How Are You Supposed To Act Around The Husband Who Has Hurt You With His Cheating Or Affair?

By Katie Lersch: It’s pretty common for me to hear from people who are wondering what happens now that the affair is out in the open.  Often, the discovery of the cheating or the affair is so emotional and volatile.  But then the days that follow present their own challenges.  Many people aren’t quite sure how they should act or how to carry out their day to day lives.

I heard from a wife who said: “to say that I am crushed by my husband’s cheating and affair is an understatement.  I feel like our whole lives was nothing more than a lie.  He is begging me to allow him to have a chance to make this up to me.  He promises that I will not regret it if I give him another chance.  But I feel so damaged right now.  Every day, I find myself retreating from him.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and it’s very obvious that I am uncomfortable and angry.  My husband mostly ignores this, but sometimes he will say that if I can’t stop being so angry and distant, he’s not sure how we’re going to be able to save our marriage.  I think that he wants me to act forgiving and loving when this truly isn’t the way that I really feel.  How are you supposed to act around the man who hurt you by cheating on you?  I don’t want to sabotage my marriage and I don’t want to be unpleasant to be around.  But I can’t help the way that I feel.”

I really felt badly for this wife.  I know from experience that it can be a challenge to feel as though you need to act in a certain way when your heart is breaking.  On the one hand, she felt very justified in her anger.  But on the other, she knew that her anger was going to affect her family and her ability to repair her marriage.  Still, she felt like she was being asked to play a role that didn’t feel exactly right.  I’ll share with you the insights that I offered her in the following article.

You Should Feel Free To Express Your True Feelings, But If You Find That They Are Negatively Affecting Your Healing, Learn Constructive Ways To Release Them:  No one should have to pretend to feel something that they don’t.  You should not feel pressured to push down your true feelings.  You have every right to be angry and confused right now.  And it may take some time before your anger begins to wane.  Also, sometimes you need to see some actions and behaviors from your husband in order to make this possible.  So this too, just requires some time.

With all of this said, many wives intuitively know that their behaviors are having a negative affect on their family and on their marriage.  In my own case, I was angry a lot of the time.  And this sort of became my set personality, which I didn’t like very much.  There would be times when my husband would say or do something sweet and I would truly want to feel a little happiness or to respond positively.  But, I was stuck in my own anger.   I couldn’t accept or receive my husband’s reconciliation attempts because I was stuck in a cycle of anger and isolation.  I knew that I didn’t want to continue living my life in this way.  So, I started looking for ways to release my anger on people who weren’t part of my family.

Although counseling didn’t prove as helpful as I had hoped, I did notice that when I was able to just talk and release my feelings, I always felt a little better.  So I started looking for ways that I could regularly release my feelings.  I didn’t always feel comfortable doing this with my husband.  Because often, my anger was directed at him.  So I talked to trusted friends or I journaled.   This allowed me to have some relief and I found that when my husband would do something nice, I would be more apt to not outright reject him, which helped.  Over time, healing moved along and I was more comfortable releasing the anger and welcoming the joy.  It did not happen overnight.  And I did regress sometimes, but I could see how far I had come and eventually, I would get back on track.

To answer the question posed, I would say that you should feel free to act authentic and genuine.  However, if you find that your anger is affecting the way that you feel about your life, is delaying your healing, or is affecting your family for the long term, you will want to find ways to release or channel this anger.  Because you don’t deserve to continue to feel like this forever.

I remember feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I realized that I had mostly let the anger go.  Although the anger was justified, it completely weighed me down and I didn’t want to live that way.  If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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