How Do I Stay Calm After My Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I think that it is fair to say that finding out about your husband’s affair is probably one of the worst things that many of us can imagine. It can cause, pain, panic, and behavior that is frankly not typical of you. I’ve had women tell me that they were acting sort of outside of themselves during this time period and they just could not control themselves. We’ve all heard of people who throw their cheating husband’s clothes on the lawn. But I’ve heard of women taking things even further than this. And when many are partaking in this out of control behavior, they want to stop. They know that they should stop. But it’s very hard to remain calm and control yourself when this is happening to you.

I might hear from a wife who says: “honestly, I’m afraid of what I might do. I have never been so angry in my life. I am normally a very calm and introverted person. I hate confrontation. I rarely lose control of my emotions. But this has brought out something scary in me. My husband has been having an affair with his coworker. When I found out, I immediately went to his work and caused a huge scene. I told his boss that he should fire my husband. I threatened the other woman. I told my husband’s family and friends. I had a melt down at my kid’s school the other day. I can not sleep. I can not eat. I feel as if I am very close to just exploding and making a fool of myself and embarrassing my children. How can I calm myself down? I am embarrassed by my behavior and I don’t want for my children to see me this way.”

I really feel it deeply when I hear comments like this because I remember feeling this same way. And as if dealing with the affair isn’t bad enough, feeling like you’re losing control of yourself just makes it all so much worse. I have to tell you that I am not a mental health professional. But I highly suggest that you reach out to one. I know that very few of us want to do this, but I do believe that it can often be very helpful. If for some reason that it’s an unattractive or unavailable option to you, then consider reaching out to a priest or trusted friend. Sometimes, you need to be able to release your emotions to a supportive third party and this will give you some relief.

Some Things I Found Calming: I can tell you some other things that have helped me. Journaling was invaluable to me. When I wanted to lash out at my husband, I skewered him with my words in my journal. I didn’t edit anything and I was brutal. If I were to read my words today, I am sure that I would blush a little. But it sure felt good to let it all hang out. I wrote for hours and hours and filled up notebook after notebook (which I later burned.  I wouldn’t want any one to read them.) Obviously, I had a lot of things to release. And I always felt like even friends who loved me probably got sick of hearing the same old sad story from me. So I turned to my journal where I didn’t have to justify anything to any one and I didn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed.  I kept this going for a long time, even as I began to improve.  When I filled a journal, I would read through it to check for progress.  I would burn it.  And I would start another fresh one.  This began a ritual for me.  And with each new journal, I did feel that I was making progress and becoming healthier each time.  Having that release and seeing that progression was priceless.

I also tried meditation and yoga. I found yoga beneficial right away. But meditation was a disaster at first. I could not shut off my brain. I would get quiet and start breathing and then of course thoughts of the affair would come into my head. I tried mantras and refocusing on my breath but none of this helped until one day, I tried music. I found some calm, meditative music online and listened to it through headphones on my phone while closing my eyes. I eventually took this a step further and listened to the music while walking and this was the best combination for me. The physical movement coupled with the calm music finally allowed my mind to empty. I started walking briskly and I lost a good amount of weight, which helped me feel much better about myself. You might have to experiment to see what works best for you. But if you find that combination that quiets your mind, then it is worth repeating regularly until you find that you just aren’t so tortured any more.

Finally, when I found myself getting angry by my husband’s presence, I learned to take a step back. Sometimes, just the sight of him would make me furious and would leave me feeling out of control. And for the longest time, I would respond by engaging with him. I finally clued into the fact that this was only making things worse so I learned to take a walk or to just leave the situation for as long as it took for me to calm down. To be honest, we did live separately for a while because his every day presence was just was too upsetting for me at first. But I learned that living in two homes eventually wasn’t necessary as I learned to take a break when I needed it.

When all of the rest of this failed, I thought of my kids.  I would picture them on a therapist’s couch talking about the pain their parent’s fighting caused them.  Yes, I was angry that I was having to clean up my husband’s mess.  But I wasn’t going to cause my kids one ounce of pain.  And that was something that I could control.  I am much more motivated by my kid’s wellbeing than anyone else’s, including my own.

I don’t have to tell you that a loss of control can lead you to do things that you will regret. If you didn’t already know that, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Identifying the problem is half the battle. Taking constructive action is the next step. Please get some help if you need it. There is no shame in it. None of this is your fault. And then, learn how to release your feelings and then to turn off your mind for a while. This is what helped me.

Of course, healing my marriage helped too.  But you can’t heal your marriage until you are receptive. And you aren’t going to receptive until you can be calm.  Just take small steps day by day.  This is a process. You’re welcome to read more about my own journey on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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