“How long does it take to finally get over and heal from a spouse’s affair once and for all?” in the million dollar question in the world of infidelity. An affair can destroy intimacy and trust in the relationship and leave pain, betrayal, and doubt in its aftermath that is hard to get over. Even though the cheated on party may desperately want to get over the affair and has, in their heart, truly forgiven their spouse, often the little issues of resentment and distrust remain.
It can be very difficult to get the images of your husband and the other woman out of your head. I can’t tell you how many times I’m told something like, “I really do want to get over the affair, but I just can’t seem to. I can’t stop thinking about it and I find myself lashing out at him even though he’s trying so hard to make things right. When will this finally be over?”
The answer to this question will depend upon the circumstances. However, the short answer is that you will really get over the affair once you get what you need to truly heal. I will discuss what these things are in this article.
Why You Shouldn’t Put Pressure On Yourself By Imposing A Time Limit To Heal From Or Get Over The Affair: I often tell people that healing from infidelity doesn’t come in a straight line. In other words, one day you may make great progress and begin to feel better, and then a few days later the old negative feelings may come back and you will become discouraged. It’s so important to understand that this is completely normal. And the bad days don’t in any way cancel out the good days. Know that there are better days ahead and do whatever you need to do to nurture yourself during the bad days. Get out of the house. Work out. Go shopping. Do whatever you need to do to reduce the stress, rewire the destructive thoughts, and distract yourself toward something more positive.
The worst thing that you can do is to allow these negative set backs to contribute to your taking action or behaving in such a way that is only going to cause more hurt or destruction. Many women tell me that they are tempted to say or do something hurtful to their husband (or even worse, to cheat themselves) to “get even.” This is a bad idea in so many ways. It will only cause more negative feelings and confusion. Focus on what you can do – with your own actions that you can control – to salvage positive rather than negative feelings. You can do this completely apart and separate from your husband. Focus on yourself. Be selfish for a while. You need this and don’t be shy about taking what you need.
Defining, Asking For, And Getting Exactly What You Need To Heal And Get Over The Affair: As I said earlier, how long it takes to move past an affair depends entirely on how quickly you get what you need to heal. This is going to be slightly different for everyone, but I’m going to tell you what I see as the most common things that most women (and men) need when they have been cheated on.
Have Your Feelings Been Heard And Understood?: So many people hold or choke back their feelings because they know that the affair has left their marriage or relationship on thin ice. So, they don’t want to say anything that would make this worse. But, if you don’t let these feelings out and you don’t feel heard and understood, you won’t truly be able to move forward. All of these nagging doubts, resentment, and insecurities will ensure that you remain stuck.
Do You Know Exactly Why The Affair Happened And Have You Taken Safeguards To Make Sure It Won’t Happen Again?: In order to truly move on after an affair, you must know that the cheating won’t happen again so that you can restore the trust. The marriage can’t really heal if one of the spouses is going in with only half of their heart or half of their trust.
In order to restore this trust, you must define why things went wrong. This requires a lot of open conversation and an honest look at your marriage. This can be painful, but the reward of doing this is that you can then fix what was broken so that you know that the vulnerabilities in your marriage are gone. Sometimes, you will have to take drastic, but necessary steps. If the affair happened at work, your spouse will need to change jobs or departments. Healing after an affair isn’t really possible if either of you will have to deal with the other person on a regular basis. If the affair happened while out with friends, those friends will need to be discarded. Basically, anything that is a dangerous temptation in your marriage must be removed, at least until the healing is complete and you are both comfortable.
Are You Getting The Accountability And Reassurance That You Need?: So many people really want their spouses to give them reassurance that they still find them sexy, desirable, etc., but they don’t tell their spouses this. And, the cheating spouse doesn’t want to do the “wrong thing” so they will often do nothing. In this way, no one is really getting their needs met.
Sometimes, you really want to see those cell phone records and emails so that you will know that there is nothing to worry about, but you don’t want him to think that you don’t trust him. The truth is, it’s absolutely OK to gently ask for these things. Just explain that although you are moving forward, having these things is necessary for your peace of mind, at least right now. This will change as you begin to heal, but for the time being, you are right to ask for the reassurance that you need.
Have You Restored Your Self Esteem?: It will be impossible for you to believe that you still make your spouse’s heart beat faster if you don’t find yourself desirable. If the affair has wrecked your self-esteem, take the necessary steps to repair it. This will be different for each person, but common ways to do this are losing some weight, toning up, making the most of your appearance, and surrounding yourself with positive people and the things that make you happy. It’s also important to focus on yourself as a competent individual, not just 1/2 of a marriage that has recently had issues.
Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy are much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self-esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/