Monday, August 8, 2011

Dealing With Infidelity In Your Marriage: How Do You Do It?

If you've found this article, I have to assume that you either strongly suspect or know for sure that your spouse has had an affair. I know from experience that in all likelihood you're experiencing a slew of overwhelming feelings (likely none of them positive) like betrayal, shock, severe hurt, and intense pain. You may also blame yourself, wonder how you could have been so naive, or blame your spouse entirely for his or her actions. Every single one of these questions and responses are perfectly natural and normal. You've been dealt a harsh blow and there is no right or wrong answer. The days following learning about an affair can go by in a daze or the blink of an eye and it's easy to feel overwhelmed or lost. This article will provide tips and prompts to help you deal with these feelings and sort out / deal with the affair.

Don't Blame Yourself,Beat Yourself Up Or Second Guess Yourself: Until an affair actually happened to me, I used to wonder how in the world a wife could blame herself for a husband's affair. I just did not get that at all. But then, in the days after my husband's affair (once my shock and rage at him wore off) I started to wonder where in the world I went wrong. How could I be so stupid? Was I not exciting enough? Pretty enough? Sexy enough? A good enough wife and mother? Did I not meet his needs or give him what he needed to be happy? Did he have to go elsewhere for excitement or satisfaction?

I have a friend who kind of went through this same sort of thing but in the opposite realm. When she found out about her husband's affair € she completed overcompensated. She wanted this thing fixed immediately so she sucked it up and put all of the blame squarely on her shoulders and made drastic changes to herself and her bedroom. The "crises mode" of the situation actually created a spark between her and her husband. Then, she hated herself because she felt that she was a "door mat" for just wanting her husband back. She asked herself where was her self respect? How could she allow him to do this? So she felt negatively about herself just as I did and her self esteem was hit as hard as mine was, but for different reasons.

Both of these reactions cause all sorts of internal bad feelings that doesn't help you heal at all. Although these feelings are so perfectly normal and understandable it's important to understand that no matter what you did or didn't do € the affair is not your fault. It just is not. Yourspouse is the one who made the decision to be unfaithful. Whether he / sheis going through a mid life crises or he/ she thinks their needs are not being met or he's / she's having self esteem issues, howthey chose to deal with these problems was a decision that THEY made.

There are manyspouses with issues who chose not to cheat but to instead communicate and work with their wives and husbands to work through these issues.

When You Are Ready, Evaluate And Understand Exactly Why The Infidelity Happened And Your Feelings On What You Want To Happen Now:I will always maintain that a spouse who cheats is the guilty party. However, each marriage has certain factors that can sometimes contribute to infidelity. This is not always the case. Sometimes it's a simple self esteem issue or stress manifesting itself, but sometimes there can be issues in a marriage or communication style that contributes to infidelity.

Whether you want to save the marriage or not, it can be helpful to hear (when you are calm and ready) just exactly why the infidelity happened. However, you don't have to take these reasons for face value. Really listen to what your spouse is saying and honestly evaluate if these issues they're bringing up have any merit or are valid.

Sometimes, a spouse will just make excuses or refuse to take responsibility, but sometimes, you will actually get the truth as painful as it may be. In my own case, my husband was not feeling heard in a highly stressful situation. At first I thought this was all just a silly excuse, but when I evaluated more honestly and closely, I had to admit there was a few slivers of truth there.

What you chose to do with this information is completely up to you. If you don't want to save the marriage, at least it is a learning experience that you may revisit later in a future relationship. If you do want to save the marriage, this information will be invaluable for you in the future so that you can address these things to make the marriage stronger and ensure the infidelity doesn't reoccur.

Now, it's important that you really take some honest time on your own when you can be calm and reflective (this may take time) to determine what you really want. It may be that your spouse has been a good one up until this point and you still love him or her and ultimately want to save the marriage. Or, it may be that a pattern of betrayal and dishonestly is emerging that is a deal breaker for you. Either answer is valid and OK.

Define what is your best case scenario that, if you could achieve it, would help you heal. For some, this is to just pick up and move on by yourself, without letting this one event ruin the rest of your life. For some, it's to get the marriage back to a loving and trusting place. Whatever your "best case scenario" is, always promise yourself that you will keep this in mind from this point forward.

Because if ultimately you want to save your marriage, then it doesn't make sense to continue to lash out at your spouse and continue to punish them months and months after they've said they're sorry or allow an unhealthy obsession with everything having to do with the affair (or the other woman) to continue to sabotage your marriage and your happiness. If being happily married and at peace again is really your goal, try your best not to engage in behaviors that are going to keep this from happening (while still being true to yourself.)

Don't Hesitate To Get Help To Deal With The Infidelity If You Need It: An affair can be heavy burden on the party who was cheated on. Your self esteem is likely going to take a huge hit. Although it may feel weird to do so, take this time to focus on yourself and your extreme self care. See friends. Pursue those things you love. Do what makes you happy. This will make you feel better and will show both you and your spouse that you have enough self respect that this isn't going to beat you.

You may ultimately need some to help with your healing and with dealing with the infidelity. In myown experience, although I wanted to save my marriage and to forgive myhusband, I wasstuck. I would feel forgiving toward him one second and rage at him thenext. He was patient with me and I was trying to bepatient with him, but wecouldn't move forward.

It's normal to have difficulty in the early daysafterlearning about the affair, but if you get stuckand can't move past it, don't hesitate to get the help you need. There is no shame in it. Ultimately, Ineeded outside resources to get me out of thiscycle that was just holding me back. Once I had this, I was able to slowly move forward and today, although it took some work and effort, I can honestly say it hasn't beaten me in the least.

Dealing with the infidelity in my marriage was very difficult for a time. With a lot hard work and effort, our marriage and my self esteem recovered. I now know myself, my husband and my marriage much more intimately. I no longer worry that he is going to cheat again. You can read my very personal story on my blog at

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