, surprisingly, to help him rebuild. He was ( and still is ) remorseful and took full responsiblity for his infidelity and repented. I knew the essence of who he was still lived in him and it was good. Counselling, recovery group, good friends & family, our church family, and a lot of reading ( sites & books like Cindy’s) all important ingredients to the healing process. Yes the memory will never go away, but with a lot of prayer, surrendering control and peeling back the layers of our personalitie & behaviours an AMAZING new marriage has blossomed. In two weeks we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal for a renewed marriage: richer, stronger, better. Still with cracks, mended by the work of the Holy Spirit so that the light of HOPE will shine through to others suffering the same devastating circumstance. It is possible. There is pure joy through suffering. Phil 4:13 continues to get me through it. xo

  8. On August 19 my husband received a text message from this women saying that nobody know about their relationship…I saw the message and broke my heart, i decide to forgive him but is so painful sometimes, I did’t tell nobody this is the first time that I am doing it… Since that time I am having panic attacks and I am taking medicine that I don’t want to take for that…I don’t want this I can’t with this pain. There so many question…We have 3 boys and I don’t have close friends here and I can’t tell my family because I don’t want them to be mad at him…I tell God every day to heal me…

  9. Enjoyed reading this, but my story is a little different, but can I share it?

    I am a Christian Catholic who was the second wife to a man who had been married before. I knew this was wrong my entire marriage and when I found out he cheated, it was God’s way to say….Get right. You are in the wrong too. I know some might disagree with this, but it is my Church’s belief – and was once my belief, but I sold myself short. I always believed that the only reason for divorce was abuse or cheating. His divorce was for neither and no matter how I justified living in adultry, I knew I was lying to myself and my God.

    I was in the wrong! He was too – but this gave me the scales falling from my eyes that I was living in sin myself. My civil husband – as the proper term would be for a Catholic not married properly in the Church, but only legally – was addicted to pornography, had affairs, and everyone knew…But me. I was devastated, but somehow, not surprised. No, he was not a Christian. Note, I said I wasn’t suprised. I was…miserable. I kept praying for God to fix my marriage, pretended everything was great, and had absolutely no decent intimate life. And he was the only man I had been intimate with. I was a…”good girl” who was miserable. He destroyed me as a sexual creature, a woman who didn’t think she was pretty anymore, and my self esteem was low. But, in a way, I had done it myself by not following by what I knew was God’s way.

    I admit my own sin.

    What did I do? I kicked him out, I worked, went to Church, prayed alot (alot!), raised my son, and had to watch my ex husband parade his significant other around town and not pay his child support.

    I was very….angry. But that was okay. I had to work through Kubler Ross to get to closure. And God was working the entire time by sending me friends, good family, and alot of cheesecake to make me happy. I had to learn…me again. And I found her.

    I was civilly divorced ten months later and I swore NEVER NEVER would I fall in love with a man unless God sent me a PURE man, one as PURE as snow and had no history of having a line of women around the corner, waiting for him, like the song from Blondie, THE TIDE IS HIGH. I made it a running joke to everyone that I would only marry a virgin. It might have seemed funny, but I meant it.

    And true to the humor God is known to have in my life, God sent me a man with a huge bow on him! He’s a bit of a nerd, a big fellow, who loves comics, has degrees in things I can’t understand, and he loves to do karoake. I would NEVER have noticed him until he made me argue with him about politics. That joke I made that I would never remarry unless God sent me a man who was pure? Got him. I don’t like using the “V” word because it makes him sound silly, but my beau was a virgin. At 44. He had his reasons to wait and I to this day respect and love him for it. You know what he was waiting for? Me.

    I WAS WORTH WAITING FOR. We waited until we were married before we made love and it was WORTH THE WAIT!

    I married and one year later, I am restored in my confidence both sexually and spiritually. I am CHERISHED. He LOVES me and he HONORS me. And I thank God every single day that I divorced my husband. David is also a super stepfather – that’s the best of the deal.

    As to the ex-civil husband, we are friends. That is healthy. He is still with the person who broke up my marriage, but she can have him. I came out the winner: I have my David! I recently thanked my ex with forgiveness and his mouth dropped open.

