Ever since your husband cheated on you it’s like there’s been a storm raging inside your head. It’s a storm of negative thoughts that you just can’t seem to shut off. They seem so uncontrollable you feel like you might go insane.
Infidelity in marriage is a terrible shock; a double whammy. First there’s the terrible revelation that he’s been having an affair, and that comes with real physical pain. And then that’s followed by the emotional turmoil of feeling like you’ve lost control of your very own thoughts.
What you need to understand is that there’s a connection between the terrible emotions that naturally arise from the news that you’re the victim of infidelity in your marriage and the negative thoughts like:
- he’ll probably do it again
- I must not be good enough – there’s something wrong with me
- how could I not have known? I must be the biggest idiot ever
- he thought he was so clever
- it won’t ever be normal again
Like I said above, there are two layers of pain that you go through when you’re coping with the recent news that he’s been having an affair – the feelings of betrayal and anger – like you’ve been stabbed in the back, and also the endless repetitions of all of these negative thoughts. But the fact is that the terrible thoughts you’re suffering through are actually the result of all the painful emotions caused by your husband’s affair. And as your feelings of emotional devastation continue, they cause the continuous stream of negative thoughts to seem unstoppable.
What’s worse, as your negative thoughts become more and more obsessive you can begin to convince yourself that they’re true. This is why it’s absolutely vital for you to stop the process and take control of what’s going through your mind.
Again, your thoughts and emotions are inter-twined. Thoughts are not facts; usually they’re just a reflection of the way you’re feeling at a given moment. And the reverse is also true – if you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts you are going to feel terrible all the time. Can you see how this can turn into a vicious, spiraling process if you don’t take control?
So here are two techniques you can use to begin to clear your mind of the thoughts that have been plaguing you since your husband’s affair came to light.
1- Write out the negative thoughts you’re having – If you do this consistently, say for a week, you can start to recognize the patterns that your thoughts follow. Pay attention to what thoughts are occurring and when.
So what is that little voice saying to you? Is it a series of short, negative comments? If you’re like a lot of women in your situation you have all kinds of different, horrible scenarios playing out in your mind.
You already know how you feel. This exercise will shed some light on why you feel this way. It will illuminate the connection between the bad thoughts and the bad emotions. Like I said, if you stick with this for a little while you will gain quite a bit of insight into how what you think and the way you’re feeling are inter-connected.
2 – Attack each negative thought individually – Here is where you’re going to attack your negative thoughts head-on. You have a list of the negative thoughts that have been tormenting you, so now let’s put them to the test one-by-one.
Start with the one that bugs you the most, and ask yourself whether there’s a rational argument against it. There just about always is. Now take a step back and try to imagine you are someone else seeing you from their point of view, and examine the original negative thought as well as the case against its being true. You’ll almost always discover that the arguments against the negative thoughts make way more sense!
Remember that your emotions and your thoughts are inter-connected. So if you can meet those negative thoughts head-on as they arise and replace them with more benign (and logical) ones you’ll ultimately find yourself feeling much more in control of your life.
If you use this technique to attack each of the bad thoughts as they come up you’ll likely shorten the amount of time for recovering from both the initial shock of your husband’s affair, if that’s the stage you’re at now, and also the persistent feelings that can often last for month’s. The sooner you can “get your house in order” emotionally, the quicker you can begin to make solid decisions on how to handle your life after infidelity.
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If you’re like a lot of women who have been through what you’re going through, you want to able to forgive your husband for having an affair. Unfortunately, you’ve probably been raised to believe that forgiveness should be instant and unconditional. That’s one of the foundations of our society. We’ve all heard the stories of incredible acts of forgiveness, say by parents of a murdered child or even by Holocaust survivors. It’s certainly commendable, but it’s also contrary to human nature to quickly forgive someone who has badly hurt you.
You no doubt have a lot of swirling emotions that you’re trying to come to grips with, and as you do come to terms with them then is when forgiveness usually becomes a possibility.
