Your self-esteem takes a hit, and you feel completely out of control and like you will never be happy again.
The thing is, whether your marriage survives or not — you can recover and heal after an affair.
You Only Control Yourself
It’s hard to accept, but no matter how much you love your spouse you have no control whatsoever over their actions. You really can only control yourself. You may be hurt, upset, and even guilty — but the only thing that matters is how you react to the challenges that face you. If you react in extreme ways you will only escalate drama and trauma. When something is especially upsetting just take a beat before reacting and more than likely you’ll make better choices of how you will react to things.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Your spouse, your friends and family cannot and likely will not do much unless you ask for help or bring up the topic. Infidelity is something that people generally like to sweep under the rug. It makes people uncomfortable. Family members may trash talk your spouse, if you don’t want them to do that, tell them what you need from them. Everyone wants the best for you but only you know what that is. Do not be afraid to let people know what you want and need from them. If they can’t do it, you might need to separate yourself from them for a short period of time.
Take the Blame for Your Part in the Marriage Breakdown
Marriages don’t live or die one sided. It takes two to tango. While it’s true that in some rare cases people cheat due to internal problems and will not cop to any problems within the marriage, the people who tend to overcome it, either by moving on past their marriage and finding happy relationships with someone else, or by making their marriage work – figure out what they could have done differently and fix their own problems.
Do Something Special for Yourself
Be kind to yourself. Get a massage, sign up for yoga, read a good book. Do something for yourself that you’ve not done in a long time. People who take care of themselves tend to have happier lives in general, and this is very true of people who have had to deal with infidelity. Healing after an affair is hard, but not impossible, especially if you find a way to take care of yourself. You’re honestly the only one who can do this job.
Improve One Thing about Yourself
When you go through the trauma of an affair your self-image can take a nose dive. You likely have identified a lot of things you want to fix about yourself. Be careful. You’re likely not looking at yourself with clear eyes and are being too judgmental. Instead choose only one thing to change and improve about yourself. Once you’ve completed that task you can move on to the next thing.
Forgive Your Spouse Even if You Do Not Stay Married
Someone once said that “Forgiveness is not a gift you give to someone else, it’s a gift you give to yourself.” This is very true. If you don’t forgive your ex, you will be miserable forever and every time you think of them, whether you stay together or not, it will be a negative experience. Don’t do that to yourself. When you forgive someone you don’t have to forget. The words “forgive and forget” should never have been intertwined. That’s not what forgiveness is.
If you have any responsibility for anything, you must also forgive yourself. Even if all you do is forgive yourself for choosing the wrong partner, or reacting in a crazy manner – let it go, no one is perfect. Forgive yourself for being human. Humans are messy and that’s okay. As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t keep repeating them no mistake is unforgivable.
Learn From Your Mistakes
When you make a mistake, or even when someone else does, if you seek to learn from it you can become a better person. Without sadness it’s hard to understand happiness. Without risk there is no reward. When you think you’ve made a mistake make notes of what you think you did wrong without judgment. Then list the things you could have done differently, given another opportunity. This will help you if you face the same choices again.
Get Professional Help
Healing after an affair often requires professional help. It doesn’t matter if you plan to stay married or not. You likely need professional help if you’re struggling to move through the next phase of your life. If you want to truly experience happiness, a counselor, or life coach can help you work through specific issues and problems so that you can personally heal after an affair.
Healing after an affair takes work. You can’t just brush it under the rug or solve the problems with divorce. The truth is, if you don’t work on your own problems and issues it is likely you will repeat the same choices again in a different relationship. This is not to say it’s your fault if someone cheats on you, but people tend to date and marry the same type of person again and again. If you don’t face your issues and truly work on them, it’ll be difficult to heal after an affair.