Approximately 30% of marriages end in divorce after infidelity. If your marriage ended because your spouse had been unfaithful, your feelings after the affair and how to cope with them can be difficult to figure out. The following tips may be helpful in grieving the loss of the relationship and helping to prepare you to begin on your new life’s journey, after the affair.
Now that you have decided to move on from your relationship after an affair, there are several things to keep in mind. Also note, you may not move through these processes in chronological order and some stages may take longer to move through than others.
It is Normal to Feel a Whole Range of Emotions.
When you have been cheated on, all kind of thoughts, emotions and judgments move through your mind. Some days you may feel pretty together, other times you may feel like you are falling apart plagued with negative emotions, sadness and anger. You may be devastated and furious. Give yourself a break, you are allowed to feel your feelings and if you don’t, your feelings will catch up with you eventually. Take time to do what needs to happen for you to take care of yourself. If you need to, take days off from work, hire a sitter to care for your children or get a therapist who can support you through this change. Taking care of yourself is the primary at this point, do what needs to be done to help you feel better.
You are Focusing on the Affair
You focus on the affair because it gives you a place to put all of your feelings that are so overwhelming. You are questioning your own belief system at this point and move from processing beliefs about yourself, your spouse, your marriage and even the predictability of life itself. The affair has raised doubts about your own sense of reality, what is really going on around here anyway? You think about retaliation but then reconsider. What you need to do is funnel those feelings of retaliation and blame into a channel towards letting the feelings go. You need an outlet to release all of this negativity. Write a letter that states your feelings and then burn it up, stick pins in a doll with your spouses name on it, take up kickboxing to sweat it out, go out with your girlfriends and cry about what happened. Just feel what you need and get the feelings out of your head and into action. Taking this action step will help your feelings move out of you so you will be able to move forward and stop focusing on the past.
Moving on from Obsession
It is very tempting to blame your spouse or the active third party that may have contributed to your marriage ending. This is difficult to discuss but you must examine how you may have contributed to the joint marital problems. The only way history won’t repeat itself again is if you figure out what you will do differently the next time around. You also need to explore why you picked this particular partner and why you stayed as long as you may have. By being real about the deal you are shifting your blame and anger from a victim stance to being self-validated and taking back your power.
You Won’t Get Your Day in Court
Recognize that the legal process of divorce won’t help you feel better about your partner’s affair. The myth that you will have your justice filled day in Court is really just that, a myth. The legal system doesn’t provide an emotional divorce, only a legal divorce. You must deal with your feelings up front rather than believing that through the legal process, emotional justice will be served. Take the time to grieve the loss of the relationship out of the Courtroom.
Grieving the Loss, Moving Forward
It is important to let yourself grieve. Your marriage was important to you and you need to move through letting it go. Grieving has several steps; Shock and disbelief, sadness, anger, pain and finally letting go. Allow yourself to feel all of the feelings you have throughout the process, remember that feelings are different from behaviors and that you can choose how you behave. The feelings will run their course and you must remember that it will not feel like this forever. Get support during the process, possibly with the help of a licensed mental health professional such as a Marriage & Family Therapist, and move forward with your life.
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