One of the biggest issues that’s reported by women who’ve recently become aware of their husbands having cheated is a nagging sense of wanting to know the details of the affair. When you learn that your husband is having an affair it’s natural for your mind to try to fill in the blanks, and unfortunately it’s also just as natural for you to think of all the worst possible images.
Additionally, not having a firm plan for how to handle the affair details can become a sticking point in your efforts to overcome the infidelity and move on with your marriage. It might not even be in your best interests to know the most intimate details of what happened; you may just want to deal with generalizations like what he was feeling.
At any rate, below I’ve outlined 3 important tips for how to go about handling the details of your husband’s affair. They set some guidelines you can use for deciding how to overcome this particular aspect of the painful process of dealing with infidelity. Once you’ve dealt with this you may find that you’re on your way to regaining your lost self-respect, self-trust and self-confidence.
1 – Start With a Firm Decision about the Details - It needs to be your decision as the victim of the affair what – and how many of – the details you actually want and need to hear. You almost always will have at least a few questions about what happened; especially as you think back to particular instances when you suspected something was going on, or just had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. If that’s the case you might want specifics of what he was doing at such-and-such a time just to confirm your suspicions and to make sure you can trust your instincts in the future.
Just be careful to decide how much is too much. A lot of times when your husband has finally come clean about his infidelity he’ll want to “dump” all of the sordid details in your lap. It’s cathartic, in a way, to unload his guilt. Unfortunately, there’s a tipping point where your knowing the exacts of his misdeeds does more to short-circuit the healing process than facilitate it.
2 – Write Down Your Questions – This might sound obvious, but it can really trip you up in your efforts to find some peace of mind; once you learn something you can’t unlearn it. in other words, are all the questions you want to ask really something you need to know? So take a little time to consider which questions really need answering and which will just end up fueling more of those insidious images if answered.
3 – Set Boundaries on the Details He Shares – Once you’re sure that you absolutely need to know certain details regarding what actually went on, then you need to clearly spell out to your husband in advance what you do and do not want to know. It’s probably also a good idea to let him know in advance that you’re even going to be asking him these questions. That will make it a little less likely, depending on how mature the two of you are capable of being, that the conversation won’t spiral down into an argument. It’s never a good idea to start a heavy conversation out of the blue, without any warning.
So if he agrees let him know that you’re not interested in hearing him spill his guts and trying to get everything off his chest. You’re wanting specifics right now with no elaborations or excuses.
What is the #1 thing you can do to:
- End the Affair
- Get Your Husband Back
- Build a NEW Relationship
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Was your husband having an affair? If so there’s a pretty decent chance you’re angry, and not just a little bit angry either. “How could he do this to me? Doesn’t he understand that he’s betrayed the sacred trust I had in him? It was just so damned selfish of him to commit this terrible act.” It’s totally understandable to feel this way, too. Especially in the time immediately following your finding out.
Not only is it completely understandable to be seething mad about his infidelity, it’s also justifiable (as long as you don’t become physically violent.) There is a certain therapeutic value to anger as a way to let off some of the pressure brought on by the emotions that are trying to tie you into a knot right now. In other words, it’s healthy to vent.
Just remember though, when it comes to anger, a little bit goes a long way. The time for anger is right after you’ve discovered your husband was having an affair.
To move on with your healing process you’re going to need to let go of your anger. There’s a temptation to just keep simmering, with the anger just below the surface ready to erupt at the least little thing that he says or does. Self-righteous indignation and being the victim can actually feel good. You start to get used to it, but it’s really just a drug that’s keeping you stuck and not letting you move on and take the steps that are necessary to rebuild your relationship with your husband.
In addition, it’s just plain unhealthy physically to be angry all the time. Your body just doesn’t work right when your emotions are “out of whack.” Constant anger can actually have symptoms that affect your blood pressure, digestion, and immune system, symptoms that your doctor can see.
