Right now, you may not feel any relief knowing that countless couples have been split apart by unfaithful behavior. Infidelity is such a breach of trust that you feel shattered. You are so thoroughly broken after infidelity that you may not know how to survive. The good news is that there is a way. Not only that, but you can bring your relationship back from the brink after infidelity. Let’s discuss how to survive the emotional fallout of an affair.
Find Out What Happened
The most important step in coping with the emotional fallout of infidelity is to find out what happened. The truth is that an affair is never just an affair. A one night stand is different from a five year long affair. Although both betrayals cannot be justified, one is more easily understood and forgiven than the other. A drunken affair suggests poor decision making that your unfaithful partner can work on in therapy. A long term affair that lasts for years suggests something else entirely.
It may be hard to hear, but affairs are rarely ever done on a whim. Though those who cheat are usually opportunistic, there is calculation involved to conceal the betrayal. The depth of the betrayal and the number of boundaries that have been violated will tell you a lot.
In the end, it is up to you. Will you maintain the relationship or end it? If you choose to rebuild your relationship, the issues behind the affair must be addressed. Coming to terms with the amount of work that has to be done will help you progress.
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Infidelity can be a traumatic experience, and it’s important to allow yourself to feel and express your emotions. This may involve crying, journaling, or talking with a trusted friend or therapist. Remember, there is no official timeline for infidelity recovery. You may take only days to recover from the trauma of learning about your partner’s infidelity (or the loss of an affair). For others, it may take weeks. Move at your own pace, and do not let yourself feel rushed into doing anything.
Seek Professional Support
If there is one thing about infidelity, it is that it can make you feel truly alone in the world. You may feel estranged from your faith, from your friends, and your family. You may feel like you cannot speak to the one person you trusted most in the world—your partner. However, it is important to have emotional support at this time. Speaking with a therapist, like those at Couples Academy, can help reduce the feelings of confusion and loneliness. Sessions with a therapist can also give you a safe space away from your partner where you can process all that has happened.
Set Healthy Boundaries
In a time when the ground under your feet feels unstable, you are going to need a sense of security. Setting boundaries around communication, personal space, physical contact, and other things can help you establish expectations and protect your emotional well-being. It may seem strict, but you must do what you can to feel safe. Do not be afraid to be firm with the unfaithful partner about your needs and wants. They have betrayed you, and if they are truly remorseful for the hurt they have caused, your boundaries should not be a problem.
Coping with the emotional fallout of an affair can be draining. There is no doubt that you are going to be dealing with strong emotions. Some victims of infidelity may even develop PTSD-like symptoms that are set off by triggers. In order to lessen the burden on your well-being, practice self-care. This may include taking some time to yourself away from your partner, engaging in hobbies that you love, and using relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy.
Focus on the Here and Now
Infidelity has a way of slowing down the world. You may find yourself trapped in the past, wondering what you could have done better to stop your partner from having an affair. You constantly ponder where you went wrong. This is not going to serve you well. Instead, try focusing on what has to be done today. Use the present moment to reduce your feelings about the past and future. Those can wait. The present is much more stable, because you are experiencing it right now.
Practice mindfulness when you can, as it can reduce feelings of anxiety.
As with any form of healing, infidelity recovery is a long, arduous process. You will find that your patience is constantly tested. It’s important to be patient with yourself and others during this time. Allow yourself and your partner time and space to heal completely. Do not rush another during the healing process. Show compassion when necessary, and be empathetic to what you and your partner are feeling.
You Can Survive The Emotional Fallout
Coping with the emotional fallout of an affair can be challenging, but with time, effort, and support, it is possible to move towards healing and emotional well-being. It’s important to remember that healing from infidelity is a process, and it may involve setbacks and challenges along the way. This is all normal. With support from Couples Academy, you can move on with a positive outlook for the future. Our team is here to help you gain new coping and communication skills, so you can start rebuilding your relationship. Give us a call or fill out the contact form today to learn about our services.