I’ve Been Struggling With Getting Over My Husband’s Affair For A Long Time. How Do I Turn The Corner?
By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from women who feel that too much time has passed since their husband’s affair to not see any improvement. Often, months or even years go by and yet they feel no better and there is not yet a sense of relief. The wives can start to wonder what is wrong with them and if there is any way to turn to the corner or to get over the hump.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had an affair three years ago. If you would have told me then that I would still be in pain three years later, I would not have believed it. I thought that if my husband and I wanted to save our marriage enough, then we would eventually heal. We are both intelligent and good people and I was confident that we would do whatever was necessary. But we have not recovered as well as I would have hoped. And I don’t think that this is anyone’s fault. We have tried very hard. I do believe that my husband has been faithful since the affair. But I still hurt. I still have doubt. I still find myself thinking back to when I first found out. I find myself wondering why my marriage still feels off. When I discuss this with my husband, he gets frustrated and throws up his hands. He asks me what more he can be expected to do. I don’t have any answers for him. I don’t know why I haven’t recovered. I want to feel better. And I’m terrified that this means that although we tried our best, our marriage just didn’t make it. This breaks my heart. But what other conclusion is there? How can I turn the corner? Or is it too late?”
I don’t think that it is ever too late. I can’t tell you that every marriage is going to make it after an affair. Some do not make it even though both people tried very hard. But others that initially struggle do recover. And sometimes what separates one from the other is a refusal to give up. I do believe that there are some things that you might try before you give up. After all, you have hung in there this long. So I think it is worth to try a few additional things.
Is There Anything That You Still Need To Talk About?: I often find that in situations like this, there are a few issues where neither spouse wants to go. In other words, there are often issues that people will tend to tip toe around. And these tend the be the most potentially painful issues. These are often issues of attraction, trust, compatibility, and integrity. These are the unspoken questions like: “do you not find me attractive anymore?” Or “will you cheat again when my back is turned?” Or “how am I ever going to be confident that I turn you on enough for you to be faithful to me?” Another example is: “I’m not sure that I will ever be the same person again. And as a result, I’m not sure that we can ever have the same marriage again.”
Many people don’t put these fears and thoughts into words either because they don’t want to put their insecurity or their doubts on display or they don’t want to bring up an issue that they think should have already healed. Plus, they often don’t want to risk the judgements or the defensiveness from their spouse. In short, it’s a risk that they don’t want to take when they have already lost so much or they already feel as if they are walking on thin ice.
I do understand this. I know how this feels. But I also know that if you “don’t go there” or you don’t stare right in the face of what is troubling you the most, then it is always going to be an issue until you do. And after some time has passed, you can start to believe that the whole issue is insurmountable issue when in fact it is not.
You Must Make Every Attempt To Reintroduce Fun And Flirtation Back Into Your Marriage: I know that this may seem silly at first glance. But many couples almost see staying together after infidelity as a job that must be done well or even perfect. They approach this in a very serious and almost methodical manner. This is understandable. After all, your marriage is at stake here. It’s not a laughing matter. But I can tell you that a very common reason that people have affairs is because they are looking to add spice to their lives. They are attracted to something new or to a sense of adventure.
In order to turn the corner, you should make every attempt to reintroduce this into your marriage. And when I say this, it can be as simple as trying to new things and making sure that you are laughing with your spouse on a regular basis. I know what you might be thinking. You are probably wondering how are you supposed to do this when you are still so angry or things are still so tense? Sometimes, you have to place these fears on the back burner for just a little while so that you can make some progress.
I know that it might seem weird or even unfair. But if you are successful with this, something interesting might happen. When you start to gel and be light hearted with your spouse again, you will probably find that your confidence level will go up and your anger level will go down. That’s just the way that it often works.
You Must Rebuild Your Confidence To Manage Your Doubts: Sometimes when I describe the above scenario, I women respond with things like “well my husband doesn’t want to spend that kind of time with me.” Or “my husband would never think of me as light hearted and fun.”
If this strikes a cord with you, then this is a good indication that you need to work on your self confidence. I don’t say this to insinuate that there is anything wrong with you. But in order to take risks, you will need a little courage. And courage doesn’t come easily when you are filled with self doubt. So I am giving you encouragement and even permission if you need it to do whatever you need to do in order to restore your self confidence. This might take a little time, creativity, and patience but it is worth it. You may even feel selfish at the time, but this is OK. Because if you don’t see the positive attributes within yourself than you can’t believe that your husband also sees them. And unfortunately, until that happens, you may have a hard time turning the corner. And there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help with this if all else fails.
As I alluded to, I had my own struggles after my husband’s affair. Doubts and worries seemed to follow me around no matter what I did. My mind would resolve that today was a new day but my heart wouldn’t follow. It wasn’t until I made myself the biggest priority that all this changed. If if helps, you can read that story on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com
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