In an earlier post I mention how you want to use acceptance as a way to get to forgiveness. Before you can reach a state of acceptance about your husband’s infidelity though, you’re going to need to take care of your anger. So you want to let go of the anger, but how do you go about doing it?
Here are Three Tips that can help you do it.
1) Call Off The Dogs – You’re going to have to remember before and during each and every interaction with your husband that he’s not your enemy. It’s easy to forget when you’re dealing with feelings of betrayal and embarrassment that come with learning of your husband having an affair, that this person needs to be your friend and partner in the process of healing that you’re undertaking on behalf of your relationship. It’s tough, I know, but you need to try to adopt an attitude of friendship toward him so that you can move on with the healing process.
2) “I” not “You” – When you’re dealing face-to-face with your husband after he’s had an affair try to communicate what you’re going through rather than talking about what he did. This way you’re less likely to put him on the defensive. Putting him in a position where he feels like he needs to defend himself is counterproductive. He needs to stay receptive to your point of view in order to be able to help rebuild your marriage, and that can’t happen if he feels like he’s cornered. Trust me, he feels guilt, shame and stupidity over what he did.
3) Do Your Best To Listen – This means you need to manage your feelings the best you can so you’ll be able to listen to and accept his point of view, even if you don’t agree with it. Like before, you need to approach listening to him from the concept that he’s your friend. Put aside your own perspectives while you listen to him. His point of view may turn out to be very different from your own, but you need to approach listening to him with the assumption that he’s a rational human being with reason for feeling and thinking as he does.
These tips are just a starting point to help deal with the strongest of the emotions that you’re likely feeling after finding out your husband has committed adultery. Anger is the biggest obstacle for most women when their spouse has had an affair, but with a few logical techniques you can compartmentalize you anger and put it aside for the sake of moving on with the life you’re building together.
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You’ve recently become aware of your husband having an affair. You feel betrayed. The man you once trusted and loved more than anything has taken the faith and devotion you once had in him and thrown them away like yesterday’s newspaper. Now all you feel is a disgusting mixture of resentment and shame along with anger and fear. You’re probably also afraid of what the future holds and what’s going to become of the life you’ve worked so hard to build before he decided to be unfaithful.
Needless to say, the challenges you’re finding yourself facing now are probably the highest hurdle your marriage will ever face. Maybe you want to move on with your life and your relationship. It’s only natural at a time like this to want things to go back to being like they were before, right? So you may be thinking that, “If I could just find a way to forgive my husband for having an affair then we can start to rebuild our life together.” Forgive and forget. It’s what we’ve been taught since we were kids, right?
Here’s the problem though. Forgiving implies that all the horrible thoughts and emotions you’ve been experiencing will just “magically” disappear when you decide to forgive your husband for his infidelity. Ask yourself, does that seem even remotely realistic? No? There’s a reason why: that’s just not how strong emotions – especially negative emotions – work.
Here’s another reason you probably want to avoid the temptation to “forgive and forget” and try to take your marriage back to the way it was before he cheated. If you go back to way things were before you’re just setting up the exact same conditions that let led to your husband having an affair in the first place. You’re just asking to be treated like a door mat all over again.
So despite everything we’ve been taught our whole lives about forgiving there’s a limit to how big a transgression a normal, feeling human being can be expected to just forget about. Now I’m not saying you should never forgive him for cheating on you, but I do want you to accept that forgiveness is going to take time. It needs to be a process and not an instant (unrealistic) decision.
Try this instead. Acceptance. Accept that your husband was having an affair and acknowledge that his behavior has injured you very badly. Acceptance allows you to begin to realize that what has happened is in the past and that there’s nothing that you can ever do to change that fact. Acceptance takes away the natural temptation to pretend that this terrible thing never happened.
Once you accept what has happened you can begin the process of dealing with the anger and fear you’re feeling. You’re not forgiving him right now, you’re just saying that you’re willing to tolerate what has happened for the sake of your relationship so the two of you can begin to work toward building a stronger marriage than ever before, not just setting yourself up for more heartbreak down the road.