    That’s my story – I just wanted to share it!
    But, in the end, every story has a different ending. And sometimes, staying ISN’T the right thing to do.

    Isn’t my story great?!?!?!?!?!

  10. As a counselor, I get that question all the time as well. Grief is hard. It is no linear process. it has no warning or timeline. It’s like an injury, that part never works quite the same, but it won’t always hurt.

    thanks for your words!

  11. It hurts forever. No matter how many times you “forgive” you can never “forget”. My husband at the time of the affair and also discovered his 40+ yrs Porn Addiction.he promised to do all the things that every book, Counselor, blog, they all say the same thing: the offending spouse must stop all contact (he lied about that), must make his life past, present, future an open book. He promised to do this (he lied). It took 5 yrs after the affair ended for him to finally tell me that it was not as I thought, “just an Emotional Affair” no he confessed that it had been sexual and he had risked everything including his job since it was with a “co-worker” who just happens to live 1/4 mile from my home. He did not use protection, gave me an STD, luckily she did not end up pregnant.
    After all this I found out that he is a true “NARCISSISTIC/PATHOLOGICAL LIAR. My heart aches every day. Unless God makes him truly look at himself and own who he is and what he is, the fate of our marriage is truly uncertain.
    PRAY, PRAY and PRAY is the only thing that you can do. You can forgive but you you will never truly forget.

  12. It has been 6 days now since I found out my wife had just started an affair with a coworker. This has been the darkest week in my life. I thought I was the all, the perfect dad, the perfect husband. I have apologized for anything and anytime I crushed her heart leading her to the other man. I do not know what lies ahead and definitively want to work to safe our marriage.

    Thanks for this article. I am hungry for information and comfort. Seeking professional help individually and as a couple. Praying for a Heaven sent Christian counselor.

    Your prayers are appreciated.

  13. I found out that my husband is a sex addict when I was 32 weeks pregnant with our first child after 7 years of marriage. He admitted that he has been sleeping with countless of prostitutes, had one night stands with women he met online, involved in group sex, visits to adult bookstore/theater, etc. It has been 5 months now and I am still in pain. He wants to make the marriage work and I feel like God wants us to stay together but I just don’t know if I could stay married to someone who betrayed me so many times with strangers and paid for sex as well. I feel worthless and so alone! I have no family in this country, my family are overseas and I don’t know who to talk to about my problem. We are going to a professional therapist for sex addiction and she is a Christian therapist. My husband showed a lot of love and changed in so many ways and I’m trying to do everything I could, from prayers, listening to sermons, making myself busy etc. but when the pain hits me, it hits me like a wave of knives, hurting my soul so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night, having mental images of him and other women, waking up in the morning and hating it and I have a newborn baby. I should have cherished my moment as a new mom but I am just in so much pain and sadness. I hope and pray that I could get through this season in life! I am a strong woman, but this one takes every single strength that I have for life lol. Thank you for reading and praying 🙂

  14. Yes, “God heals all wounds in time”. There is no one else who can take away the pain and bitterness. HE comes into your heart to wash away the pain and the questions, to help you find happiness in HIS love. I suffered for more than 2 years. People tried to help, but their words were like salt on the wound. But HE came in, took away all the pain. And gave me a friend who helped me in finding HIM

  15. On April 23, 2014, I was doing some research for my husband on his old computer. Quite by accident I found a letter he had written to a woman 4 years ago begging her to give him more time to end his marriage so they could be together. I was stunned. My husband was the last person who would have an affair. He had made it his mission to assure me of his love and loyalty for 22 years. We had been through a rough patch or two but never was it connected to infidelity. It was early morning when I found the letter and I immediately tried to call him. It would take from 7:03 till 7:29 before I would hear his voice at the end of the phone.

    In that 26 minutes, I had a HUGE argument with God. My word for the year was obedience and it is plastered everywhere in my home. As I prayed, waiting for Rich to call, I felt God asking me to forgive him. I yelled, I shouted and I told God that there was no way on earth I could forgive him. Then I went to refill my coffee and obedience stared me in the face. I sat down on the couch and again, obedience stared me in the face. I picked up my Jesus Calling book and on the back was taped the word Obedience.

