What Is Most Helpful For Betrayed Partners In Recovery?

betrayal Apr 18, 2023

In 1998, Jennifer Schneider, M. Deborah Corley and Richard Irons conducted a study of 164 Recovering Sex Addicts and Partners.  The results were a powerful look into the raw data of what is and is not true for most couples in the healing journey. One of the many interesting outcomes was a clear picture of exactly what was most for each party during the healing process. 

In this two part series, I'll first share what betrayed spouses found most helpful in their recovery journey.  In next week's post, I'll share what addicts found most helpful.

Here's the results of the study:


Most helpful recovery items for betrayed partners:


  1. Therapy/counseling 44 (57.9%)

  2. 12-step meetings/groups 38 (50.0%)

  3. Spirituality/religion 36 (47.4%)

  4. Friends/recovery friends 31 (40.8%)

  5. Books/tapes 27 (35.5%)

  6. "the Program" 23 (30.3%)

  7. Relationship w partner 21 (27.6%)


There are multiple noteworthy things to highlight here.

1) The most helpful was therapy/counseling.  I can attest that the power of a betrayal trauma specialist is unique among all forms of help.  It provides something support groups, friends, betrayed peers and spouses cannot.

2) Also notice that two of the seven most helpful items are connected to a 12-Step Support Group.  First are the weekly meetings and second is the content of the program itself.  It's likely that the role of a sponsor was filled by a therapist, accounting for the high percentage of #1 and lack of sponsor on this list.

3) After professional therapy and 12-Step related support, the next most helpful item was spirituality/religion.  This is not coincidental, as we are spiritual beings made in the image of God and best outcomes occur when this truth is integrated into the recovery process.

4) After therapy, 12-Steps and Spirituality came Friends/Recovery Friends.  It is absolutely essential for a betrayed spouse to create a support network of those who understand betrayal and can be loving, supporting and affirming every step of the way.  A "tribe of truth-speakers" is necessary to overcome the trauma and confusion of betrayal.


These four highlights are exactly what I have seen and experienced during 16 years of recovery and 11 years of counseling couples professionally.  It's why my clients benefit from a comprehensive, coordinated approach that integrates every one of the most helpful recovery items revealed by this study.  I call it the...


"Rubik's Cube of Recovery"

... which call calls for...

    1) solo work Daily
    2) group work weekly
    3) professional therapy regularly

... all being done by three "clients"...

    1) addict
    2) betrayed
    3) marriage system

 ... over time focusing on...

    1) sobriety
    2) recovery
    3) identity/theology


Notice the three sets of three, like three sides of a Rubik's Cube, each with three squares.  It's a complex puzzle to solve, but it CAN be done.

 Also notice how many parallels there are between the results of the 1998 study and the model I teach clients.  It's no wonder that couples who fully embrace this collaborative approach regularly reach the Top 10% of recovery outcomes.


Since not all therapists understand or feel comfortable with this complex approach, which includes the addict, the betrayed AND the marriage system, good care can be hard to come by.

If you're interested in what this comprehensive approach to recovery looks like, then check out the Marriage Recovery Course.

The course covers everything needed to reach the Top 10% of recovery outcomes, all of which are verified by this study to be MOST EFFECTIVE.  You get access whenever and wherever you like at the pace that works for you. Plus, you can watch it as many times as you want.

To learn more, click below. 

Marriage Recovery Course







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