Once you do that and say, “I don’t like what happened, but I am willing to accept it for the sake of moving on with our life” you’ve started a process that will naturally, over time, let the emotions and the pain move to the background. Guess what happens then. Forgiveness follows naturally in time!
“My self-esteem is zero. Things like this only happen to other people, not me. Everything seemed like it was going so well – I love my job, the kids are well-balanced and getting great grades. What happened? Now it all seems like it was an illusion, and I’m left to wonder if I’m pretty enough, or intelligent or successful enough, just like some insecure adolescent.” It can be a really steep hill to climb trying to save your marriage and also coping with all the self-doubt that follows finding out about your husband having an affair. How do you tackle the task of rebuilding a strong marriage when you’ve taken the hit to your self-esteem that comes with catching a cheating spouse?
Trust is such a huge issue when it comes to being faithful, so when you find out about your husband having an affair your focus naturally naturally is on the loss of trust you used to feel toward him. That’s not where we want to start out, though. Let’s begin by looking at what finding out about the affair has done to your sense of self and self-worth, and then talk about what you can do and steps you can take to get them back.
Looking back on what you were like before you found out about his infidelity, you may start to recognize things about yourself that you think were responsible for causing him to stray. You may say to yourself, “God, I was so tired all the time” or “No wonder he’s not attracted to me anymore, I’ve gained so much weight.” You also think that you pushed your intimacy with him to the back burner. Or maybe you think he just got bored with you and you’re not very interesting any more.
As natural as it is to be full of self-doubt after learning of your husband having an affair, is it any wonder that putting those feelings aside and becoming your own supporter or champion in the area of self-regard is such a challenge? Your inner conversation has probably been negative ever since you discovered he was cheating on you, this is more than likely fanning the flames of self-doubt.
So let’s now look at a few steps you can take to start restoring your sense of dignity and self-respect after finding out your husband is having an affair.
The real challenge you’re probably running into right about now is that you still have all of your normal everyday challenges and responsibilities to deal with in addition to this thousand pound anvil of infidelity you now have to carry around. It’s a lot to have to deal with all at once. You can only spread yourself so thin. But you need to find some time to devote to yourself and begin reconstructing your dignity. After all your self-esteem is going to be the foundation of rebuilding your marriage, just like it was the foundation originally.
So the first thing you need to do is Commit to Yourself. If you commit to reclaiming your lost self-esteem and the relationship you have with yourself it will really galvanize you and give you so much more of the strength that you’re going to need to rebuild and strengthen your relationship with your husband. You’re the only one one who can fix your mangled sense of dignity after discovering your husband having an affair. Your first order of business then should be looking inward and healing from the inside out.
Now you need to Determine What the Crisis Is. This is really just another way of saying that you need to organize your thoughts in order to be able to deal with them. We’ve already talked about all the negative thoughts and questions swirling in your mind and eroding your self-esteem. It’s a good idea to write down these questions, and the answers if you have them, simply to bring them to the light of day.
No one understands you better than you do, and while the questions and answers you come up with may not be the way things really are, at least you will have a firmer notion of what you’re dealing with. So do an evaluation of what you’re feeling, write things down, analyze what you come up with. Then try to put a name on what you’re going through mentally and emotionally as a result of finding out your husband has been cheating. Defining the crisis is a good way to gain clarity and get rid of some of the emotional chaos you might have felt before.
What you’re going to need to do now is Deal With Each of the self-defeating questions that you have identified on a case-by-case basis. Let’s take some of the common questions from above. “Am I successful enough?” If that were one of the self doubts you identified in Determining the Crisis you would want to ask yourself what your husband having an affair has to do with your success. This is an example of the process of questioning and finding an arguement against the self-esteem killing thoughts that have been haunting you and weighing you down.
Just one more quick insight to finish this post: You need to realize that after a while, if you don’t deal with these issues you’re going through with your self-respect and esteem, the feelings of self-doubt become like a drug and ingrain themselves deeply into who you are. If that happens your chances of rebuilding your relationship after he’s had an affair go down dramatically. That’s why it’s so important to deal with your feelings as soon as you can.
