But, I didn’t know he’s married!

When I was the “other woman,” in a married man’s affair, I knew I was the other woman. In fact, I met his wife the same day. That’s not the case for every adulteress: there are men who conceal the fact that they’re married.

So what should you do if you didn’t know at first?

If you didn’t know, does it still mean he’s got to go?

Well, in a word: yes! Married is married, and whether you knew at first or not, he’s married. I recognize that it probably stings even more so, that he lied to you. You thought you were in a viable relationship — maybe even in a godly one with a man of faith and character.

So now what?

The best thing is to end it. Hear me out: the best thing for YOU is to end it. Yes, it’s also the best thing for her (his wife). But the emotional entrapment of adultery conceals its true colors just long enough.

And believe me, when they finally show themselves, those true colors aren’t pretty. Consider, too: no matter how much you “love,” him (this former “I love him” adulteress uses those quotes on purpose) — he lied to you.

That speaks volumes about his character…

…no matter how “reasonable” his reasons sound.

So what does it mean to “end it,” and how do you go about that?  I talk about that in my book Words from the Other Woman. And even though I’ve moved beyond my affair (and don’t regret ending it for a second), I remember.

I remember how it seemed to literally rip my heart apart.

I remember how I didn’t think I could walk away.

But I could — and I did. Repentance was the bridge to redemption, and there I reconnected with the strength of the Lord. Our sin drains us of our energy; our Savior restores our energy and strength through relationship with our Almighty Abba (Father).

Expect a sense of “withdrawal,” as though you were a drug addict gone “cold turkey”. Expect a tearing at your heart. Expect resistance. It can still the right direction, even when the wind blows against you. But there is power in the Lord to keep going, without going back.

Cut ties with the married guy, seek and build authentic community for support, and get caught up in God’s grace instead. Click here if you’d like to learn more about how I became the other woman — but then found redemption. 


This post was partly inspired by this week’s premiere of the new Other Woman movie, starring Cameron Diaz. Shelley and I recently talked about the film over at Undone Redone (link below). Please take time to listen to this powerful podcast, and share. 

Click here to listen to it now!

That Time I Wanted to Pull Her Hair Out

Redemption > Revenge
By Shelley Hendrix

I remember it like it was yesterday: I was pulling my car into the grocery store parking lot to pick up a few items for my young daughters and myself, lost in my thoughts. As I got out of the car, I spotted her. HER. The one who had the gall to come into my home. Into my marriage. Into my world. She took as her own what belonged to me.

“She” was “the other woman”.

Hatred came over me like an electric shock surging through every fiber of my being, and before I knew it, I was on her, screaming at her, clawing at her, and ripping her hair out by the roots. I felt empowered. Expressing my rage felt energizing, which was in complete opposition to the victimized weakness I had felt for so long.

What a rush! Hurting her physically made me feel like I had at least taken back some of the power she had robbed me of by taking over my life; robbing me of dreams I had for my future and the future of my family. It was as though I was watching myself rather than animating my own body’s actions.

Because I was.

It was only a dream.

I woke up in a sweat. My heart was pounding. My fists were clenched. Admittedly, I felt partly relieved and partly disappointed. It had only been a few weeks since the rug had been pulled out from under me with the words, “I don’t love you. I love her.”

That dream awoke something else in me. It awoke the awareness that within my own mind was a fierce beast known as “Anger.” Was my anger justifiable? Absolutely. But now I also had a decision to make: what would I do with this anger that I seemed to be able to suppress by day, but woke like a monster when my subconscious took over at night?

As Robert Frost wrote so eloquently in his poem, “The Road Not Taken,” I felt myself at a crossroads facing two unknown paths. Which one would I take? Would I take the seemingly broader, easier, more worn Road of Revenge in order to prove myself as unworthy of such wrongdoing and hurt? Would I choose the Road of Redemption that appeared at first to be the path of deeper pain, more hard work, and…ugh…forgiveness?

It has now been 15 years since I faced those two paths. I now have 15 years of memories made on the Road of Redemption and 15 years of seeing wounded spouses who have had to make that tough choice themselves; and I’ve observed how each path leads to a completely different destination. One leads to greater pain, and then healing. The other leads to anesthetized pain for a while, but then deep and infected wounds that impact their daily lives until they opt to allow their Heavenly Father and a few safe, trustworthy men and women to walk them through the healing process on the Road of Redemption.

