Friday, August 19, 2011

The Steps To Surviving And Healing After Infidelity

Some of the emails that I get from wives who are trying to recover from their husband's infidelity are heart breaking. Perhaps I feel for them more deeply because I have experienced what they are feeling first hand. I know exactly how deep the betrayal cuts and exactly how harshly you begin to judge yourself, your perceptions, and your ability to recover.

When all of these emotions are coming at you at once, it can be very difficult to fathom that things can ever be the same or "right" again. However, I can tell you from personal experience and from the letters I get that it is absolutely possible to survive infidelity � both personally and in terms of your marriage. I'll offer some tips on how to do this in the following article.

Worry About Healing Yourself Before You Worry About Him: Many people assume that infidelity is all about sex or power. In truth, this is only a small piece of the equation. Often, an affair is an attempt for a man to soothe his self esteem. Perhaps he's been under stress, has experienced some loss, or is experiencing some self doubt. The affair is a way to band aid these problems and make him feel worthwhile andon topagain. This is faulty logic, but this is howmany menare thinking at that time.

Often, after a while, wives will begin to put this together and will understand that the affair stemmed from their husband's internal struggles. So, they will try to "fix" or reassure their husbands and think thatif they can work out whatever psychological issue made their husband cheat, they won't have to worry about this in the future. I understand the logic about this thinking, but I must tell you that you can't "fix" another person. It would be great if we could do that, but we can't. Only your husband can do this for himself.

And, it's very important that you concentrate on yourself and not brush aside your own needs in an attempt to focus on him. Each person is going to need to navigate their own internal waters so to speak. While you both will need to work together on your marriage, your level of communication and intimacy, and restoring the trust, there is also a lot of self work to do that shouldn't be ignored.

You must be kind to yourself right now. If you're experiencing very common negative self talk, like: "How could I miss this?" "What's wrong with me?" etc., you must reprogram yourself to offer reassurance instead. In truth, your husband made the decision to cheat. You were not part of this process and you must not take on the blame. Control what you can. You can control your thought pattern (yes, the negative thoughts will invade, but when they do, you must reprogram.) You can control your actions and you can ensure that you're allowing yourself the time that you need to process this. Do not put unneeded pressure on yourself or worry about what others think or what you "should" be doing or feeling. No matter what you're feeling, it's valid and it's your right to experience it. But, don't allow yourself to repeat the negative patterns for too long. There is a big difference between experiencing and processing and dwelling.

In all honesty, often the biggest deterrent to a marriage being able to survive infidelity is the person who was cheated on's inability to believe that the cheating spouse's heart is still in it. They will worry that he's only staying in the marriage because he was caught and has no other options, or he's staying for the kids, or he's staying because it would cost him too much financially to get a divorce. So, what happens is that the wife assumes these things are true and so she never allows herself to fully let herself go and fully participate. She's an outsider looking in who's not fully present. And, this scenario just does not contribute to a truly loving, equal marriage. We all want this sort of marriage, but most of us allow the fear of being hurt again to keep us from getting it.

Addressing What's Broken In Your Marriage: In order for your marriage to survive an affair, you'll need to adequately fix the problems in your marriage that contributed to the infidelity. Now, I know that I said most of them stems from problems that your husband was having individually. And, this is absolutely true. But, there are often gaps in communication and intimacy that could have prevented or at least slowed this process. A broken person who has the shelter of a healthy marriage with open, two way communication is less likely to give in to this than someone who does not have this. You will need to build your marriage up until it gets to a place where both of you are healthy, happy, and fulfilled. This alone will go a very long way toward reassuring you that you can trust again, since there's no reason to look elsewhere.

Rebuilding Your Confidence In Yourself Following Infidelity: Rebuilding your marriage and being kind to yourself will take you a long way. But, at the end of the day, if you still doubt your physical attractiveness or ability to keep a man, these self doubts are going to put tiny clinks in the amour of your marriage until they begin to do some real damage. Often thoughts like "I can't keep his interest," or "he's going to find better than me and cheat again" become a true, self fulfilling prophecy.

So, do some self work and complete whatever you need to do to rebuild your confidence. Get back in top physical shape, focus on your appearance, or participate in some confidence boosters. Because at the end of the day, surviving infidelity actually means that you must know that you'll be OK and that you are worthwhile no matter what happens.

I know that working through the aftermath of an affair and forgiveness is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. It took a lot of work and healing, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and my self esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can reada very personal story on my blog at

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