    By the time I heard my husband’s voice at the end of the phone I had forgiven him…I just didn’t tell him that. We talked for 20 minutes and then I hung up. He came home and we talked. I told him I had forgiven him but only because God made me. Even now the words made me chuckle because your heart will go where your words lead it. I truly had forgiven him.

    That night, at God’s urging, I restored the intimacy in our relationship which totally shocked him. He hadn’t expected that to happen for a very long time.

    I have loved my husband unconditionally for 22 years. He loved me but not unconditionally. My act of forgiveness and restoration allowed him to fully understand unconditional love. It is something he now offers to me every minute of every day. I love having my best friend back.

    I don’t want to make this sound like it is all moonlight and roses. It is not. His affair was with a single mom he attended school with. I knew her and frequently sent him her way when she needed help. His affair with her began as an emotional attachment, moved to the physical level, dropped back off to emotional attachment. Every time she would call after that he would run. For 6 years, my husband loved another woman and I didn’t have a clue. Perhaps the worst part was when he finally realized he had made a huge mistake, a close Christian friend convinced him to not reveal the affair, but to just move on and make everything better. Wrong choice! For 4 more years, he hid what he had done and tried to make up for something I never knew about. When I found the letter I was devastated. It was a love letter to another woman. I now look back and see that I lost 10 years! For 10 years my husband didn’t love me and while I knew something wasn’t right, I believed him when he said nothing was wrong.

    I see God’s hand in everything that happened to bring the affair out into the light. It is hard. I have good days and bad days. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the pain goes away, it doesn’t, but God makes it bearable if you look to him and are obedient!

  16. A woman called me on August 3rd, 2014 to tell me about my husband’s girlfriend….or I may still not have known to this day. It was a 2 year affair. I am praying and hurting and praying and hurting. The woman killed herself. They found her body on the 19th of August so there is no chance for him to go back to her, but he had already chosen to stay and work things out. I know God has forgiven me so much. I know that I want to work it out with my husband because I love him. We have three children together who have seen it all, unfortunately. He is going to AA and we are going to counseling. I just need the hurt to heal. Every time I think I am getting over it, another memory or detail of the affair rears its’ ugly head and I start thinking/torturing myself with the thoughts.
    Please pray for me – that God will help me get past my stinking thinking……for my sake and my marriage’s sake.

  17. Firstly, thanks to everyone for sharing. Whew! I need to hear this! I’m almost two months into mending a 22 year, beautiful marriage that became emotionally vacant for 18 months prior. I discovered my husband’s affair in mid August via a Facebook message (technology really does suck). He admitted to an emotional affair and agreed to call her to tell her no other communication could happen between them other than work. They work in separate schools, but must see each other once in a while for student purposes. I was completely sad that I didn’t make myself emotionally available for him and that our communication had become non-existent. So much so, that he would watch television I didn’t like so I wouldn’t join him and I would get dressed in other rooms so he wouldn’t see me and want more. Like some of you have stated, I restored our intimacy and actually have added so much more passion to our physical connection which in turn has added to our line of communication which could be the other way around since they are dependent one upon the other.
    After about five weeks of this renewal, things still didn’t seem right. I checked his phone and saw he was still sending her emails. Nothing to make me confront him. Just article attachments with words like, “You might find this interesting.” Most were about positive mindsets. She’s a school counselor, so I tried to believe it was for work. I would ask him if he was in contact with her and he would tell me NO when I knew full well that he was. Last week, another email. This time the article was about Infidelity. I couldn’t take it anymore and marched the phone to him while he was in the shower. He tried to tell me he sent it to her for a Master’s program she’s working on. I wanted to believe him. When he got out of the shower he told me he was staying home from work to devote his day/weekend (this was a Friday) to us and asked me to do the same. Never before had he placed our relationship like this; I truly felt he made it more important than any other item in his life. So, I stayed home too. We spent the day the same way we spent that day in August: crying, talking, trying to discover why the lies were there. Finally, at 9:30 that night, he admitted to a physical affair. I’m told it was one time with this woman who he was emotionally connected to and he used protection. My heart hurts — so much!
    I went through all the ugly things like I’m sorry drove you to this point. How can she give you in 4 weeks that I haven’t in 22 years? The list goes on. Not one time did I think I should run or send him away. Many times in the last 8 weeks (especially 6 days), I feel completely stupid. I was raised a Catholic girl. As an adult I’ve slowly left the church. I don’t agree with what they support and I’m not one to like “institutional religion.” I believe we can have God with us without being in a church. That being said, I need his words and grace more than ever. I many have to turn to the institution to heal. And, I’m even considering a different denomination. This might be the way I find my way back. I need to be strong to make this marriage what it can be and to stop wondering if he’s being truthful. I sincerely appreciate your book, Cindy, and the comments people have made to at least let me know I’m not the only one out there. This journey is long and very hurtful – most of the time right now. I wish I know Bible verses better to help keep me strong (darn Catholic Catechism!)
    Here’s to the Grace of God – may it always be with us and may I learn to turn to it and believe in it.

