Coping Techniques After Being Cheated On And Deciding On Staying Together

By: Katie Lersch:  If I tried to tell you that life after a spouse’s affair was easy or was smooth sailing, you would know that I was lying.  Common sense tells you that it is not.  And yet, despite the difficulty, many people chose to stay for various reasons. Often times, there are children and other family members to consider.  Sometimes, it is very hard to turn your back on what you have built over the long term.  There are some very good and legitimate reasons to stay in spite of infidelity.  But that doesn’t make it easy.  People often say that this is a life-changing event that can change your world view.  They often ask for coping mechanisms to make it better.

Someone might say: “I am not questioning my decision to stay with my husband after his affair.  I know that this is the right thing – the only thing – considering my convictions.  And yet I am struggling.  I feel almost depressed.  I feel as if I have lost so much.  And it never seems to get any better.  My friends say ‘give it time,’ but I feel like I have and yet I am still so sad and so angry.  What are some coping mechanisms that I can use to get me through this?”

I will share some things that helped me.  I know that some of these tips might sound simplistic, but I found them to be very helpful.  They are also easy and mostly free.  So what does it hurt to try?

Never Settle For The Status Quo. Always Seek Improvement:  Once I was telling a friend of mine that my husband and I were doing “OK” after the affair.  She looked at me with the kindest expression and said: “I want you to know that you deserve more than just OK.  Do not concede to a marriage that isn’t what you want.”  This changed things for me.  As bad as an affair is, it does give you a clean slate.  You get to redefine your marriage and frankly, this is something to get pumped up for.  If you just accept a marriage that is half of what it once was, you’re not taking advantage of the ability to rebuild.  This gives you something to look forward to and get excited about, which helps to keep depression at bay.

Find An Outlet:  As much as you may feel that you need to constantly talk about the affair, this gets old quickly. And before you know it, you may feel that your whole life is consumed by the affair.  This isn’t good for anyone.  It’s very important to find an easy way to release these feelings. I found a handful of things helpful in this regard – journaling, yoga, power walking, meditation, charity crafting, and gardening.  It is so important to get out of your head regularly.  I would give myself five minutes to journal and I would write fast so that I wouldn’t edit myself.  Getting this out every single day helped so much.  Then, I would do something every day to focus my thoughts elsewhere.  Sometimes that was exercise. Sometimes that was using a meditation app on my phone.  But I found these things to be vital because often, you need to take a break from the drudgery and improve your outlook.  Everyone needs something to look forward to.

One Day At A Time Might Be Cliche, But It Can Help You Make Gradual Progress:  So often, we hope to heal immediately.  As nice as this would be, this isn’t realistic.  There is so much anger and confusion to process.  There is rebuilding to be done.  This all requires small steps as the relationship regains its footing.  It’s a gradual process that takes time.  And sometimes, all you can do is to take it one day – and one step – at a time.  This requires a different outlook than many of us have.  This is a learned behavior.  But it is necessary.  Every night, I used to give myself credit for getting through another day – even if it was difficult. And I would tell myself that tomorrow was another day and I would make the most of it.  Even if today isn’t so great, you always have tomorrow.

Putting It In Perspective:  Sometimes, when you are dealing with an affair, you feel like your world is ending.  You feel as if the walls are closing in. But you truly do have to take a step back sometimes.  When I was trying to heal, one of my friends was spending time in the hospital because her child had a scary, mystery illness.  This helped me gain perspective.  Although my family life was shaky and not like I wanted it, we were all together and we were all alive.  Which meant that there was still the chance to fix things.

Very few things are dire if you are still breathing and still have the capacity to wake up in the morning and craft the life that you want.  I know that this sounds dramatic, but it is true.  Some spouses have just lost their other half to illness or accident.  It happens.  So the fact that you are both here on this earth is something to be grateful about.  Because it means that every day, you have a chance to make it right again.  And not every one has this luxury.

When I look back at the aftermath of my husband’s affair, I know that it was bad.  But honestly, I don’t think of the bad times all that much today.  I don’t dwell.  And that is the luxury of making it to the other side.  I know that you’re just starting right now.  But hang in there.  Things can and do get better.  If you aren’t getting what you need, speak up.  And know that you deserve the life that you want. There’s more about my own coping on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts