I Don’t Feel Like My Normal Self After My Spouse’s Infidelity. I Feel Like It’s Changed Me In Very Negative Ways

By: Katie Lersch:  There’s no question that it can feel as if your life has been altered if your spouse is unfaithful.  You feel like the world you knew no longer exists – if it ever did in the first place.  Things look different because you are seeing them through a different lens.  Things feel vastly different.  You feel different.  And because of this, you can act differently too.  People may notice.  You may try to get back to your old self or your old life and find it nearly impossible.  And this is when you can start to wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again.

A wife might say: “it has been six months since my husband’s affair.  Never would I have believed that I would still feel so awful after all of this time.  It is still so fresh.  I still feel so damaged and just different.  Things that used to be so automatic and used to come so easily to me are very hard.  Doing my job is a challenge.  Laughing with people is almost impossible.  I haven’t told anyone about my husband’s infidelity. So no one understands what is wrong with me.  Yesterday, I went out to dinner with my sister.  I was short tempered with the waitress and my sister said that I have changed.  She said that normally, I would have laughed off the waitresses’ mistake and enjoyed my meal anyway.  She is right about this.  I am miserable now.  I am short tempered. I have no concentration.  I am suspicious of everyone and I have lost my most basic faith in humanity.  I hate the way that this has changed me.  I feel like I will never get myself back.  Sometimes, I will wake up in the morning and I will tell myself that I am going to make a conscious effort to be present in the moment and enjoy life like I used to.  But this only lasts an hour or so and then I am struggling again.  What if I am never normal again? What if I remain a lessor person?”

I think we have all had these thoughts.  And I also think that you’re being a little hard on yourself.  I understand feeling like you’re not trying hard enough or that you are doing something wrong.  But none of the blame or short comings lie with you.  Understand that you are only reacting to something awful and you are grieving.  And people who grieve can not be expected to be completely themselves.

I know that I am going to sound overly dramatic here.  But when your spouse is unfaithful, it is almost like a metaphorical death happens.  Don’t misunderstand me.  No person died.  But in a sense, the marriage that you had before has died.  (This doesn’t mean that you can’t forge a new marriage.) In a sense, your innocence has died.  So you will have to process and grieve these losses.

Think about it this way.  If you had a friend who was grieving, would you become impatient with her, wonder what was wrong with her, and demand to know when she was finally going to get her act together? Would you think that she just needed to try harder or be more determined?

Of course you wouldn’t.  You’d understand that she has gone through something horrible and you would likely wonder what you could do to help her. Well, you can help her.  Because, in this instance, she is you.  And you can cut her some slack and know that she is doing the very best that she can, considering the circumstances.  And you can reassure her that one day, things are not going to feel so awful.  One day, she is going to be able to turn the corner.

I know that you might be wondering what you can do to speed up this process.  Probably the best thing that you can do is to give yourself permission to facilitate your healing.  If you need to go to counseling, then go.  If you need to improve yourself or your situation in some way, then give yourself permission to put yourself first.

I can tell you that it is doubtful that things will always be like this.  I remember the early days in my recovery and I felt just like this.  I worried that I would always be a shell of myself, always struggling with the memory of how things used to be.  Sometimes, I still miss how things used to be.

But you know what?  I did gain some things from the experience.  I am stronger. I am more quick to ask for and seek what I need.  I am unapologetic to notice and then fix it when something isn’t working for me.  I take inventory of the way I feel and what I want much more often.  Because I know that if I do not take care of myself, I may slide back to the old struggles and that is unacceptable.  Today, I have a huge capacity for joy.  Life is too short not to.

You will get there.  It takes time.  And it takes you making yourself a priority.  I know that you don’t feel normal.  But you are grieving and grief interrupts your normal life.  But it doesn’t last forever.  And many people find that it leaves you with unexpected gifts, so that when things do return to normal, you appreciate them more and you are quicker to take the steps to ensure that they stay that way.

If it helps, you’re welcome to read about how I got there on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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