When you are dealing with infidelity or an extramarital affair you very likely feel hurt, angry, and if you had the affair probably guilty.
I want to reassure you that it is possible for your relationship/marriage to recover once the initial wave of these strong feelings has began to subside. I promise you - they will subside and you will feel better, but give yourself some time.
If you are both able to face up what has happened, there is every possibility that you can create a better, if different, relationship than before. However, you need to be patient. It will take time. You will be grieving for the loss of your relationship - as it was before the affair.
Be aware too that, however difficult it is for the ‘wronged’ partner and however much you may not want to be sympathetic, the one who had the affair may feel bereft for the loss of the other person.
If your husband/wife/partner has had extra marital affairs before, all the hurt from the previous occasion will immediately have been triggered again. If it has happened before, you may need to consider if you really want to stay married to this person.
Want to begin to sort out your relationship/marital problems straight away? Check out my page How to save your marriage/relationship for a review of one of the best relationship rescue programmes.
To recover, be prepared to:
seek help after the affair, couple/relationship counselling or marriage guidance can really help
stop blaming each other - it is totally understandable that you feel angry, but rowing isn't going to help you sort things out
confront the problems in your relationship - you may already be aware that there were problems in your relationship or marriage before the affair
confront yourself, take responsibility - for your own recovery and your own role in what went wrongchallenge your behaviour, wronged or not
read my anger management tips
remind yourself of all that is/was positive in your relationship/marriage, however difficult as at least some of that provides a basis on which to try to resolve the calamity
set time aside to talk - agree not to talk about the infidelity during the rest of the day
set a reasonable time limit on the conversation about the affair for that day - 20 minutes or so a day, maybe longer - it has to be a negotiated time
read my advice on relationship communication
accept it may take months to recover - however, you won't feel as raw as you probably do now - it will get easier as you are beginning to deal with and sort your relationship problems
If you can't contain yourself and go through all that, and you really are considering ending your marriage/relationship, my relationship compatibility test will help you to consider if indeed it is a good idea for you to end your marriage/relationship.
Questions about hypnosis? See: Hypnosis online FAQ.
Women are more likely to want to talk about feelings, and know all the details (keep in mind that it may actually be completely reversed for you).
Men more often want to leave it behind and concentrate on the future, which could mean either not talking about it or a divorce.
Both of you will have difficulties with trust. The wronged partner is likely to feel the need to check up constantly. The adulterer is likely not to trust that he/she will ever be forgiven. In addition, since he/she has been dishonest, the adulterer is more likely to suspect their partner of having an affair/being dishonest.
Indeed, ’not trusting’ could be considered a good strategy for the wronged person. Also some people are intent on getting revenge, so the wronged partner may at some point in the future feel 'entitled' to having and extra marital affair and be forgiven for their infidelity. I would so warn against that strategy - it really won't solve anything.
An affair destroys all trust and it can take a long time to rebuild trust - months, perhaps even years. Nevertheless it may be possible, in the meantime, to rebuild a loving relationship and a rewarding otherwise happy marriage. Your dealing with infidelity becomes part of the tapestry.
If your husband, wife or partner has been having a marital affair, your he/she will need to give you lots of reassuring messages. When you are dealing with infidelity - sharing attention, talking, getting to know each other again, outings, changing routines, etc. can do much to help the marriage to survive the affair.
Tackling longstanding problems head on now must also be on the agenda. Do whatever you can to deal with any underlying problems. There is plenty of information on my site to help you start doing that and of course Lee Baucom's programme can set you on the right track.
Perhaps this is the time that you can accept your own fallibility as a human being. There is never a 100% guarantee about anything in human relationships. You are responsible, not for your partner's affair, but for how you deal with your own insecurities, hurt and anguish. Who you are, what you stand for, what your behaviour has been like can never be an excuse for an affair - there is no excuse - it is a reality check.
However much you would want your partner/spouse to sort it out, and however much you hope that your relationship can survive - in the end the only control you have, is how you are going to deal with it. Have a look at my page: Get your ex back, where I review another resource, which may be useful too right now.
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During the initial crisis after finding out about the extramarital affair, give yourself at least a couple of weeks, without expecting too much of yourself. ‘Coping with not coping’ is the only realistic expectation, when you are dealing with infidelity in this situation.
Try and manage only essential and familiar activities and responsibilities - such as doing your job or seeing to the children. This will start the healing process.
That terrible raw feeling will fade gradually. You won’t be out of the woods for a while, but that sense of having been traumatised passes usually within a few weeks.
If you find it difficult to function you may want to consider some telephone counselling. Having some extra support and an independent person to run things by can help you to cope much better. Calling someone and arranging an appointment by itself will help you feel a little more in control.
How you deal with infidelity depends, without a doubt, on whether the affair has finished. Suspecting that your partner is (still) seeing another/THE other woman/man is an awful place to be in for the wronged party. If that is happening to you, it is time to take action!
You want to be prepared for what might happen next, so learn how
to look after yourself and fight to
get your partner back. However, if you have questioned
your relationship compatibility from the start, now is the time to
reconsider your commitment.
Being sure that your partner isn't cheating on you won't solve the problems between the two of you, when you think you may be dealing with infidelity. Neither will it cure your pre-existing insecurities, but at least it an settle your mind, so that you can focus on dealing with your relationship problems.
Fine-tune your relationship and lift your spirits!
You may also be interested in:
| How to apologise
Signs of infidelity
How to end a relationship
End relationship quiz
How to deal with depression
How to build your self-esteem
Images courtesy of: Billy Alexander