The list of the negative fall out from an affair is long. In addition to the hurt, shock, and lessening of self esteem, the feeling of being betrayed by the person who you should be able to trust most in the world can be the hardest blow. Working through an affair usually encompasses many difficult steps, but healing from a husband’s betrayal is often the most difficult. Notice I said difficult. I did not say impossible.
In no way am I defending your spouse or attempting to diminish the betrayal, but I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that I’ve seen countless women who have healed. And, I’ve seen countless marriages not only survive and rebound but also emerge stronger. So, I know that it can be done. But, I’ll be honest. It takes a lot of hard work, faith, and a willingness on both parties to step outside of their comfort zone to do what needs to be done. I’ll tell you how to start in the following article.
Your Healing Can’t Begin Until You’ve Expressed And Released Your Feelings (And Then Felt Heard): When women tell me that they’re stuck or can’t seem to move on, I always first take a look at what they’re holding in. Repressed feelings will almost always hold you back. And, many women don’t allow themselves to admit their true feelings even to themselves. Anger hurt, and betrayal are not pleasant emotions to experience. So, it’s perfectly natural to want to close them off, diminish your contact with these feelings, and move on as quickly as you can.
The problem with this though is that if you don’t admit, verbalize, release, and then move through these feelings, they are always going to continue to turn up. You can’t begin to feel better until you deal with them. They will come out and reveal themselves through negative feelings like self-doubt, resentment, anger, and an unwillingness to move forward.
So, not matter how difficult it may feel, you need to admit to yourself and to your husband exactly what you are feeling even if it feels ugly and very unpleasant. You are entitled to these feelings and they are perfectly normal. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to repeatedly spew punishing rants over and over again. Not at all. But, you do need to be honest. You do need to let him know just how much this has hurt, just how much you are struggling, and just what you need to move forward.
And, once this is done, you need to know that he has heard you, has understood and has taken the words to heart so that he isn’t tempted to repeat this behavior ever again.
In Order To Heal From The Betrayal, You Must Know That It Wasn’t Your Fault: Another thing that really keeps women from healing is that somewhere deep down, they suspect that the affair was in some way their fault. They think things like “well, I should’ve paid attention to the signs that were right in front of me,” or “I should’ve given him more attention,” or “how was I so stupid?” These feelings are also natural, but they in no way help you. When you feel this negative self-talk starting, it’s important to stop yourself and reroute where you are going.
In truth, affairs have more to do with your husband’s shortcomings than yours. Men have affairs to feel better about themselves. It is a way to soothe their self-esteem, make them feel young, vibrant and interesting again, and an attempt to fix what is broken with them – not with you or with your marriage. Statistically speaking, men admit to greatly regretting their affair over 90 percent of the time, so know that in all likelihood, once your husband has some distance behind this, he will see this as his own regrettable mistake.
So, there’s no need to take his mistake onto your own shoulders. Yes, there may have been places where you left your marriage vulnerable. Yes, you maybe could have paid more attention. But, you are not the one who made the decision to cheat – he was. Understand this and leave the issue behind so that you can move forward.
Know What You Need And Ask For It: To really heal, you’ll need to identify what you need. Some women want a lot of time with their husbands. They need reassurance, accountability, and a lot of communication. Others will need a cool off period to process this. But, almost every one will need for their husband to accountable and transparent. Many will want to know where he is and what he is doing. Many will not want him to participate in behaviors like going out with questionable friends or taking over night business trips. Whatever things are no longer acceptable to you will need to be eliminated. Your husband, unfortunately, can’t read your mind, so you’ll need to speak up and ask for these things.
Finally, it’s often necessary to work on your self esteem and yourself outside of the marriage. You need to build yourself up so that you know that you are good enough and are not at fault. When you are able to do this, you’ll begin to believe that, once you’ve both done the necessary work and improved your marriage, your husband can still love you, can still be trustworthy, and can still be an important part of your life and your family, despite one fleeting mistake.
I know that working through this and healing is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. 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 is 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/