This can be the most painful time when you discover the person you trusted the most has betrayed you. Below are some thoughts to help you navigate this time.
Constructive Expression of Your Feelings:
All your feelings are valid, but abuse be it verbal, physcail or emtional toward your partner is not. If you have a goal to repairing your relationship, finding a way to express what you feel without pushing your partner away is critical.
It is essential to establish the difference between those you can trust to share information with and those you shouldn’t. Even if your instinct is to isolate, support from someone you trust can help you through.
Ask for Details only if it Helps:
What information do you, the betrayed partner, want to hear? Once you hear it, you can not unhear it? When are enough details, enough?
Asking for Reassurances Without being Accusatory:
Even when you feel anxious, angry, or just overhwlmed, work on approaching your partner in a way that will limit defensiveness and encourage openess.
Identify What Might Help You and Ask for It:
Define specific, concrete, observable behaviours from your partner that would help you to feel better and more secure in the relationship.
Regaining Positive Self-Concept and Accessing Sources of Resilience:
The unfaithful spouse is always going to be an integral part of the healing process; however, part of this healing work must come from only you. Self-worth and how your self-esteem can be shattered by an afffair and personal evaluation of has been impacted is critical.
Identification of Areas of Your Relationship That Need Improvement:
Even if your marriage felt like it was on solid ground before the affair, a betrayal changes that. It’s time to reevaluate the relationship from a more objective perspective and begin to rebuild and reconnect with your partner.
Pay Attention to How Arguments or Difficult Conversations End:
What is working with the way you argue of have difficult conversations as a couple? Has this changed since the betrayel? How did this compare to before? How can you compromise?
Thought Stopping and Mindfulness:
It is important at this time to learn techniques to deal with triggering thoughts and rumination, which are common after a betrayel Ruminations can be highly distressing or debilitating and hinder your desire to heal.
Avoiding Mind Reading and other cognitive distortions:
Other techniques to deal with hypervigilance or false-interpretations and restructuring negative thoughts are important also. It is very easy to get lost in these types of cognitive distortions after an affair.
Gain Empathy for Partner:
Real healing cannot occur until there is a move toward compassion and empathy for the unfaithful spouse. This may feelmimpossible right now and it is somethiong that needs to be worked towards very slowly with support.
Finding different ways to let go of some of the negative emotion for yourself and your relationship can give you great healing.
What if you cannot forgive? Seeking a sense of understanding of what happened and why can eventually help you to a place of acceptance. Not acceptance that what happened was ok, but that you can integrate this expereince in your life and move on from it.
Learn Ways to Get Back on Track:
Setbacks in this process are normal. Getting stuck forever (arguing or not talking about it) is not.
If you are recovering from the discovery of an affair, please get in touch.