Two paths.

Two choices.

Which one will you pick?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost

 


otherwomanscrewhimYour Turn:

The upcoming movie The Other Woman (starring Cameron Diaz) recommends actually taking revenge against someone in an affair — not just dreaming about it.

Sadly, there are very real effects and risks — real reasons revenge is not a good idea.

But what do you think? How can we choose the better path of redemption and forgiveness — and why do you think it’s the better path?

Click here: Come tell us what you think and chat with Team Redeemed on Facebook!

Is It My Fault He Cheated?

A Response to Thought Catalog’s Amy Glass
By Rebecca Halton and Shelley Hendrix

 

photo copy 2January 10, 2014, Thought Catalog contributor Amy Glass explained how simple it is to “cheat proof” your relationship: just stay attractive. (According to the blog, what qualified the validity of her opinion was her age, and “working primarily with older men”).

We, however, have been on each side of an affair, and between our experiences – and the experiences of women and men who ask for our help – it’s not as simple as staying fit and interesting.

I, Rebecca, was in an affair with a married man whose wife: 1) weighed less than I did; 2) had a flatter stomach than I did; 3) wasn’t consumed by parenting; 4) was having sex with him (according to him); 5) wasn’t poorly groomed or frumpy; and 6) was more educated than I was.

And I, Shelley, was married for over six years, and had two children, with a man whom I deeply loved. I watched my figure, to the best of my ability as a young mom, looked for creative ways to keep romance and excitement alive, and followed all the “rules” on how to protect my marriage from adultery.

He still chose someone else over me. Was I perfect? Absolutely not. But did my imperfections justify his choice to look outside of our marriage to have his needs met? Absolutely not. I don’t intend for my next statement to be an instance of “tooting my own horn,” but I lost count of how many people said, “He left YOU for HER?”

Looks, waist size, age, education level, social status, etc. – NONE of these determine your value or worth as a woman or as a wife…or even as an “other woman.”

This doesn’t even account for the countless women around us, who are attractive and accomplished – and still cheated on by their spouses. Just think of all the supermodels whose husbands are caught cheating. If outward beauty or even accomplishments were the mix needed to keep a man around, surely THESE women would be protected from that kind of pain, right?

So, then, is “cheat proofing” your relationship as simple as staying attractive?
And is it your fault if he cheats?

Unfortunately, as we respond to this opinion from Amy Glass, we also know that there are books that say similar things within the Christian culture. There are Christian authors telling women that if you just do your part, your husband won’t cheat. Those whose husbands have been faithful think they’ve found the formula themselves to protect their marriages and, therefore, make choices for their husbands.

This just isn’t how it works! (And what my husband and I, Shelley, have seen far too many times in the 13+ years that we’ve been married is that many times, those who write these books, blogs and messages find out later about their own cheating spouse.)

This is the most heartbreaking part of Amy’s blog: she says that cheating is a self-inflicted consequence, especially if you married for the wrong reasons, and/or “let yourself go”:

I feel like it’s the consequence these women deserve. They didn’t want a love relationship, they wanted a wedding and a status symbol. If they wanted a love relationship they’d be putting work into it, thereby removing any reason a man had to cheat and they wouldn’t cheat. It’s simple.

Now, we do recommend being sensitive to your spouse’s needs, and encourage you to consider how you can grow as a spouse. But we cannot agree that it’s so simple, and within your power, to completely remove any reason a man has to cheat. As Shelley learned, there was something she couldn’t control — the condition of his heart:

It grieves me that there are so many who naively believe that a man’s or woman’s choice to cheat is ever determined by his or her spouse. The delicate nature of marriage and infidelity do not have a simple formula to keep your spouse from cheating. We must remember that although we are responsible to our spouse, we are never responsible for them.

As a wounded wife, fifteen years ago, a friend wisely helped me in my grief and my own battle with all the “What Ifs.” (You know: What if I had been thinner?  What if I had been prettier?  What if I had cooked him his favorite meals more often?  What if I had been stronger?  This “What Ifs” list can go on forever!)