Perhaps you’ve even accomplished some work on your relationship so you may move to that point. Maybe you started down the path of acceptance and you also are able to move on with your marital relationship, but there’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
You’re terrified that your husband may possibly betray you yet again.
How can you forgive your spouse when the horrifying possibility exists that she or he will do it yet again?
What if you forgive your significant other and your trust is violated once more? Are you just supposed to act like a doormat and be walked on forever?
You wish to know that your husband having an affair will not ever happen again, prior to being able to fully forgive him.
You really do not want to get hurt all over again. You do not want to be made to feel like a fool all over again. And you also certainly would hate to compound your own grief by moving on with your romantic relationship and then finding out your partner’s remorse was just a pretense.
What you would like is some assurance that your spouse will absolutely not, under any circumstances, ever do what he did once again. You need rock solid proof ahead of being prepared to finally let go.
I’d like to be able to tell you there’s a method that delivers that assurance to you that your husband having an affair is impossible now. I’d like to say there may be a method you could be completely guaranteed to say, “by no means will he cheat on you yet again.” But I won’t lie to you. There isn’t a way you could be 100% certain your husband will not cheat on you or otherwise betray you again.
Every human being is responsible for his or her own actions. Your husband has to select what he is going to do. You determine make private options for a another human being, and ultimately, you can’t control your his actions.
So there is some likelihood your significant other will repeat the awful behaviors that lead you to this point in your marital relationship. You just can’t control the outcome: only your significant other can, and there is certainly already some evidence that he may have a leaky character. You aren’t 100% safe from your husband having another affair and your finding yourself betrayed all over again.
What’s more, most folks aren’t really beneficial lie detectors. I’m not a superb lie detector myself. I never ever vouch for anybody else’s steps, authenticity, or truthfulness, due to the fact I just can’t catch a good liar.
You almost certainly cannot either. Actually, studies have shown that even folks who are supposed to be excellent lie detectors, like judges, police officers, and even psychologists are typically no far better at determining lies from truth than the flip of a coin. Probability is generally far better.
Unless you undertake extremely specialized and high-priced training, it is unlikely you’ll reliably detect lies or husband tells. Practically no one can do it.
So given this simple truth, how can you possibly forgive your husband having an affair and move on with your married life?
In my practical experience there’s a means. I recommend you move toward forgiveness while accepting the reality that it really is conceivable your partner will cheat once more.
I know that sounds like a contradiction, so let me explain what I’m suggesting.
It is possible you will probably be hurt. That’s the precise risk we all take when we decide to care about a man. They may well do us emotional harm. It’s just an unavoidable possibility.
The question is how probable it is that your husband will harm you yet again. This is the real issue.
If you should make an educated guess on how possible it is that he will cheat on you yet again, observe the lengths your husband normally goes to to reassure you about not having another affair.
In this article, I will share some from the specific observations to be aware of to help you make your ideal guess.
Right after all, it is only natural that you want to know as much as you may about the reliability and trustworthiness of your respective wife or husband before you forgive.
Does Your Significant other Comprehend Your Pain?
One in the best indications you have that your partner is re-committing to you is whether or not he or she understands the ache you suffered and are suffering.
Whenever you communicate your ache to your companion, you may need to sense that your accomplice understands the full ramifications of what she or he did.
Your husband really should accept full individual duty without hedging or excuses, carry an appropriate degree of guilt, and seem committed to making the essential variations to insure the behavior will not be repeated. These elements make it less most likely your husband having an affair again in the future.
When you don’t have these in place, you need to continue on operating in your communication abilities collectively.
The level of dedication your partner has to this emotionally painful process is also an indication, in itself, of your dedication your companion is generating.
