Are you recovering from an affair?
An affair can be one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining experiences a person can go through. It affects all aspects of your life: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. An intimate relationship with another becomes “real” in every sense of the word – it isn’t just some fantasy or fling – so when that is broken it can be very difficult to rebuild yourself and create a functional life again after such devastation. And if children were involved, that makes the process even more challenging because there are other people’s lives involved as well.
The truth is though, affairs happen for many different reasons and often those reasons have nothing to do with YOU . There wasn’t anything you did (or didn’t do) that made your spouse have an affair. And it’s not because you’re not “good enough”. The truth is, there are no explanations or excuses for affairs. What matters is what you do after they happen.
And that’s where this article comes in…
Here are 14 ways to heal from an affair:
1 . Stop Blaming Yourself
After finding out about the affair, many people go into self-blame mode; often berating themselves for their inadequacies (real or perceived). They wonder if they could’ve done more or been different somehow to prevent the infidelity from happening. But when you start blaming yourself it becomes easy to see only the faults in your and all of its weaknesses instead of your strengths. You can end up feeling like you’re not good enough and that you don’t deserve anything better than what happened to you. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to stop blaming yourself for the affair and start taking responsibility for yourself . If you want something different in life, it’s up to YOU to make it happen. Blaming yourself only keeps you stuck in the past where nothing changes, but taking full responsibility brings awareness of what didn’t work in your relationship and allows for a chance at making the necessary adjustments that will bring about positive and healthy change.
2 . Stop Trying To Figure Out Why Your Partner Cheated
Putting all sorts of puzzle pieces together trying to figure out why your partner cheated is yet another common emotional process that many people go through after an affair. You find yourself trying to fill-in the blanks, looking for reasons you may have missed along the way or things your spouse was involved with that led up to them cheating, thinking there must be something you could’ve done to prevent it from happening. But here’s the thing…
Interpretations are endless. There are an infinite number of variables that lead up to any one outcome – meaning there is no single path that will lead someone into affairs. And even if you could understand the whole picture, why focus on what happened instead of what’s possible?
The best course of action after an affair is always moving forward rather than looking back . Trying to fill in all those blanks, no matter how well intended, only keeps you stuck where you are.
3 . Strength Begins Upon Completion Of The Affair
It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s true: the affair is over and therein lies your strength. This means that there is nothing left for you to do or figure out about what happened in order to move forward. Unfortunately though, many people continue to play detective long after the affair has ended and this prevents them from moving on with their lives. However much we’d like to know WHY our spouse cheated (and sometimes it certainly seems important), getting that answer doesn’t change the present moment nor does it provide any real value for moving forward in life.
4 . Cut Off Contact With The Other Person
This is a big one because if you want to heal from the affair, it’s imperative that you remove yourself from any and all contact with the other person. This means no more phone calls, no more texting, no more emails and no more sneaking around. Completely severing ties is essential for two reasons: first, it allows you to begin to detox from the affair and second, it sends a clear message to your spouse that you are serious about wanting to work things out.
5 . Stop Fantasizing About The Affair
It can be very difficult to break free from the grip of an affair, especially when your mind continues to play tricks on you by fantasizing about what have been. Thoughts like “If only I had done this or that” or “What if I had been more understanding” can be very damaging because they keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving on. The best way to deal with these thoughts is to simply acknowledge them for what they are: fantasies. And then let them go.
6 . Forgive Yourself
This one is huge, especially because it’s often the most difficult to do. But until you forgive yourself, you will continue to punish yourself emotionally and mentally for something that you had no control over. This only serves to keep you trapped in the cycle of pain and suffering. So how do you forgive yourself? It’s actually quite simple: by recognizing that you are human and that everyone makes mistakes. Just as you have forgiven your partner for their mistake, you must also give yourself a break. It’s never too late to let go of the guilt and resentment that comes from the affair – but it has to happen now.
7 . Stop Trying To Fix Or Change Your Partner
When someone cheats on another person, there is usually a reason why. However, too often we take this as an opportunity to try and fix our partners instead of looking inward at what WE need to heal from the situation. As much as we want anything other than pain and heartache for our spouses, it simply doesn’t work! Herein lies yet another roadblock that gets in the way of healing…until you realize that no amount of fixing or changing will heal the inner turmoil that is preventing them from maintaining a monogamous relationship.
8 . Make Peace With The Past
This means accepting the fact that you were blindsided by this and allowing yourself to heal at your own pace. That can be very difficult, especially when you want to make it better for your spouse who has seemingly moved on much faster than you have. Remember: everyone heals at their own pace and there’s no wrong or right way to heal after an affair. Don’t let anyone guilt or pressure you into healing faster…and don’t hold back in the name of being supportive of your spouse. One person’s journey does not define another’s path and we need to recognize each other’s journeys as unique and valid .
9 . Give Yourself Permission To Change
Statistically speaking, the vast majority of people who heal from an affair end up in a new relationship (and often remarry). And yet, when we heal it is tempting to want to replicate what was but this can be dangerous territory. There are many reasons why someone cheated on their spouse in the first place and if you don’t address these issues before getting involved with somebody else, it’s very likely that you will repeat the same mistakes all over again.
10 . Become Aware Of The “Victim Speak”
The victim speak takes many forms…it could be feelings like despair or depression or telling yourself that you’ll never heal or get over it. It can also take more subtle forms like playing detective long after the affair is over or trying to control your spouse’s every move. These are all signs that you have not yet forgiven yourself and, as a result, are still stuck in the cycle of pain.
11 . Take Time For Yourself
This is so important! When we’re struggling to heal from an affair, it’s very easy to become consumed by our thoughts and feelings. This can lead to a lot of self-judgement and even more isolation. The best way to counter this is by taking some time for yourself – even if it’s just 10-15 minutes each day. During this time, allow yourself to simply breathe and focus on the present moment. This will help you to center yourself and connect with your inner strength.
12 . Allow Yourself To Forgive
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healers after an affair. It’s also something that takes time because, when we’ve been hurt in this way, it’s often hard to want to forgive. However, your partner didn’t do this to you on purpose…no matter how much you try and tell yourself otherwise! Until you are able to truly forgive them for their mistake, you will never be able to heal from what happened.
13 . Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Spouse Now That You Know About Their Affair
It can be so difficult not to make assumptions when your spouse cheats on you but it’s important not to do so. Some people assume that having an affair means that they wanted the marriage to end…or that having an affair means that they’re never coming back. The truth is, there are so many different reasons why people cheat and knowing your spouse’s motivation doesn’t really give you any insight into their actions.
14 . Remember That This Is Very Rarely A Black & White Issue
It can be frustrating when our spouses tell us things like “it was all my fault” or “I’m not good enough for you.” These kinds of statements can lead to us feeling like we’ve been cheated on again…we become the victim in our own story rather than recognizing how WE contributed to what happened. Some people heal from affairs much faster than others because it’s easier for them to take on 100% of the responsibility. If this isn’t you, that’s perfectly okay! Affairs are rarely black and white issues – there are usually many different factors at play.