After an affair, you’re angry—angrier than you’ve ever been.

It’s understandable. When the person you love and trust most in the world betrays you by cheating, and telling you lie after lie to cover their tracks, it’s only natural to feel angry.

You have every right to your angry feelings. This anger can be useful, but there comes a time when expressing your angry feelings gets to a point of diminishing returns, creating more problems than it solves.

In today’s blog, I will explain 3 reasons why, after an affair, you may be holding on to your anger, and offer some tips for expressing your feelings in a more meaningful way so you can begin to let them go.

The Many Shades of Extreme Anger

After an affair, many victims find themselves blowing up at their spouse almost every time they see them. It almost feels beyond your control to rein it in. That rage you’re feeling is boiling and you need to release it, so you explode in a fit of hurtful words and actions.

Or, you start unloading on your spouse when he or she does one minor thing that offends you and the offensive behavior sets you into a pattern of berating him or her, not just for the current offensive behavior, but for a bunch of other misbehaviors that may or may not be related. I refer to this as “kitchen-sinking” your partner, when you throw in everything and the kitchen sink, as the saying goes.

Maybe your style isn’t to explode or kitchen-sink your spouse. Instead, you conceal your anger, maybe doing it so well, you’ve convinced even yourself you’ve overcome your anger. But secretly you know it’s still there, bubbling below the surface waiting to blow like a ticking time bomb.

These are some of the natural reactions to feeling betrayed after an affair.

Most people know when they have hit a point where they want to let go of their anger, but don’t know how. They desperately look for a way out of the nightmare of rage that never seems to end.

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Discover how to:
  • Regain your self-esteem after the affair…
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Learning how to cope with, manage, and express your feelings so they effectively help you change your marriage instead of tearing you apart inside is a major goal for many of you as you search for ways to forgive your spouse.

3 Reasons You are Still Angry

There are a lot of reasons you might be holding on to your emotional pain and anger, but here are three issues that reveal the real reason you are still angry:

1. You want to show your spouse how hurtful his or her actions were so you can get the special treatment you desire to make you feel that you can move on.

2. You want your spouse to know how hurtful the behavior was and continues to be, so he or she will diligently search his or her behavior for an understanding of how this happened, accept full responsibility for it and for the subsequent pain it caused, and be authentically remorseful about it.

3. You want to have some assurance that this will never happen again. This is a big one and it comes up over and over again. You may feel as though you have been made to look foolish, and you never want to feel this way again. You feel that extending the pain and anger will make your spouse want to change.

However, anger, particularly continuing anger, will almost never get you what you want. It’s more likely your spouse will feel attacked and either withdraw, defend themself, or attack back. At some point, they will wear out trying to make you feel better.

3 Tips for Getting Past Anger After an Affair

You need to express the hurt that is driving your anger. You need to communicate your pain to your spouse if you are going to move past this whirlpool of negative feelings so you can move forward.

Here are some tips for how to express your thoughts and feelings to your spouse so you can begin to overcome your sense of betrayal:

Tip #1: Maintain Emotional Control

Before you even begin talking to or listening to your spouse you need to control your emotions. Keep in mind that the person you are talking to is not your enemy. You want this person to be your best friend.

I know that may be hard to keep in mind when you are trying to discuss feelings of anger and betrayal, but it is critical that you do so or else you will start the cycle of anger all over again and feel the desperate need to win rather than heal and repair.

Tip #2: Use “I” Statements

When it comes to communicating anger and resentment, the best way to do so to help you maintain emotional control is by using “I” statements.

Instead of saying “you did this” and “you did that,” which can sound like you are on the attack—and make you feel that way, focus on your personal experience and your feelings.

Tip #3: Listen to your Spouse

Work on truly listening to your spouse. It means you make an attempt to understand your spouse’s perspective even if it doesn’t match your own.

Give up the idea of someone being “right.” Instead focus on the experience your spouse is describing. The affair cannot be justified, but this does not mean your spouse does not have feelings of their own to express in return.

My best to you as you heal from the pain and anger after an affair.

If your spouse cheated, do you feel you are holding on to anger? If so, why?

Would you like to move past this point of anger?

What happens when you communicate with your spouse: do you hold your feelings in, yet feel your anger seething, or are you more likely to explode?

Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson

Editor-in-Chief

Marriage Sherpa

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