My friend simply said, “Shelley, commitment is a matter of one’s heart. If a man is committed to his wife and marriage, then it doesn’t matter if his wife puts on weight, gets sick, struggles in the bedroom, etc. And ‘un-commitment’ works the same way. If a man is not committed to his wife and marriage, then no matter how beautiful she is, how much she keeps herself in shape, or accomplishes his ‘to-do list’ for her, if he isn’t committed, she doesn’t stand a chance.

As Clinical Programs Officer, at The HopeQuest Ministry Group, Stephen Hendrix has been helping people for years, to understand why they or their spouses cheat. As well as why wives refuse certain sex acts (Glass referred to a wive’s unwillingness to perform oral sex, as the reason a man was justified to cheat):

A husband’s ‘desire/need’ for certain sexual acts should be allowable to request. And while a wife should refrain from shaming him by laughing, there are reasons many wives resist some acts, Stephen says.

The reason we felt compelled to respond to Amy’s blog, is we know there are many women (and men) who are currently hurting. They’re submerged in shame, in the pain of wondering what they could have done better, to keep their spouse from cheating. Knowing that, we wanted to offer encouragement and hope to counteract the guilt.



For more encouragement like this, join the Team Redeemed mailing list!


Now That I Know, Should I Confront Her?

Maybe you just found out he’s cheating.
Maybe you know now who the other woman is.
Maybe you’re the other woman, trying to clear your conscience.

Now that you know it’s an affair, should you confront her? 

That is one of the questions we (Shelley and Rebecca) have been asked most frequently. While pop culture suggests taking matters into vengeful hands, or having a knock-down-drag-out on national TV, we don’t agree. Both Shelley and Rebecca had very specific reasons for why they did, or did not, confront certain people.  Be sure to join this mailing list, for more information about the upcoming video series that will answer this question in more detail.


In the meantime, we recommend asking yourself these questions….


This biblical mandate (see Romans 12:18) doesn’t ask of us the impossible. It doesn’t ask us to play God or try to be God to anyone. It doesn’t ask us to be perfect. It reveals the ability we have to make powerful choices in our lives that, in doing so, increases our own peace so that we, in turn, can make a greater impact for good in our generation.

Whenever we’re riddled with guilt or bitterness or regret, we remain shackled in chains that have already been unlocked for us. But it has always been and will always be our choice to remain in those shackles or to cast them off and run in the freedom purchased us by the forgiveness of the God who forgave us long before we could have even begun to wonder how we could make things right with Him. He set things right. He initiated the forgiveness of all of our wrongs toward Him. And He is the One who makes us able to offer that kind of forgiveness to others, whether they realize they need it or not.

One final thought: whenever we see that a confrontation is necessary, it is vital that we take the time needed to examine our own hearts and motives first. The importance of this cannot be overstated, so please take the time to do this thoroughly by asking yourself and answering these questions:

1.      What is my motive in confronting this other person/group? If your answer reveals a desire for revenge, to put the other person in his/her place, or something of that flavor, please wait until your emotions have calmed down enough to handle the confrontation with respect for the other person.

2.      Am I ready to accept that the other person may not respond the way I would prefer? Take the time to release your expectations and desires to your heavenly Father. Going into the confrontation with an agenda can put both you and the other person on the defensive if/when things don’t go your way.

3.      Is this safe? Not to be melodramatic, but the truth is that some confrontations are unwise because the emotions involved can escalate in some situations putting one or both people at risk for harm—either verbally or physically. If it isn’t safe, don’t confront (or don’t go it alone). Common sense applies here. (As shared in detail in the above section.)

4.      What do I hope to gain? If you recognize that the importance is that your voice be heard, and not that the other person respond the way you desire, then you are probably ready to confront.

Remember … “the truth may be painful, but it should never be hurtful.” (James Eubanks) Check your motives, investigate your desires, evaluate your safety, and acknowledge your hopes before heading into a confrontation with another person or group. I believe these steps will help you to get your thoughts together for a respectful confrontation with just about anyone. (Just about!)

Go in peace.

 


Why Cant We Just Get AlongThis post is an excerpt from “Why Can’t We Just Get Along? Six Effective Skills for Dealing with Difficult People” written by Shelley Hendrix, Founder of Church 4 Chicks, and published by Harvest House Publishers. For more information on this book, along with a sneak peek and online ordering options, please visit: http://harvesthousepublishers.com/book/why-cant-we-just-get-along-2013/

This same excerpt was also featured on ValorieBurton.com (click here to see it there). 

Laughs After Your Worst Day: The Outtakes

We take adultery very seriously. And we don’t think your pain is anything to laugh at. But part of encouraging you to believe that there is LIFE after your worst day, is to give you hope that you will laugh again. Hope and joy are also seriously powerful in overcoming and healing. It’s safe to say there’s not only life after your worst day, but laughs, too.

There can even be laughs between two women that you may think wouldn’t have this much fun being around each other.

Two women, including one who was the other woman, who have known the pain of infidelity (in different ways), and the joy in being redeemed. Two women that didn’t seek revenge; they found redemption instead….

www.teamredeemed.org — Join the mailing list for updates about an upcoming, all-new, candid — and more serious — conversation between Healed Wife Shelley Hendrix and Redeemed Adulteress Rebecca Halton.

COMING SOON: A new (and serious) video series featuring a candid conversation between Shelley Hendrix & Rebecca HaltonSign up below for updates and details as they become available.


Contact the Team

We sincerely appreciate each e-mail we receive.  Please feel free to contact us at contact@teamredeemed.orgbut if this is your first time e-mailing us, please take a few minutes to watch this video about what to expect:


Would You Like to Invite Shelley and Rebecca to Speak at Your Church or Event?

Shelley & Rebecca are willing to travel as their schedules allow. To contact the team about speaking at your church or event, please send a detailed e-mail to contact@teamredeemed.org. Their stories of mistakes and redemption, pain and healing, are perfect for:

  • women’s ministry events,
  • marriage conferences, and
  • addiction-recovery meetings…as well as testimonial videos for sermons.

(They’re also available for podcast interviews, guest blogs, and more!)

Together they share things like:

  • red flags leading up to committing adultery (Rebecca)
  • how and why she ended the relationship (Rebecca)
  • strategies and tips for avoiding affairs in the first place (Rebecca)
  • how she found out her husband was having an affair (Shelley)
  • remarriage and co-parenting shared children after divorce (Shelley)
  • how she helped her children deal with the affair and divorce (Shelley)
  • how they forgave: themselves and the people who hurt them (Rebecca and Shelley)
  • how the church and/or counseling helped, or not, after their experiences (Rebecca and Shelley)
  • tips, tools, and resources for helping someone in an affair, or affected by adultery (Rebecca and Shelley)

…and more!  NOTE: Please only contact us if you can provide travel coverage, lodging, and compensation for their time.  If you have any questions, please e-mail the team at contact@teamredeemed.org.

Join the Team Redeemed Mailing List

Join the Team Redeemed mailing list for news, updates, encouragement, and more!


Former Adulteress and Once-Wounded Wife Answer Your Questions

Coming soon: All-New Videos Featuring Former Adulteress Rebecca Halton, and Once-Wounded Wife Shelley Hendrix

In a brand-new series of videos (coming soon), Team Redeemed Co-Captains Rebecca Halton and Shelley Hendrix talk candidly with each other, about the impact adultery had on each of their lives.  Real, and sometimes raw, they tackle topics and questions people ask them about the most.

In the meantime, watch the preview below, and click here to learn more and begin reading stories that give hope for “life after your worst day”! 

 


shelley headshot

Shelley Hendrix is a wife, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host –but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Shelley has been referred to as the “strongest female communicator on the topic of grace in our generation.” She also knows the pain of adultery.  Shelley is honored to now be married to Stephen Hendrix.

me

Rebecca Halton is an author, speaker, encourager, and “redeemed adulteress”.  People are often surprised by the frankness and freedom with which she shares about her redemption.

Rebecca is eager to help others avoid adultery, or find the forgiveness and healing she has.

How You Can Help Someone Leave an Affair

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently, is how someone can help a friend or loved one in an affair.  I myself experienced a whole range of reactions, when I confessed to being in an adulterous relationship (while it was going on).  As I look back I see how some reactions were more effective than others — if the person reacting had helping me in mind.

I confided in some of my closest friends because the secret was eating away at me.  And I had begun to realize I needed help.  Before and during my adultery I had begun to really isolate myself, so reaching out to others was an effort to reconnect.  To get help.  And to re-establish accountability, which was another pre-adultery red flag I talk about both in my book and this special audio-message.