You possibly won’t start to rebuild self confidence in your marital relationship and your husband or wife until that you are satisfied that he understands you agony. Should you haven’t gotten to a location where you feel your partner actually understands at a character stage, keep operating on it. An academic understanding will in all probability not really feel satisfying after the pain of your husband having an affair.
Your spouse will continue engaging in this process with you if he is serious about helping you rebuild your confidence and trust.
Take into account the Transgression
A different useful bit of details is within the nature of your transgression.
Some behaviors are more probable to come about once more. As an example, someone who includes a record of staying offensive in public will probably do it once again. That’s not a 100% guarantee, but if there is a history, the probability increases that it’ll happen yet again.
Human beings are creatures of habit.
This implies a “serial cheater” is extra probable to cheat all over again inside future.
That does not suggest your scenario is hopeless. It only implies it’ll take that a lot much more work on the portion of your respective partner to generate lasting alterations in behavior. Your husband will have to improve his character after having an affair, and that will consider some function.
Responsibility for creating these adjustments lies with the offending party. You may communicate how much pain you might be in, but you simply cannot modify your spouse’s beliefs, attitudes, and steps. Only your wife or husband can do that.
The amount of operate your wife or husband puts into these adjustments is commonly a great indicator for his or her commitment to your romantic relationship.
If your spouse was a serial cheater or features a historical past of staying offensive in public so you can see that she or he is generating a real effort to alter, it’s a lot more likely she or he will proceed, at least within the short run, to get committed to your connection and on the modify he or she is undergoing.
Perform on your Part with the Partnership
Most of what I’ve been discussing up to this stage depends in your husband. That’s exactly mainly because your of your husband having an affair, making him the individual who demands to prove he is trustworthy all over again.
Nonetheless, there are some issues you can do to assist strengthen the likelihood that your significant other will continue to become loyal to you and your partnership.
In a lot of cases the human being who was betrayed might discover his or her steps or inactions from just before the betrayal contributed to complications within the married life.
Let’s appear at infidelity as an example of this.
Initial, let me qualify what I am about to say by explaining that according on the wedding ceremony vow, you may have excellent flexibility in what you do or don’t do, but the 1 point you simply cannot do is cheat on your partner.
The wedding vow is really a statement of loyalty that your husband broke by having an affair. Whoever breaks that vow includes a leak in his or her character in my opinion, and that individual needs to work on repairing this leak if the marital relationship is going to certainly thrive.
Regardless from the wrong your spouse did, after you get past the immediate soreness from an affair you might look again and almost certainly see things you could have completed much better as part of your relationship.
That doesn’t indicate the affair was your fault. It wasn’t. The cheater broke the wedding vow. You didn’t. The onus for accepting the blame for that and producing the necessary adjustments to insure it doesn’t happen once again lies with him. It was your husband having an affair. That’s not your fault, it’s his.
It only will take 1 person to destroy a marital relationship, nevertheless it will take two folks functioning challenging to put it again with each other. Once you take action to restore your portion of the marital relationship, you make it a lot more probably that your married life will succeed and this will be the only way you may achieve a romance that is certainly much better than ever.
In case you can see a dedication in word and action from your wife or husband, and also you are each operating actively to repair your relationship these are the finest signs you have that your matrimony is in recovery.
You will find no guarantees in life about your husband having an affair and it will not transpire overnight. Building confidence normally takes time.
Nevertheless it can take place.
This doesn’t indicate “everything is okay and what your partner did was justifiable.” It isn’t and it wasn’t.
What it suggests is that you happen to be willing to accept what happened so it is possible to move on with your life collectively from the hopes of creating a relationship that is certainly far better than it was before.
As you approach this stage the discomfort you encounter, the images that haunt you, and the memories of that awful time will move to your again of one’s mind. They will not disappear entirely. Soon after all, you can not undo the previous. You might at all times remember that your partner betrayed you.
But in the event you are both doing work difficult in your marriage, you might uncover a strategy to make this betrayal into an opportunity to repair the troubles within your relationship and turn out to be closer for your husband or wife than you actually were prior to.
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