By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who wonder if they are ever going to feel truly happy again after their husband cheated or had an affair. Understandably so, finding out about the affair has been almost life changing and has changed their outlook on life.
Common comments are things like: “will I ever feel happy again after my husband had an affair? And if so, how? Because every morning I wake up and feel as if life as I knew it has come to an end. The marriage that I thought was actually good is a lie. I doubt my ability to judge people. I doubt my own attractiveness. I am scared to be on my own. I feel awkward and unsure about my husband. In short, I am miserable and scared. And I don’t see this ever changing. Is it possible to feel true happiness again after infidelity? And if so, what can I do to help myself be happy again?”
I firmly believe (and know from my own experience) that it’s completely possible to feel authentic and unbridled happiness and joy after infidelity. I won’t tell you it’s a fast process. I won’t tell you that it’s an easy process. But I will tell you that it is absolutely possible. And in the following article, I’ll offer some tips on how to reclaim the happiness that you deserve after your spouse’s infidelity.
Separate Your Personal Identity From Your Spouse’s Actions: Before you can begin to heal and to reclaim your happiness, you must accept that none of this is your fault. Your husband made his own decisions and acted as the result of his own free will. Even if your marriage wasn’t perfect and even if you contributed to this imperfection, you are in no way to blame for someone else’s actions. You shouldn’t own a responsibility that is not yours to own.
And along that same line of thinking, you should not judge yourself based on the things that someone else has done. You are not less or a person because of your spouse’s decisions. You do not have less value because your spouse chose to be unfaithful. His cheating says something about him, but it should not say something about you. Know that you are every bit as attractive, funny, smart, and valuable as you were on the day before you learned of your spouse’s affair. So, your opinion of yourself should not waiver or be negatively affected by your spouse’s mistake.
Fall Back On Those Things (Outside Of Your Marriage) That Have Always Made You Happy: Stop for a second and think about what has made you happy in the last year. Not everything should be related to your marriage. It’s a safe bet that you have a family, friends, and hobbies that do not include your husband or your marriage. That’s not to say that you can’t or won’t save your marriage. But in the initial days when you are just beginning to heal or are determining what you want to happen with your marriage, it’s a very good idea to seek happiness outside of your marriage. There are likely people, places, and things in your life that have brought you joy, happiness, and peace. Now is the time to draw on those things. In the days immediately after the affair, you may have to draw on the small joys in life – the sunrise, the fact that you woke up and you still have choices, the sound of birds singing or children laughing. Whatever it is that brings you joy, find ways to feel more of it and to spend more time doing it.
Many wives will admit that they didn’t cultivate a life outside of their marriage and so they feel particularly lost when their marriage is in question. If this is the case with you, then now is the time to start finding yourself outside of your marriage. And this is true even if you want to save your marriage. I was always clear on the fact that I didn’t want to give up on my marriage, but it was also very clear to me that I had lost some of myself within my marriage. And frankly, if both you and your husband are happy and whole individuals outside of your marriage, then you will have a stronger marriage as a result.
Know That Whatever Happens, Brighter Days Are Ahead: Some wives admit to me that they are worried that they must save their marriage or walk away from it to truly be happy once again. It’s my experience and observation that women can return to a happy life in either situation. Sometimes, I hear from wives whose marriages were affected by an affair years earlier. Some have saved their marriages and some have not. But most tell me that life is back to normal and most feel that things worked out for the best. Wives who saved their marriages will often say that their marriages have improved. People who ended their marriages often feel that it ended up being for the best. The human spirit has a very unique and fortunate ability to bounce back under challenges, even when the person who owns that spirit has their doubts.
So yes, it is completely possible to be happy again after infidelity. The keys are understanding that none of this is your fault and that your value and your worth has not changed. It’s also important to take responsibility for your own recovery and happiness. Give yourself what you need to heal and don’t apologize or feel selfish about the same.
There was a time that I worried that I would never regain my original happiness after my husband’s affair. I felt sorry for myself for what seemed like a long time but I realized I had to be at my best for my children and for myself. Honestly, the affair forced me to make many long overdue changes that actually improved my life. If it helps, you can read about my entire transformation on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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