  18. Hi Cindy,

    I want to first thank you for having the courage for writing your book. I have read it a couple of times, once prior to knowing the depths of my husbands sins and then again taking comfort it your words after knowing the hard truth.

    I married my high school sweetheart @ 18, we have 3 kids, and have been married 18 years. I don’t even know what life would look like without him. I have a question for you. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on how deal with the emotional ups and downs? I found out the depth of my husband sexual sins about 7 months ago. I don’t need to go into lots of details, but the gist of it is he has been unfaithful a number of times throughout our marriage.

    Knowing the first 2-3 months were agonizing. I actively attend a bible study, a group called hidden hurts, couples counseling and devotionals. My husband is doing everything “right”… But right before the holidays I was again overwhelmed with hurt and anger… How long did this last for you? My husband was so sweet and thoughtful over Christmas and all I could think was “now I deserve this, but I didn’t before” feeling very bitter that I have to deal with these feelings. Are there times that are harder for you then others? Do you let your husband know when you are hurting, even though it’s not a current hurt or something you are working on forgivenesses on? I just know it would hurt my husband to know my thoughts surrounding Christmas….and I don’t want to discourage what he is doing. I don’t know how relevant my ever thought is to healing.

    I’m struggling with coping with the emotions. I made the decision to stay, with boundaries of course. But now I’m struggling with that… I remember in your book you said you were told you are not a fool to be apart of the redemptive work of God in your husbands life… I try to remind myself of that daily. I understand everyone is different and we all heal differently. But any thoughts you have for me would be wonderful.

    Thanks for reading

  19. I haven’t heard people talk about the difficulty restoring intimacy. That is the LAST thing I want to do with this man who 6 months ago revealed that 12 years ago the months long “emotional” affair wasn’t just that but was more and went right on to 3 admitted sexual dalliances. Even though we talk and he is broken and is terrified I am going to leave him blah blah blah…How in the world am I going to give myself (a virgin bride) back to this man who has destroyed my dream? And lied about it for 12 years! 12 years I thought it was only emotional infidelity because he LIED about it and since that time, took the eldership in the church (he wouldn’t have taken the eldership if he’d lied would he? – of course he would and did!)because he was “called” to do so, even though he was living a LIE to me. So confusing and so upsetting. It’s been 6 months that I have known the truth and I love him, but I am blocked with intimacy. He doesn’t deserve me. He sullied our relationship. Now when I look at him, it’s just porn and infidelity I see. Dirt.

  20. I agree!! Right Now I going thought what Cindy Beall went though!! I have read her book over many time. Now, I am still and listening to GOD voice. The pain is so real!! That some day I can think postive. The fact he was with another woman and a baby that carries his name. He act like nothing is wrong beside yelling and blaming me for EVERYTHING!! Although, I am a fighter. The pain as got me stuck!! But I know if GOD can do it for her, HE heard my cry!!

  21. The church can often times give women wrong advice because of sexism and misogyny. I don’t know about you but I am so worth LOYALTY, LOVE and TRUST. If you settle for something lesser than these three things, you don’t believe you can or should ever have them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *