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What Does “Real Restitution” for Serious Betrayal in a Relationship Look Like?

In Episode 230, the betrayed parter of a porn/sex addict submitted her situation and some questions to PBSE surrounding the CRITICAL issue of "restitution." Here's how she expressed it—

Over the course of our 25 year long marriage, my husband had two emotional affairs, a decade and a half long porn addiction and a 2 year long physical and emotional affair with a coworker. I was completely blindsided—no inklings or gut feelings. It has been brutal but we are working hard to heal. He has been in honest recovery for a little over a year. He has been through the 12 Steps and worked with our ecclesiastical leader. Both have encouraged some form of restitution. Obviously, he can’t unsee all the porn and undo all the selfish, hurtful things he did and said to me. I have asked him what restitution looks like (or means) for him. He said it was to try and become his best, highest self that God intends him to be —living wholeheartedly and try to not cause anymore suffering in the world. Is that restitution? Is working on yourself to be a better human and husband the same as making restitution? It seems like that is what he should’ve been doing - independent of me - all along. If that isn’t restitution—then what is? How do you make restitution for serious betrayals?

In this episode, Mark & Steve get SUPER passionate, raw and real about this issue!

  • Let’s Talk Restitution for a Minute:

  • Sexual betrayal in a relationship is like a major "robbery"! Why and how?

  • Restitution IS—

  • A demonstration of contrition

  • A FULL (as much as possible) RESTORATION of WHAT WAS STOLEN:

  • Innocence

  • Hope

  • Connection

  • Trust

  • Time

  • Commitment

  • Fidelity


  • Restitution is NOT—

  • Something the addict determines

  • Doing the things that you should have done all along—getting to the “starting line” that she thought she had and you promised in the beginning, such as—

  • Proactively connecting—being FULLY present

  • Making and Keeping COMMITMENTS

  • Providing exclusivity

  • Pursuing your partner RELENTLESSLY

  • How does a porn/sex addict in recovery actually provide restitution following betrayal?

  • Creatively and Proactively, he does the following—

  • Inquire: what have I stolen from you? Her narrative, NOT YOURS!

  • Communicate: Sincere, complete apologies, including commitments for long-term change and consistent follow-through. Provide ONGOING empathy where needed.

  • Provide potential ideas for restitution: come up with a list, show how YOU (not her) are going to sacrifice to make these changes.

  • Collaborate with her: Share your ideas, humbly ask for feedback, and make consistent ongoing change as necessary.

Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program at—

Find out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension Counseling

Learn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services

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