I often get correspondence from wives who are greatly struggling with learning that their husband has had or is having an affair. They are often shocked, deeply hurt, and feeling quite betrayed. Often, even if they have seen friends and acquaintances going through this, they never thought that this would happen to them and they're feeling quite vulnerable and devastated, especially in the beginning.
I understand this deeply as I went through it myself. Sometimes, you wonder if you're going to be able to get through this with your happiness and your self esteem in tact. You wonder if you have it in you to effectively cope with this. And, you wonder if things feel ever feel "right" or reasonably normal again. All of these things can eventually happen. I am living proof of that. Sometimes it just takes work and time, but it can and often does happen. In the following article, I'll offer some tips and advice on how to effectively cope with his affair, while keeping your own well being in tact.
Accept That The Past Can Not Be Changed. It's The Present And The Future That Counts: Here's one thing that you can count on to be absolutely true. You can save yourself a lot of time and agony if you can just wrap your brain around the fact that you can not change what has happened. What is in the past has to remain there. You can't undo this, no matter how much you might like to.
So, dwelling on this is not going to undo this wrong or turn back the clock. Many of us (myself included) spend a lot of time spinning our wheels going over and over this and lamenting how unfair it all is. It absolutely is unfair. No one can argue that. But what is done is done. It can not change. So your time and energy is always going to be better spent on moving forward and working on fixing what is in front of you right now. This is where your focus should be, because placing it in the past does not good and only continues to wound you when nothing can be changed anyway.
Place Your Focus On Yourself, Not On Him, His Affair, Or What You Did Wrong: It may well be your inclination to focus on what he is and was thinking and feeling, and there may be a time for that later, but in the early stages, safeguarding your own well being has got to be priority number one. Worry about yourself and what will make things better for you, and not necessarily better for him.
You are likely hurt, confused, and struggling at times. There is a lot on your plate so you can not worry about what everyone under the sun besides yourself thinks and feels. You have to be your number one priority right now. You have to ask yourself what you need to make things as bearable as they can possibly be. This is not the time to be selfless or to worry that you are being self centered. You are going to need to be your own most loyal and vigilant ally right now.
And, resist any urge to beat yourself up, blame yourself, or make any rash decisions. None of this was your fault. You did nothing wrong. You can not and should not punish yourself for someone else's unfortunate decision and actions. You did not cause this so there is no reason to blame or punish yourself. Although you may not believe me when I say that you might feel very differently with the passage of time, this often bears out to be true. That's why it's important that you take the time that you need and resist making lasting changes or decisions when you are probably not in the emotional state of mind to best do so.
When You Are Ready, Define What You Want And Need To Move Forward: Once you've had time to process all of this, take some time to ask yourself what it's going to take to help you begin to inch forward. For some women, this means that they will need some answers. For some, this means that they want to work with their spouse on the marriage. For others, it might mean that they want to determine why this happened in order to keep it from happening again. Some will decide they need to be on their own for a while.
What you need is going to vary, but be honest (even with yourself) about what this is. There are no right and wrong answers. And you don't get any special award or metal if you are a martyr. Remember that this is about you and your healing. You are the only one who is going to know what you need. And if you don't ask for and demand it, then you may not get it.
When you have decided what you need and want, work tirelessly to get it without apology. As unfair as it is, sometimes it is you who is going to have to provide these things for yourself. You may have to ask or demand that these things happen, but never stop short of what you truly want and deserve. Just because someone else acted in a hurtful way, this doesn't mean that you should let this derail you. Your happiness and well being is as important as everyone else's. And honestly, sometimes the self work that comes after an affair ends up being the most healthy thing that has ever happened to you. Because it forces you to define what is really important and to go after it.
In my own case, I might never had made the positive changes that I ultimately made if I were not forced into this life altering event. Was it painful and awful? Yes, it was. But ultimately, I used it as a catalyst to bring some positive things out of what was, especially at first, a quite negative and painful event.
I know that dealing with his affair, no matter when it happened, can be very challenging and painful, 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. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/