"It's Not MY Problem!"

addiction betrayal marriage sex true stories Jan 23, 2024


After betrayal, not all couples survive.  Fifteen years of professional counseling experience has revealed the number one reason that marriages end in divorce:

Refusal to work on one's own issues.


Steve & Lynette (pseudonyms) are perfect examples.  Lynette contacted me shortly after discovering her spouse had been soliciting sex online.  She was experiencing betrayal trauma and Steve was overwhelmed with shame about his addiction to pornography that led to high risk sexual behaviors.

When I asked who would be involved with therapy, Lynette declared, "Just Steve, since he's the cheating son of a b*tch!"

Even after explaining the how essential it was that she take steps to address her own wounds from betrayal, she adamantly refused.  She was convinced that there was nothing she needed to work on, because, "It's not MY problem!"

By focusing entirely on her husband, she avoided facing her own issues.


Steve, on the other hand, eagerly enrolled in the Marriage Recovery Course and followed the holistic approach to achieve third order change.  He experienced freedom from his addictions, soul-level transformation and a deep sense of empathy for the pain he had caused Lynette. 

Month after month he begged Lynette to get involved, but she refused.  While Steve experienced increasing freedom and hope, Lynette remained bitter and angry.  About one year later, she filed for divorce. 

Initially, Steve was devastated.  With time, however, he was able to see how Lynette's history of unprocessed pain from childhood fed her resistance to counseling as it meant she would have to face her inner demons.  It was easier for her to attack Steve and remain bitter than it was to deal with the underlying wounds she had avoided their entire marriage.


Five years later, I crossed paths with Lynette.  She had yet to do any recovery work and her demeanor was identical to the day we first talked: bitter, resentful, angry... still a victim and still in a perpetual state of trauma.  She was unchanged!

Steve, on the other hand, was multiple years sober, understood the origins of his sex addiction and was able to forgive both himself and Lynette.  Steve had done the hard work of recovery and been transformed by grace.  He felt more alive and whole than ever!


In spite of the amazing transformation, his marriage failed...

  • NOT because of his porn addiction or high risk affairs
  • NOT because Lynette experienced betrayal trauma
  • NOT because of their dysfunctional marriage dynamics

While all of these factors were present, none of them was the defining factor that precipitated divorce.  That singular factor was the refusal of one spouse to work on their own issues.


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