Affairs are a sudden and shocking death of trust in a relationship. For those who find out their partner had an affair, betraying their love, forgiving and forgetting that it happened is no simple matter. Depending on the closeness of the relationship and what caused the affair, you can expect there to be grief, trauma, pain, and remorse. Because such emotions arise, coping with the residual effects of an affair takes time.
Today, you are going to be introduced to the process for getting past the lingering grief and anxiety after an affair. Let’s get started.
Resiliency Plays A Role
The damage done by an affair is often subjective. People have their own notions about what cheating could be. Some people will be far more affected by learning their spouse slept with a coworker than learning they were sexting with an online friend. However, both instances can be perceived as a betrayal.
The person who committed the affair has no say in how their actions are perceived. What they did is on them, and they are responsible for the damage dealt.
For the hurt partner, your level of resiliency matters a lot. If you have been betrayed or hurt before, the affair is going to be a lot more difficult to get over. With healthy coping strategies, you may be able to get past the hurdles faster.
However, there is no reason to rush the healing process. You were hurt by the person you love most. Take all the time you need, and don’t shut the emotions away.
The Effects Of An Affair
Dealing with an affair is traumatic. There is the immediate aftermath, as well as a long-term influence on the relationship. Dazed by the revelation, you may need time to process your emotions. Meanwhile, your partner who betrayed you is asking for forgiveness or expressing guilt. The state of the relationship in the days and weeks after the affair is fragile and must be handled carefully to avoid sending you and your partner past the breaking point.
You may feel emotions such as:
- Self-loathing. You may blame yourself for your spouse’s infidelity.
- Poor self-esteem. When dealing with an affair, you come to the conclusion that the person you loved chose someone over you. While that isn’t entirely correct, it will certainly feel like that.
- Anxiety. Everything feels unsettled, and you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.
- Grief. Your marriage as you knew it is gone.
- Numbness. Maybe you are overwhelmed or don’t know what to feel. This is okay. Your brain has shut down to protect you.
Coping With The Residual Effects Of An Affair
During this difficult period, you will have to make a choice. How do you move on from here? How do you manage the emotions and the aftermath of the affair? The most important step in coping with an affair is to let yourself feel everything. Bottling up your emotions will only make the healing process more difficult.
Find a support system and a safe environment. If you don’t want to talk to your family about what happened, seek out a marriage counselor or relationship therapist, such as Couples Academy. The licensed therapist will provide you with the space to talk about your feelings without feeling judged. Plus, therapists can help pave the way toward recovery.
Whether you have decided to rebuild your marriage or not, the next step is important. Talk about the affair and find closure. Now that you have a support system, such as a therapist, behind you, you can better handle your emotions.
It’s time to sit down with your spouse and ask them why. Better yet, if you want to rebuild the relationship, attend couples counseling together. Learn what caused the affair, how you can improve, and resolve any issues surrounding the affair.
Trust Will Be A Huge Issue
Let’s face it. Your spouse went behind your back and made a mess of everything. Even once you have begun dealing with the trauma of the affair, you are still going to be hesitant to trust them. Distrust is one of the main lingering effects of an affair. While getting all the details about the affair and who it was with can help lessen your worries, there must also be other rules put into place.
For instance, you may decide on a No Contact rule between your spouse and the other person. You may also ask to see their phone every night they get home and to check their emails. In most cases, this has to happen. You must learn to trust your partner again, or there will always be a struggle.
Even in the briefest of affairs, a lack of trust is the biggest wall you will need to climb.
There is no quick and easy way to cope with the residual effects of an affair, sadly. Recovery takes time and effort from you and your spouse. You can, however, accelerate recovery by sitting down and speaking with a therapist. In therapy, you will be able to learn better coping and communication skills to manage the trauma.
The counselors at Couples Academy can help you cope with the pain of infidelity. Whether you want to strengthen your marriage after an affair or want to communicate more directly, there is a service for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about what we offer.