The anguish of discovering your spouse cheated: what is the effect on your health?
Nothing that feels this painful can be good. You are no doubt experiencing this firsthand if you’re dealing with the knowledge that you’re married to a cheater.
In today’s blog, we’ll look at how your health can be affected and a 3-step plan to protect it from further harm.
Post-affair Health Damage
There is stress everywhere, every day, which you must manage: work, car and home repairs, family, just to name a few. Stress is a natural part of life and our bodies are equipped to deal with it.
But what about overwhelming stress, such as that brought on by the revelation of your spouse’s affair, which is heaped on top of the normal daily stress?
This stress is more than just the worry about those everyday things – though there is plenty of worry, too:
- Will I get through this?
- Is he/she still seeing the other woman/man?
- Will our marriage survive?
- Who else knows of my spouse’s infidelity?
- Will I be fooled by my spouse again?
In addition to that, you have the stress of emotional and psychological pain that you are experiencing. And when stress continues without interruption – such as what you experience as you go through the post-affair shockwaves – it can lead to a health situation called distress, manifesting in a range of physical symptoms:
- Stomach problems
- Blood pressure spikes
- Sleep disturbances
- Chest pain/heart problems
- Initiation of diseases
- Instigation of existing diseases
In effect, the unrelenting effect of chronic post-affair stress can have serious consequences for your health.
You may be experiencing some of these symptoms now: can’t sleep due to recurring images and thoughts, affair-related stories standing on the stage of your mind. Your head hurts because there’s no relief from the negative thoughts that have taken over, and your stomach is upset because a lot of people feel stress in their gut.
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- 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…
It’s bad enough that you are a victim of the affair: it’s insult added to injury to have your health suffer, as well. We’ll next look at how you can protect your health from further harm, manage the stress you are experiencing right now, and heal from post-affair pain.
The 3-Step Plan for Post-Affair Health
The following three steps are offered as a means for creating a healthy foundation for your life. Regardless of whether you’re an affair victim or not, these steps can help you manage any of life’s stresses, and are all the more important when you remember what chronic post-affair stress can do to your health.
Step 1: Breathing/meditation
Some people see or hear the word meditation, and they think it’s New Age/hippie stuff that couldn’t possibly fit in their life. It’s actually a very beneficial health practice that helps you calm yourself, focus on the moment and manage your breathing.
Evaluate your breathing when you’re feeling very stressed, either from negative thoughts or an affair-related argument with your spouse: your breathing tends to remain very shallow. Meditation is a tool for helping you to deepen your breathing which will help release tension and relax your body.
Meditation is simply a skill, which means it will take a little time to learn how to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. It sounds easy, but this is when those negative thoughts will try to muscle their way to getting your attention. Meditation can help you manage those thoughts and feel a sense of control once again.
Step 2: Take care of yourself
Now, more than ever, it’s important for you as the affair victim to take care of yourself. You already saw the effects post-affair stress and pain can have on your health. It’s critical that you don’t skip meals, or resort to eating junk because you can’t find the energy to make healthy meals. You have to put yourself and your healing first. Otherwise, there won’t be anything with which to try to save your marriage, if you choose to do so, or take care of your family’s needs and work responsibilities.
Also, manage your sleep, especially if you find some of your more stressful times are during the quiet hours of the night. Tossing and turning only sets you up for feeling even more horrible the next day, and it can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. There are natural sleep remedies you could try, or maybe you just need a relaxing, self-focused ritual before retiring, such as time reading positive material or a soothing bath.
Step 3: Sweat it out
Many affair victims struggle just to get out of bed, let alone try to exercise. They’re so emotionally exhausted, they can’t imagine lifting their feet to do anything such as taking a long walk or swimming the length of a pool.
But exercise is therapeutic, and it’s natural for our bodies to move. There’s a reason many people report feeling better after they exercise: it’s called endorphins, those feel-good hormones. They are the most natural pain reliever available – and they exist right there in your body. But it takes your effort to get them flowing.
My best to you as you overcome post-affair negative thoughts and images that are affecting your health for the worse.
How have negative thoughts/images impacted your health post-affair?
Have you experienced unusual health symptoms since learning of your spouse’s affair?
How have you coped?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,