Affairs are full of grief. You grieve the betrayal, the condition of your marriage, and the loss of trust. But what about the partner who had the affair? Should you be understanding if your spouse is mourning the affair and the loss of it? Despite the anger you may feel towards them for being unfaithful, they should be allowed to grieve.
What matters most is that your partner, no matter their grief, has chosen to stick by your side and recover from the affair.
Why Do People Mourn The End of Affairs?
There are many kinds of affairs out there. Short, one-night stands. Long-term infidelity that lasts for years or decades. There is even emotional cheating. In other words—and as painful as it may be to acknowledge—affairs can be meaningful and significant to those in them.
Relationships are intense things that live and breathe, just like the people that form them. Losing someone is never easy. Cutting someone off is not easy. Saying goodbye? Also not easy.
What makes the grief of an affair all the more painful is that, for the unfaithful partner, this grief is attached to shame and guilt. Because your partner knows how badly their actions hurt you, they sit with their grief, guilt, shame, and fear alone. After all, how could they come to you with this sense of loss after they had done such a thing?
So they sit and ruminate, their silence growing more toxic.
Should I Be Understanding If My Spouse Mourns The Affair?
The answer is not as simple as a yes or no. You will be grieving as well, and it may be hard to cope with the fact that your spouse is grieving, too. Though you may grasp that your spouse had a connection with the affair person, accepting it is a whole other task. However, it helps immensely with affair recovery to acknowledge these feelings that you are both going through.
Grief is not a bad thing.
Grief does not mean that your partner wishes they had chosen their affair partner over you. It also does not mean that your partner won’t work on rebuilding your marriage alongside you.
Grief is a natural human reaction to loss, and they need to be allowed to feel it, release it, and heal from it before their marriage can be rebuilt on a healthier foundation than before.
How Can I Help My Spouse Through Their Grief?
Being that you are both committed to sticking together, there are a couple of things you can do to help your spouse move beyond their affair partner. The best thing is to attend couples therapy for infidelity recovery. Alongside a therapist, you and your partner can start to mend the broken parts of the relationship—and yourselves. Throughout the grieving process, your therapist can help you both confront internal struggles.
For your spouse, processing their grief will not be a smooth ride. Therapy will give them the space to speak about their loss without being judged, but you may want to open up the topic as well. By offering to talk about their feelings, it shows them that you are willing to listen.
A major component of affair recovery is talking about the affair. Learning how to communicate how the affair impacted you both is important to get to the bottom of it all. In the end, you can help your partner heal from their grief and prevent an affair from ever happening again.
Be Patient. Be Kind.
During this recovery period, you will be going through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is important to be kind to yourself and to your partner. Even with therapy, there will be times when you think you are going crazy. Your partner feels the same.
The healing journey will take time, and there will be days when everything seems brittle. You may feel tempted to snap at your partner (or maybe they do the same to you), but just remember that they are emotional, too.
Grief is complicated, especially in affairs. So be kind to one another when you can. Open up when it feels right. And be sure to discuss how you feel with a couples therapist, as they can guide you through the most intricate of problems.
Rebuild Your Marriage Together
Affairs are like earthquakes that shake everyone caught up in them to their core. Everyone involved is hurt and grieving. While it may be hard to accept that your spouse is grieving over the loss of their affair, try not to hold them in contempt for it. By attending couples therapy with Couples Academy and discussing the affair, you can both work through your grief safely, so you can start focusing on rebuilding your marriage.
Couples Academy has helped many couples save their relationships and connect more deeply than ever before. Let us do the same for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more.