You’re reading this article because you’re going through a tough time. You’ve been betrayed and hurt by someone that you loved, trusted or admired. You may be asking yourself “why me?” or thinking about what might have happened if things had gone differently. The betrayal of an affair is difficult to come back from. It can take months, if not years to heal and rebuild trust. After the initial shock wears off, you might start to feel a sense of relief that it’s finally over or at least feeling like you’re getting better. But then reality sets in and the pain starts all over again as you realize that your partner’s affair has changed everything including your identity; what it means to be married; how people see you; whether or not you stay together for the kids’ sake; and even where life goes from here. The good news is that there are ways to heal after an affair.
Here are 8 ways to heal after the affair.
1. Understand the emotional and physical toll of infidelity.
What you’ve experienced was very traumatic. Like a soldier coming back from a war, you will have symptoms of PTSD. You might have flashbacks, you might feel constantly on edge, you might be unable to sleep or eat. You will feel anxiety and depression. Like a soldier who’s seen combat, it’s always with you, reminding you of the war that was waged on your heart.
2. Do not blame yourself for the affair. It wasn’t your fault or a reflection of you as a person. You are not responsible for someone else’s choices. Let go of the guilt and shame you are feeling because this is not your fault! Shaming yourself will only hurt you more.
3. Seek support from friends and family.
You can’t do this alone, and you will need support. Do not hesitate to seek out your loved ones. Find a support group or meet up for drinks with friends. Ask your family members to sit with you. Their support will be a great relief to you in the days ahead.
4. Reach out for help – work with a therapist.
There will be a difficult time in your relationship after the infidelity. You need to go through this with someone who is trained in dealing with betrayal of trust such as an infidelity.
5. Talk to your spouse about what you need to heal, like therapy or time apart.
There are different things that will work for you. You need to discover what works best, and after the initial crisis is over, discuss your needs with your partner.
6. Stay connected with your partner through healthy activities, like date night every week. It could be difficult to be with your partner after the infidelity. However, to (re)build trust, you have to give your partner opportunities to show up for you.
7. Get out of the house – find a new routine to keep yourself busy.
Go to the gym. Take your dog for a walk. Take a class. Meet up with friends over a meal.
Do anything that gets you out of the house and makes you feel like your life is moving forward again.
8. Be patient with yourself – healing takes time!
Honor the process. Like a death, it is a journey to get through the stages of grief.
You can’t heal overnight, so do not rush the process. In order to recover from an affair you need time and patience.
If you need an experienced therapist who specializes in infidelity, please call us to make an appointment today!
Liz Wee, LMFT, ATR
Do you want to learn more about how you can improve your relationship with your partner? Or are you an individual, who's working on self right now to have better relationships in the future? I would love to assist you!
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