Surviving an affair is possible – and the choice is always yours as to what you want to do – stay or go.
People say cheating and lying are not struggles, but valid reasons for a breakup or divorce. It can be a truly scary feat to find undiscovered things about your spouse that have a capacity of diminishing their value in your eyes. Finding out that your spouse is having an affair can erode your self-esteem, your strength and the very foundation upon which your marriage stands.
In this blog you will discover how to cope up with the disappointing revelation of an affair, steps to deal with your reaction and feelings, and how to recover from the blow. It is, of course, easier said than done. This will be a slow process, as trust cannot be magically handed over to other people, especially after a major breach, but in due time, it is likely that you will be successful in getting to a point where you will be able to look at things with a broader horizon.
Asking questions can give you a clear perspective on where you stand in the picture. Initially, you may want to know all the factual details, like when the line was crossed? How often did the meetings take place? And where were these meetings arranged? After that, you can graduate to more emotional questions like how much information about your private life was shared? Or what kind of emotional bond operated in the relationship? Answers to these questions will be difficult for you to digest, and its important to know just how much information you want. Once a fact is known – it can not become unknown. You should know enough – but sometimes getting the explicit details can just do more harm. Go slow.
Balance your anger with the need for information
It is highly difficult to balance your emotions after such damaging news and you have every right to scream and cry in order to let off the steam. But once you are done, try to strike a harmony in your actions. The only way you will get the information truthfully from your spouse is if you don’t lash out and keep your temper under control, so that your partner doesn’t feel threatened in disclosing. If one of you becomes upset during the talk, mark that as the end of discussion for that sitting, and cool off by temporarily terminating the discussion. Take urgency off the table. This is going to take time.
Set a time limit for hard talk
Try not to engage in this topic every time you talk to your spouse. Set a time limit, and get all your answers, but don’t bring it up over and over again if you are looking for a real solution. It takes time to make peace with a cheating spouse, but don’t let it get out of hands by spontaneous back lashing and name calling. It will further deteriorate your relationship.
Discuss how the affair has affected you
Once you feel you are coming to terms with reality, talk about how you feel about the affair and how it has affected you.
Studies show that talking about the thing that hurts you is a way of alleviating the pain caused by it. You can talk about your feelings to your friends or your therapist – but choose wisely. Professional help will give you a fresher perspective on your situation and you will be better able to handle your circumstances. You can let your spouse know how deeply your emotions and sense of security were violated at their actions, so that they know what kind of recovery and healing treatment you need from them.
Don’t rush into forgiveness
Keep in mind that you are not obliged to forgive your spouse immediately – or ever, in fact. Your spouse must realize the graveness of situation and earn the forgiveness. Allow yourself ample grieving period and time to understand your pain before you are ready to rebuild trust. It is true that you will never forget the affair, but the hurting memories will fade with time. Forgiveness allows you to move past the rage and make a genuine effort to reconcile with your partner. Thus, it is critical that you take this step when you know you are fully ready to put this all behind and can trust your partner to be fully honest to you. In this, you can accept the humanity of your spouse – their flaws as well as their good traits.
Find a support system
Finding support system in your friends and family is crucial to your mental well being. But again, be cautious. When revealing the details with family and friends – are you going to regret this later? Private is private. Think it through. And don’t forget the other aspects of your life – don’t get tunnel vision. Go for walks, take fitness classes, and do other things that are normal in order to strike a balance between positive and negative thoughts in your head. It is also vital for your thinking capabilities, as a fresh mind is able to look at things from multiple perspectives and formulate a solution accordingly. Don’t forget that you have a life outside your marriage, and that if things are going haywire in one direction, it doesn’t mean all facets of life should be affected by it.
Spend time together without conversing about the affair
For the healing process to continue fairly uninterrupted, it is important that you take some time out as a couple in order to reconnect with each other. It may sound like the hardest thing to do, and it is, but you will have to take this step in order to put your marriage back on track. You may find hidden weaknesses in your marriage through these reconnection sessions, and you may also discover new things about your spouse. The key here is to not give into emotional strain and give your relationship a second chance to mature into something that is worth its while.
What is imperative to understand in this situation is that if you share a significant history with your spouse, and if you have kids, you may not want to treat an affair as a deal breaker, especially when you feel that your spouse is genuinely ashamed of the deed. You might be feeling devastated, and it might be too much to ask you to look at the bigger picture. In this situation, you have an option of seeking professional help and counseling, so that you can begin your long journey down the bumpy road to recovery.
Finally – think about getting professional help. This is a hard and long road. Lean on someone that has the skills to get you through to the other side.