In a twisted way, your partner’s infidelity has handed you a unique gift: the chance to assess your life, what your needs are, and discover who you are. It has probably been a long time since you did that, having spent years of your life in your marriage, and maybe lost sight of the person you once were.
The infidelity has left you reeling, and you find yourself caught up in the aftermath of the emotional devastation your spouse created. Thanks for destroying my life, you selfish weasel, right? You thought you knew this man/woman, and felt secure in your relationship. You thought you knew yourself. Now, all you know is that you’re feeling lost and alone—and have a burning desire to rediscover who you are.
In this post, I’ll share with you the 3 critical steps you must take before you can begin your own journey of rediscovery—and surviving the emotional destruction that your spouse’s affair caused.
Cheating Spouse Finds Negative Consequences
So your husband or wife traveled outside your marriage. Now, they have to deal with the negative consequences for the selfish, foolish mistake of electing to cheat rather than stepping back and taking a long, hard look at their life, or coming to you first to admit they were about to make a supremely asinine decision.
Generally, the person your husband or wife cheated with is not:
- More talented
- A divine bedroom goddess
But these are the thoughts that are now in your head, causing you to doubt yourself and your self-worth. We can’t know what is truly in someone else’s heart and why they would choose to do something as stupid as cheating, breaking their marriage vows and destroying the relationship they built.
However, if you look at some of the reasons given for why someone cheated, you don’t usually hear, “Well, he was really hot,” or “She could recite the Gettysburg Address backwards.” The majority of the time, the cheater can’t offer any reason that could even remotely validate their brainless choice.
But enough about your cheating spouse. Let’s move on to you, and what your deeper needs are, today and in the future.
How to Get to Rediscovery of You
When everything you counted on has been torn asunder by infidelity, you may feel you are literally trying to start your life over from scratch. But before you can truly rediscover who you are—or reinvent yourself—these critical steps need to be taken so you can properly move forward and design the best life possible for yourself, one that takes into account your needs, wants, and values.
Step 1: Face the Pain
You are in a world of hurt right now. The discomfort of emotional pain is no less stressful than physical pain is. In fact, it can be more so. At least with physical pain, you can take a pill to dampen it.
But with emotional pain, you can’t ignore it, you can’t evade it, you can’t escape it—at least not permanently. You have to deal with the pain, define the emotions you are feeling. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but acknowledgment is the way toward acceptance that you are going through hell, and that can lead to healing.
Step 2: Take Time to Gain Perspective
Earlier, we looked at some common thoughts that victims of an affair have. A lot of affair victims admit to being haunted by the thought that the paramour was somehow better than they are. The self-talk in your head can turn quite nasty upon learning of an affair.
It’s going to take a stretch of time to work through these painful thoughts and deal with the negative chatter going on in your mind. Your perspective is skewed—accept that right now, this is normal. You will regain a normal perspective with time.
Step 3: Draft a Relief Plan
Acknowledgement and acceptance of painful emotions and thoughts is only part of the equation. You don’t want that negativity to sit inside of you, festering away. It is necessary on your path to healing that you process this negativity to get rid of it.
Plan for frequent “relief” breaks: exercise, schedule weekly lunches with friends, get out of the house. The point is, you need reminders that there is a whole world outside of your internal pain—and that you can once more feel a part of that world and are not consigned to a life of misery.
Next week, we’ll look at steps you can take to rediscover yourself—beyond the current pain of your spouse’s cheating.
I’d be interested to hear about your experiences …
How do you feel about rediscovering yourself?
After the revelation of the affair, what have you learned about yourself?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,