Many affair victims want to know how to survive an affair and conquer the roadblocks to healing. The inner struggle a victim of an affair goes through is indescribable—unless you’ve been there yourself. Eventually, time is the true healer.
But many victims of their spouse’s affairs wonder if there is a way to make the process go faster, or exactly how they can move on from this point of pain—or even if what they’re experiencing could be considered normal.
In this blog, I’ll share with you how to survive an affair, specifically dealing with two of the monstrous emotions that need to be faced and handled as soon as you recognize them. And, I’ll give you some strategies to cope with them so they don’t block your ability to heal.
Two Post-Affair Monstrous Emotions
When you first learn your spouse has cheated, you are hit with a barrage of rollercoaster emotions, negative thoughts and haunting images. Unfortunately, this horror is “normal,” and it’s something that you will need to work through.
And, it’s also perfectly normal to want to get through this horror as quickly as possible.
One thing most victims of an affair share in common are the emotions they will face as they recover. It’s not abnormal in the least to have a flare-up of various emotions concerning your spouse’s betrayal. You have received a shock, and this is a natural response to the trauma, your own personal journey as you learn how to survive an affair that has rocked your world.
How to Survive an Affair has sold over 20,000 copies and we have hudreds of written testimonials that have told us that Dr. Gunzburg’s program was the single reason they survived.
- Regain your self-esteem after the affair…
- Replace the anger, depression and sadness…
- Forgive your spouse and get a heart-felt apology…
- Rebuild the trust from the ground up…
- Open the lines of communication…
- Eliminate the negative thoughts…
- End the affairs for good…
- Make the relationship better than ever…
While the emotions themselves are normal, what can become “not normal” is getting caught up and stuck in them. If the emotions take center stage, they can derail your ability to take the necessary steps needed to achieve true healing for yourself, as well as your ability to heal your relationship with your spouse and move forward.
Let’s look at two very common emotions that can control you if you don’t use coping strategies to work through them:
Emotion 1: Jealousy
Of course you’re going to experience jealousy. Your spouse went outside of your marriage and shared himself or herself with another person. The ripple effects of this are extensive: you begin to doubt yourself, your self-esteem erodes—and you wonder what this other person has that makes them so “attractive” to your mate that they strayed in their direction.
Jealousy means you are reacting to the fact that your spouse took the time and affection that should have been showered on you, and shared these precious commodities with a stranger. Not to mention, you are plagued with images and thoughts of your spouse with this paramour, the idea that they were whooping it up and having a good time while you were shunted to the side.
Let’s consider another emotion you need to cope with:
Emotion 2: Uncertainty
Your world has been rocked, your foundation ripped from beneath your feet. You question and doubt everything: what is real, what isn’t? Which of your views, assumptions and beliefs are true, and which are an illusion?
This is truly a monstrous emotion. Your bedrock has been removed, and you can’t seem to get your bearings—let alone know what’s going to happen to your carefully constructed life and marriage.
These are two very emotional struggles that the victim of an affair may face. Ignoring them won’t make them stop, and in fact, will delay healing. And allowing them to take over your world will cause more pain and suffering, in addition to putting off the healing steps you need to take.
Coping Strategies to Conquer Emotional Roadblocks
When you are confronted with these emotions and recognize them for what they are, employ these coping strategies to conquer these potential roadblocks:
Coping Strategy 1: Draw a Line in the Sand
Particularly with jealousy, your reaction to this emotional roadblock can get out of hand. With negative thoughts and images taking over your every waking moment (and haunting your sleep), you may be tempted to act out in response to those feelings of jealousy. Maybe you’ll go out and find someone to “get even,” or give your spouse the silent treatment for the next six months.
Recognizing jealousy as a normal reaction to the abnormal behavior of your spouse who cheated is the first step to coping. Plan in advance how you will handle this emotion: know that it’s going to get ugly, know that you will contemplate a whole range of retaliatory acts—and draw you line in the sand: you won’t actually act upon any of them.
Victims of an affair who act out on their feelings of jealousy can make the emotional turmoil a lot worse for themselves, because now they will be adding guilt, regret and a host of other emotions to the tempest pot they were already dealing with.
Coping Strategy 2: Talk to Someone About What You’re Going Through
For jealousy and uncertainty, and any of the other emotions you are dealing with, it helps to have someone you trust that you can turn to and pour your heart out. It helps alleviate the pain and suffering you are experiencing to actually put words to what you are feeling inside.
However, think carefully about whom you share your pain with: anyone who is too close to the situation, such as family and friends, may not be the best people to choose. If your long-term goal is to save your marriage, it won’t help to have the people who surround you angry with your spouse—long after you repair your relationship. Often, our family and friends who care about us will long hold a grudge against the cheater, angry that they caused such pain to the person they love.
Consider instead a clergy person or a counselor. They can provide you a compassionate, yet neutral, place to turn to as you work to heal the pain.
My best wishes for you as you work to conquer the emotional roadblocks to post-affair healing.
What are the strongest emotions you’ve experienced since learning of your spouse’s affair?
How have you handled the emotional rollercoaster?
What coping strategies are you using, or have you used?
Do you feel you are stuck in any one particular emotional tailspin?
Please share your thoughts and experiences regarding post-affair emotional turmoil by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,