Like I said, I experienced a variety of reactions.  But I want to focus here on one of the most effective ones.  In the video below, I share what it was and how it impacted my decision to ultimately leave the adulterous relationship:

I see now how my friends’ reactions were reminiscent of Jesus in John 8.  He didn’t isolate — or attack — the woman caught in adultery.  He didn’t turn her away; he defended and protected her. And then in the intimacy of it being just the two of them, he rules out the shame of condemnation — but convicts her with his exhortation to leave her life of sin.

I imagine in my mind how soft and warm his eyes were when he looked into hers.  Maybe even a bit tearful, knowing her pain and brokenness — and knowing the heartbreak of her Heavenly Father.  Heartbreak because of how much He loves her.  Heartbreak because He sees her heart, broken by self-loathing and shame and fear.

And then, when he convicted and encouraged her to repent and leave her life of sin, it was up to her to walk it out.  Here are three things you can do to help someone in an affair “walk it out” and walk away:

  1. Intercede through prayer.  I know I had family and friends praying for me — praying that I would finally have the strength to walk away.  Which I did.  There’s no doubt in my mind their prayers were powerfully integral.
  2. Speak the Truth.  The friend I refer to in the video above was truthful with me — and it was like cold water on my face that I needed.  She wasn’t angry with me, or hurtful — she was just honest about her own heart, her own hurt, her own concern.
  3. Draw boundaries.  If you’re dealing with someone who is unrepentant and doesn’t see anything wrong with their adulterous choices, you’ll need to consider putting up some boundaries.  You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.

meRebecca Halton is Author, Encourager, and Redeemed Adulteress. Her first book “Words from the Other Woman: The True Account of a Redeemed Adulteress” is her testimony of how she fell from grace — and then how grace saved her.

She now shares her story and hard-learned lessons, as a way of helping others avoid affairs or find redemption after leaving one. You can learn more at www.rebeccahalton.com.

Shelley: How I Found Out There Was Another Woman — And Moved Forward

The moment I found out that my greatest fear had come upon me, I was sitting at a desk talking on the phone to a friend who had also been a co-worker of my first husband.

I called her to ask her if she knew what was going on with him. How had this man who had proposed to me—twice!—had children with me, and given me his name, chosen to leave me with no real reason other than, “I don’t think we belong together anymore”?

Although I was very suspicious that there was someone else, my heart and mind did not want to go there. We had seen numerous professional counselors, ministers, and friends and he continued to deny that there was anyone else in the picture or in his life. I wanted to believe him, but something kept nagging at me that there was more than what my eyes were seeing.

I asked God to reveal to me anything that was hidden but needed to be revealed. And within about 9 days, He did just that. As I called this friend and asked a bold question, “Do you know if he is having an affair?” I honestly imagined her replying with some level of shock as she would say, “No way, Shelley. He is going through something but he would NEVER do that to you or the girls.”

But she didn’t say that.
Instead, the other end of the line got really quiet as she said:
“I’m so sorry. Yes, he is.”

I literally had to concentrate on breathing in and out. I cannot even begin to describe the storm of emotions and thoughts going through me. Every nerve felt exposed. I wonder if I did not have two precious little lives counting on me what I might have done in that moment.

But God…

Moving on when he moved out was a moment-by-moment process of relying on God’s strength to get me through. What got me through this and into a much better season? To keep this brief, I’ll bullet point some major “columns” that held me together while my world fell apart:

Intentionality with God and His Word—although books on divorce, adultery, marriage are good supplements, they should never replace the nourishment we receive from God’s own word.

Authentic relationships with God’s People—there were well-meaning people who offered unsolicited advice that wounded me in places where I was already hurting. But there were also people who stood with me in the pain and loved me through it. One woman called simply to say over the sound of my tears, “Shelley, I felt the nudge of the Spirit to tell you that there will be a better day. It won’t always feel like this.” And she was so right. There have been MANY, many better days since.

While it is true that our greatest wounds come through relationships, it is also true that our greatest healing also comes through relationships. Knowing that I wasn’t alone helped me to move on with my life, into the unknown of it all, while entrusting my life and the lives of my girls to a faithful Creator.


shelley headshot

Shelley Hendrix is wife to her best friend, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host — but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Click here to learn more about Shelley, who is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks and the author ofWhy Can’t We Just Get Along?