Are you stuck after an affair?
Learning about an affair or admitting to your partner you had an affair is one of the most painful events that can happen within a marriage or relationship. Whether you are the hurting partner or the unfaithful partner, getting stuck along the path of affair recovery is possible. Recovering from an affair is difficult. There is no way to minimize the hurt and pain you both will experience. And the reality is you both need to assume full responsibility for your marriage or partnership. Recovering from an affair is painful.
Tips for Moving Forward after an Affair
Accept your emotions
There are no right or wrong emotions. You are upset you, hurt or confused. This does not mean it’s ok to shout and scream and belittle or shame you partner. It’s important to realize you will have some pretty intense emotions and feelings. The pain, shame, hurt and all the other emotions you may be experiencing will come in waves. Sometimes you will feel OK. Other times you will be full of rage and anger, sadness and tears.
Accept your emotions. Allow yourself the time to be sad. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect and move on or get over the affair in days, weeks or even months. It’s Ok and necessary to give yourself time to mourn the loss and pain you are experiencing. And it’s important to allow yourself to feel you sad emotions, especially the sadness, anger and grieving of my loss. Pretending not to hurt or intellectualizing your emotions prevents you from healing.
You will have to do hard work
This is probably the hardest news for the betrayed partner to hear. After all you didn’t have the affair, nor did you ask to be hurt or betrayed. So why do you have to do the hard work? As tempting as it might be to expect your partner of spouse to fix this mess which you may see as his or her fault, it doesn’t work this way. Your partner is only human and not perfect. Allowing your partner to fix everything makes you passive in the process of transforming and healing your relationship. If you want this relationship to heal, you too, will need to be the author and creator of your marriage and the relationship you want.
Getting Even does’t work
You may think having an affair of your own will show your spouse how much betrayal hurts. But in the end, a revenge affair, causes more hurt and pain. You may wish to trash talk about your spouse, tell your in-laws or his or her friends about how awful your partner is. None of this is helpful.
Getting even or revenge is about punishment. To recover from an affair and betrayal , involves the two of you getting on the same team, working together to overcome the affair. Staying in your rage, anger and pain keeps you “right” and your partner “wrong” and this keep both of you stuck and prevents you from moving forward.
Controlling or Micromanaging your Partner
Discovering or revealing an affair is tough. As the betrayed partner you may wish to control or micromanage your partner’s behaviours, actions, emotions. You may find your are emotional reactivity to any little thing that reminds you of the affair. The challenge is try to control your partner doesn’t work. You need to give your spouse the space she or he needs to make his or her own choices. This allows you to see if you’re partner is truly committed to change and healing.
While micromanaging your partner may provide you with some temporary relief from your anxiety. And this can only occur if you allow your partner to make his or her own choices.
Dragging others into the Story
Dragging your kids whether they are children, teens or adults, your family friends into this mess is just unhelpful. An affair is a problem that needs to stay between you and partner. Involving your family does not allow the two of you to make the choices and decisions you feel are right for you and your family. Children need to know they can be safe and secure with both parents. They do not need to know this type of adult problems.
Involving friends and family can be destructive as they may be unable to accept your choice to stay or leave the relationship. This type of information also can prevent the two of you from healing as a couple, if family feel they need to choose sides.
Overcame the pain by working on myself
Most couples have the capacity to repair their relationship. And it takes courage to commit to working on themselves and their marriage. Too often we expect our spouse to FIX the problem. Or we see our spouse as THE problem. In reality each person in the relationship is responsible. Rage, disbelief, hurt, are all natural emotions. The challenge is just lashing out with uncontrollable anger is not helpful to you or your partner. If you want to work on your relationship or marriage, you need to take a hard look at yourself too and see where you can improve to be a better partner.
It takes time for you to heal from your loss and grief. Part of the process of affair recovery will involve you, mourning the loss of what you once thought your marriage was. And then through hard work together the two of your will work on creating a new possibility for your marriage and relationship. Neither one of you will forget what happened, but being able to forgive (for the hurt party, forgiving your spouse and for the betrayer, forgiving yourself) is a gift you give yourself and to your relationship.
Change and healing takes time. These are no shortcuts to healing from pain or rebuilding and strengthening your relationship. Seeking therapy form a marriage or couples therapists is a way to help both of you heal together as a couple or as individuals.