What should you expect when you find out your spouse or significant other has had an affair? Your life has been turned upside down. One minute life seems normal, everything seems okay. The next minute your life is shattered. Life as you know it is completely different. Will life ever feel okay again? Will you ever be able to sleep, eat, or feel joy again? Will you ever feel like a family again? It is expected for these questions to lay heavy on your heart. Although not every situation is the same, if you have recently found out that your spouse has been unfaithful, here are a few feelings you can expect. . .
You Will Not Feel Normal For A Minimum Of Six Months
Let me add, six months is a low estimation. You will feel like a zombie. You are going to forget kids school activities, meetings at work, or even to eat meals. You will be in a fog that will keep you from functioning even close to the level you once did. There are very few pains in this world worse than the feeling of betrayal, especially from the person you are closest to in this world. Know that regardless of what happens in your relationship, this fog at some point will be lifted. Life will not always feel this way, even though at times you are going to be certain that you are never going to feel better. Most importantly while you are in this mode, be kind to yourself. You are going through a traumatic time and it is more than okay for you to not be perfect or to not be at your best. Being hard on yourself is only going to make this time worse. You need grace and kindness and that has to start with you.
You Will Need Help For Your Relationship To Get Through This
Far too often I have clients that come to see me that are working through a second or third affair. One of the spouses has an affair, and the couple “sweeps it under the rug,” without really working through the issues that may have caused the affair to happen. Because the original causes were never worked through, history has repeated itself and it has happened again. If a second affair has not happened, sometimes I see the couple because there is still anger and resentment built up from an affair that happened years ago because the proper healing and grief process was never worked through.
There is a reason this affair happened. A relationship is a system where each piece is affected by the actions and movement of each person in the system. This did not happen in a vacuum. Looking at what broke down in the system is essential to proper healing and preventing this from happening again. If you put the time in now to work through this the right way, you are setting yourself up to create a marriage that will be healthy moving forward.
Telling Everyone In The World Will Be Hurtful To Your Relationship In The Long Run
When you feel so hurt by your partners betrayal, it is pretty normal to want to hurt them back. When you are in so much pain you just want them to understand that pain. Often people tell a lot of people in their life what has happened because they want everyone to see their spouse as the “bad guy.” They feel if everyone else knows what happen then it will cause them shame and pain. If you work through this affair with your spouse and get to a place with a healthier marriage, it may be hard for others to forgive your spouse. To save your marriage, it is going to take a lot of pain and work. You will learn more about the root cause and the brokenness in your relationship. You will walk it every day. Your friends and family will just see “they cheated.” They will not be there with you to see all the hard work and humbleness the betrayer has put into the relationship like you will. It is easy to judge from the outside and say “why would you stay with someone who cheated?” They have not walked in your shoes, they do not understand the process. They may judge your spouse forever and make future relationships with them difficult.
Having said this, having support is very important. I encourage the spouse that has been betrayed to talk to one or two close friends or supports that they can trust. Confidants that they feel will not judge. Telling all of your family, his family, and your friend group will only cause your relationship more difficulty in the long run.
You Do Not Have To Make A Decision Right Now
Because of the intense pain you feel, people often feel pressured to decide immediately whether they should work on the marriage or move on. They assume that will make their pain go away. At the end of the day your relationship needs time to determine what is the best course of action. Grieving an affair or the end of your marriage is similar to grieving a death. When you lose someone close to you a popular piece of advice is to not make any important decisions (moving, changing jobs) for six months. I feel like the same applies here. When you are in the crisis pain, you are not in a place to make life changing decisions. You need time to heal regardless if this marriage is going to work or not. Just running away, is not going to take your pain away. Your marriage and your children deserve time to determine what is the best course of action. Give it that.
In short, nothing is going to make this pain go away for you instantly. It will take time and energy to heal from this. Having help in moving forward is very important for not only you, but your relationship. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. There can be healing. If you need help along the road, I am here to help. I can be reached at (317)607-8983 or [email protected]