My Spouse And I Can’t Stop Fighting After The Affair. Will This Tear Us Apart?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from couples who really do want to make things work after one of them cheated and had an affair. But, they can’t stop the endless fighting. They can’t seem to turn around the negativity that has developed between them. They might envision a healed marriage and a fresh start, but they are having a hard time moving toward that place because they can’t stop pushing each other’s buttons and lashing out.

I might hear a comment like: “there are days when I absolutely hate my husband for cheating on me. My mother’s husband cheated on her. My friend’s husband cheated on her. And I have had to watch wonderful women who I love struggle and hurt because a man couldn’t act with integrity. I have hated these men. I thought they were losers who couldn’t see the beautiful women right in from of them. I thought that they were liars and cheats. I told myself I could never be with that type of man. And now here I am married to a man who is no better than them. So yes, I have a lot of pent up anger toward my husband. And it comes out all of the time. I say nasty and hurtful things to him. And he will strike back and say that it is no wonder he cheated because I am so cold and abrasive. And it a vicious cycle. We will have a good day or two and seem to make some progress. And then something will come up and I will be furious and I will lash out at him again. Then he will say something horrible back to me to justify his cheating. And before I know it, we’re screaming at one another. I went into this saying that I wanted to save my marriage. But, I just don’t think that it’s going to be possible. Do people ever save their marriages after an affair when they can’t move past the fighting?”

Breaking The Cycle Of Anger: My answer to this is yes. I know this to be true because I have experienced it myself. But I have to tell you that turning the corner and tapering down and stopping the fighting doesn’t just magically happen. It takes work. It takes learning new ways to communicate. It takes having control and disrupting yourself when you want to lash out. It requires that you don’t engage with him even when he’s trying to push your buttons. And it helps greatly if you are both on board and agree to turn this around.

Frankly, it also helps quite a bit if you have a counselor or third party to help you identify your triggers and then to coach you on new ways to address them. However, I do realize that not everyone wants or can go to counseling. I believe that it’s possible to redirect your marriage without counseling, but it requires a great deal of effort, self help, and self recognition. You have to get into the habit of watching your marriage and your actions almost like an outsider so that you can objectively see what is at play here. This can take quite a bit of determination. But I believe that it is possible.

The Natural Progression Of Things: I can also tell you this, which you might find to be encouraging. Even if you do nothing at all, the shock and anger does just naturally fade in time. I don’t want to insinuate that you just naturally will let go of your anger without working through it. That is not what I mean. But what I am saying is that the intensity of the anger does wane. Because it is exhausting to maintain that high level of emotion all of the time. So just because of that alone, things may begin to improve. When you are not as angry, you will not lash out as much and he will therefore not respond. This will break the cycle somewhat.

Understanding What Is Underneath The Anger: You have to be careful to not push your spouse’s buttons and vice verse because you are right. It’s very hard to make progress with your marriage and eventually save it when you can’t heal because of the fighting. Starting out this way doesn’t mean that your marriage is over. It just means that you have a lot of work to do. Much of the time, the anger is based on fear and resentment. You are scared that your life and your marriage is never going to right again. You feel that he has taken your happiness and your peace of mind away.

But here is something that you might not realize. It took me way to long to realize this, but I eventually did. You don’t need his cooperation for your own peace of mind and happiness. You can work on these things separate from him, separate from the affair, and separate from your marriage. You can restore your happiness and peace of mind without things needing to go perfectly as far as your marriage is concerned. You can work on your own healing without his input. And do you know what happens when you do? Your resentment and your anger fades. You stop lashing out so much because you know that you are going to be fine no matter what happens.

And when your anger fades, his cooperation increases. When these two things happen at once, you’re both more likely to work together more and fight less. This is why I don’t think that this situation is helpless. It’s quite common. And, with work and determination, it can be overcome.

There were days when I felt that I didn’t have control over my anger.  Instead, my anger had control over me.  It took a lot of effort to over come this.  But it got easier with time. If it helps, you can read more about how I progressed on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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