By: Katie Lersch: It’s not at all uncommon for me to hear from people who fantasize about taking revenge on their spouse or the other person after an affair. And this is certainly understandable. When your spouse and one other dishonorable person make a mockery of your marriage vows and betray you in the worst way possible, it’s normal and understandable to feel that they should pay or that they should feel the pain and hurt that you are feeling. Unfortunately, these sort of feelings about and wish for revenge rarely make you feel better. I’ve had people tell me that revenge has made them momentarily feel better, but the feeling is often fleeting and it will sometimes cause you more pain than it relieves. The reason for this is that when you focus on revenge, you also focus on the wrong done to you and your pain. But, in order to feel better you should be focusing on moving forward. Many people do realize this and they wish they could stop focusing on revenge. But every time they try, their feelings come back.
I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “I’m sort of obsessed on getting revenge on the other woman and my husband. I know that this type of behavior is beneath me. And when I did switch my husband’s sugar bowl for his coffee with salt, when I canceled his sports channel, and when I gave his golf clubs to goodwill, these things didn’t really make me feel the relief or the joy that I would have hoped. I know that I shouldn’t be thinking about these things but I can’t seem to help myself. I fantasize about them cheating on each other or the relationship going sour. I want them both to fail and feel pain. And if I can do anything to facilitate that, I am tempted to do it. I know two wrongs don’t make a right. So how can I stop feeling this way. And when will I stop being so focused on revenge?”
I can tell you from experience that it’s absolutely normal to be tempted to want or take revenge. But many wives know that this so rarely makes you feel the closure that you are hoping for. Instead, it seeks to transfer your pain onto them. But you know what? Until you heal and place your focus on moving forward, you’re going to keep right on feeling that pain, whether you get revenge or not.
Focus On Improving Your Situation And Yourself And You Will Find That Your Obsession With Revenge Will Wane: I’m going to borrow a phrase from Ivanna Trump and tell you that “the best revenge is living well.” I know and believe this to be true. When you return to a place of happiness and peace in your own life, you no longer have a need to hurt anyone else or make them pay. Because you know that the universe has taken care of you and will do the same for them. In other words, it may offer you some relief to believe that they will get what is coming to them without your needing to take or seek revenge or to stoop down to their level. So, your efforts are better spent on your own self care or recovery.
Here’s what this looks like in real life. In my own experience, every time I would feel the anger building within me or felt that need for revenge, I would try to divert myself back to me by doing something nice or beneficial for myself. I might take a walk around the block, study for those classes I finally had the courage to take, or plan out my future.
Another thing that often helps is really being honest with yourself. Ask yourself what it is that you really want. Because, if you can try to meet your own desires, you will have less of a need to worry with anyone else. In my own case, I really wanted to feel some respect for myself and I wanted my own success. So I went back to school and started a new career. This kept me so busy that I no longer needed to dwell on other people.
Does this mean that you don’t give a silent “hooray” when they break up or when misfortune comes their way or they end up cheating on each other? Not necessarily. There’s nothing wrong with being glad that the universe is working in the way that it should. But placing your focus on someone else isn’t usually the healthiest call for you. And that is what you need right now – to focus on your own health and happiness.
When I continued to be honest with myself, I discovered that I didn’t necessarily want revenge, I just wanted my husband to be sorry for what he did. And behind this, I wanted him to be sorry for what I did because I hoped he still loved me. This was very hard to admit at the time, but it lead to me saving my marriage and I think this is better than any revenge could ever be.
Our marriage today is very solid, although we had grave struggles in our recovery. But the affair did push me to do some things that I always wanted and needed to do and it actually made me a stronger, more confident person. If it helps, you can read the whole story about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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