By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who can’t imagine ever being able to move on or to “let go” after their husband’s infidelity. And many wonder if their inability to do this is going to mean the end of their marriage.
To demonstrate, you’d typically get a comment like: “my husband’s affair really changed our life. We honestly had it all – two wonderful children, great jobs, a hometown we love, and a good marriage. My husband began a relationship with a woman at his job and it turned serious. It became so serious that this woman actually left her husband. Once she did this, my husband realized that he had to end the relationship because he didn’t want to leave our family. He confessed to the affair. I didn’t suspect anything. We had a good marriage. So if he hadn’t confessed, I would never have found out. I thought about things for a while and I decided that I wanted to try to save my marriage. I am not sure if this is going to be possible, but I do want to give it a shot. I told me husband the only way that I would even attempt a reconciliation is if he breaks off all contact with the other woman. He agreed to do this immediately. But then he said that he had something to ask of me. He said that eventually, I am going to need to let the affair go. His father cheated on his mother twenty years ago. His mother still harbors anger and still brings the affair up even after all this time. My husband says that he won’t have a marriage like his parents. He says that while he understands me not being able to let it go right now, he expects me to do so eventually. I agreed to this at first. But as time has passed, I realize just how hard a request this truly is. I find myself thinking about the affair all of the time. My husband and I will actually be having a good day, but something will always make me think of the affair and the mood is lost. I feel as if something has been taken from me that I can never get back. And I’m starting to wonder if I will ever be able to truly let it go. What if I can’t? What if I’m destined to hold onto this bitterness and this anger forever? Am I going to have a marriage like my in laws’? Or is my husband going to become so frustrated with me that my marriage will be over anyway?”
I can sympathize here because I know how this feels. When the devastation of the affair is fresh and new, you can start to worry if you are ever going to feel any better than you do at the worst time. Because you can’t envision anything that would ever make this improve. After all, you can’t undo or take back the affair. So, you will always have to live with the knowledge that your husband did this to you and to your marriage. You might wonder how you ever begin to forget something like that or move past it. You might think that this sort of pain never dulls or begins to go away. I understand this because I felt that way too.
But here is one thing that I learned. It doesn’t serve you to worry about things before they have happened. By doing so, you are only heaping full servings of worry onto a plate that is already more than full. It helps to take it one day at a time and one issue at a time. Handling it otherwise can just make things feel overwhelming.
Here is something else that you may not have considered. Over time, you will likely become very motivated to let it go. It’s an extremely heavy burden to bear. Most wives sort of cling to it at first because being mad helps with dealing with the pain. If you can be mad at him, then you can ignore your hurt, if only for just a little while. After some time passes though, you realize how hard it is to maintain these negative emotions. It’s exhausting. And it hurts just as much to be mad as to be sad. So it’s very normal and common to actually want to very willingly let it go after a while. And believe me when I tell you, it is such a relief to lay down that heavy load.
Here’s something else that I can share. Instead of placing your worry on not being able to do what you need to do, instead place your focus on healing. I’m talking about healing yourself first and your marriage second (should you chose to heal your marriage.) Because I know first hand that when you heal, letting this go is so much easier. You can do it once you’ve healed because you no longer feel like an open wound. Once happiness and peace returns to your life, you want to push the negative thoughts and feelings aside because they interfere with the stride that you have hit. What I am saying is that when you’ve healed, you will do everything in your power to maintain this. Because you know how bad it feels otherwise. And that includes letting it go very willingly. In time, you will learn how to restructure or interrupt those negative thoughts and worries because they do not serve you.
My answer to the original question though is to tell yourself that you will cross that bridge when you get to it. Don’t invite more worry into your life. Tell yourself that your first course of action is giving yourself what you need to heal. Because honestly, if you do that, the letting it go part just naturally follows. If it helps, you can read more about my healing process my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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