By: Amanda Wiegert, LMHC
Often times I hear people say things like, “My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life.” We don’t marry someone with the expectation that the marriage is going to end in lies, betrayal, and infidelity. Nor do we ever imagine having to google “how to recover from an affair.”
However, the harsh reality is that in approximately 1/3 of marriages, one or both partners will admit to being unfaithful. Learning of an affair in your relationship will undoubtedly leave you feeling hurt, confused, and unsure of where to go or what to do.
If you are wondering how to recover from an affair, here are a few ways to pick up the pieces :
Decide whether you want to stay and work on the relationship or whether you need to leave and move on.
When something like an affair happens, you may feel pressure from those around you to stay in the marriage and fix things. Will you be able to accept what has happened and begin to put the pieces back together in your marriage? Or will it be too painful for you and you need to make the decision to move on?
This decision is one that only you can make; so allow yourself time to weigh your options and make a decision that is truly best for you. Either way, be sure to express how you are feeling to your partner in an honest and constructive manner. Your thoughts and feelings are important; and you deserve to have your voice heard.
Acknowledge your feelings as a start to recover from an affair.
It is important to validate your own feelings and to accept that how you are feeling is absolutely okay. Whether you are feeling intense sadness, anger, jealousy, frustration, or fear, those feelings are normal and are a part of the grief and healing process.
The best thing that you can do is to acknowledge those feelings and allow yourself to feel them. Pretending those feelings are not there is only going to make your healing process more complicated. We cannot fix what we don’t acknowledge.
Learn what makes you happy.
After an affair, you may feel as though you lost a part of your identity. It is important to redefine what makes you happy and what nurtures you in life. Spend some time getting to know yourself again and learning what makes you happy and feel fulfilled.
If you have made the decision to try and make the marriage work, it is going to be very important for you to heal as an individual. Work on your own happiness while also learning on how to recover from an affair and repairing your marriage with your spouse. We cannot be in a healthy relationship without first being healthy ourselves.
Forgive yourself and/or your spouse.
Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or go your separate ways, forgiveness is going to be a vital part of the healing process for you. When we forgive someone, we are not excusing their behaviors or giving them permission for what they did. Instead, forgiveness is allowing yourself to let go of that painful part of your life and begin to move forward.
The decision to forgive should be made for you, and not for the other person. There is a saying that goes, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” When we hold on to anger and resentments, the only person that we are hurting is ourselves.
Seek support from those around you.
When going through something as painful as an affair, it is important to not allow yourself to go through it alone. Seeking the support of family members, friends, or even professional support groups is going to be vital to your recovery and healing.
Do not be afraid to lean on others and to ask for help. The people closest to you may not understand what you are going through because they haven’t been there, but they can still provide love, encouragement and a shoulder to cry on.
If you are struggling with questions of how to recover from an affair and need some additional support, do not be hesitate to ask for help. Working through infidelity and distrust in a relationship can be a very difficult and lonely process and you should not have to go through it by yourself.
Life Counseling Solutions is always here to encourage and support you if you are dealing with infidelity in your relationship. Please do not hesitate to call us for a free 15-minute phone consultation or to schedule an appointment: (407) 622-1770.
About the Author: Amanda is passionate about helping people navigate all stages of life. She believes great healing can emerge from trauma and challenges if we allow ourselves to be open to learning and exploring new ways of dealing with difficult life experiences. Read more about Amanda..