Before my husband had an affair, I used to be absolutely sure that any cheating was going to be an absolute deal breaker for me. I reasoned that infidelity was just something that I could not and would not tolerate. Then, when it actually happened and I had some time and distance to calm down, I began to have mixed feelings. It was difficult to just throw away a life time of commitment and to break up a family because of one mistake.
Eventually, I determined that I wanted to save my marriage but that decision wasn’t so easy either. I had a very difficult time getting the images out of my head and the anger and doubt out of my heart. There were times when I thought that this was just a game that couldn’t be won despite all of our hard work. But, I vowed to hang in there and see what happened and I’m glad that I did. In the following article, I describe to you how I was able to heal and move on.
Getting Time And Distance: There may be folks who are able to “get over” and move on from an affair quickly, but I don’t know any of them. It takes some time to process what has happened and to begin to move on. You can’t even begin to get all of the facts that you will need to make an informed decision and to understand what you will need to heal right away.
In order to really feel secure in your marriage again, you will need to peel away the layers and reveal the vulnerabilities and do the work necessary to fix these things in such a way that both parties feel satisfied, confident, and committed. Again, this doesn’t happen over night. More often, there are many starts and stops, many successes that are followed by steps backward and good days followed by bad.
The key to navigating all of these is really just good old fashioned commitment and the knowledge that you are going to stick it out long enough to make an informed, mature decision that isn’t based on high emotions or a knee jerk reaction. It’s important to have the confidence that you can handle the days ahead and that, if you are able to completely do the work necessary, there is a very good chance that you actually can move on toward a marriage that is much healthier in the long run.
Making Sure That You Have What You Need: Many women get stuck because they settle for less than they deserve and they accept substitutes for what they really need. Maybe they’d really like a lot more reassurance, attention, and remorse, but they are afraid that if they ask for this, it will make things worse. Or, maybe they’d like for their husband to stop hovering or explaining or making excuses but they are afraid that their husband will take this the wrong way and withdrawal all together.
Sometimes, women just aren’t honest with themselves. They’ll say they’re OK, even to their best friends. They’ll put on a happy face. They will pretend that all is well when in reality, they are dying inside. If you keep pushing down your feelings, you’re only delaying your real healing. If you need to journal and get it all out without interruption and judgment, do just that – but get it out. Often this process will reveal what you’ve been hiding even from yourself. Once you have this knowledge, use it to ask for what you need. You don’t have to be nasty or combative. And, there’s nothing wrong with allowing your husband to right a very unfortunate wrong. The affair is his responsibility. So is fixing it.
Not Taking The Blame: Their is so much shame and embarrassment about an affair. Rather than being angry with their husbands, many women will take a little bit of the blame and responsibility onto their own shoulders. They reason that they didn’t give their husbands enough attention, they let themselves go, they put the kids first, etc. etc. Please don’t do this. Sure, we all make mistakes that contribute to the ways things are, but the affair was your husband’s choice. You weren’t there and you didn’t force him to do this.
Often, an affair has much more to do with him than you. He’s feeling vulnerable. His self esteem is low. He’s bored and would rather make an impulsive decision than take the time to work on this. Make sure that you see that this is his doing, not yours. And, don’t allow his decision to ruin your self esteem. You are still the same woman you were before his happened.
And, if there are things that you could work on that would make you feel better, than by all means take these liberties. For myself, I did go back to school and worked on my appearance. I did this for myself because the affair intensified some of the insecurities that I already had. A counselor once told me that this was the perfect time in indulge in those things I’d always wanted to do. This was great advice because once I emerged from this transformation, I began to believe that I was worthy of a good marriage and a devoted husband and would accept nothing less.
Believing That Things Can Actually Get Better: Here’s the best secret that I can give you about getting over an affair. The truth is, if you can get your marriage to a point where it is better and more fulfilling than it was before – where you are truly happy and moving forward, then there is really no need to live in the past and to dwell on past pain. Because at this time, your present is so exciting and happy, that you only want to move forward.