I get a lot of correspondence from women who are in a lot of pain while trying to deal with the troublesome issues that come hand in hand with a husband’s affair. These women often tell me that they’ve tried numerous different things from counseling, to giving their best efforts, to even cheating themselves. Many are quite frustrated that none of these things seem to be working. Often, they still feel the anger, the hurt, and the sense of helplessness that seems to accompany this situation.
I often hear comments like “I feel like I’ve not only lost my husband and my family, but I’ve lost myself. I used to be reasonably confident and trusting, but that’s all changed now.” Or, “how can I get over the sense of how unfair this all is? I was a good wife. Why does he get to just make a huge mistake and now I have to be the one to forgive?” Or, “I just don’t know how to feel better. Every day, I feel pain and anger. I’ve tried counseling. I’ve tried talking it out. But none of it takes away my anger.”
I do understand and sympathize. I have been in this situation and I have felt all of these feelings. I understand worrying whether things will ever change or get better when you can’t seem to make any decent gains no matter how hard you try. But, I do believe that there are some things that can help you to heal (or at least they did in my case.) I will discuss these things in the following article.
The Number One Thing That You’ve Going To Need To Heal From Being Cheated On Is Constructive Time That Changes Important Things For You: I often tell women that there is no way around needing time and space to process what has happened and to begin the healing process. Guilty husbands will often press for forgiveness way too early and often we will beat ourselves up and tell ourselves things like “I should have gotten over this by now.” Or, “why can’t I just move on once and for all?”
If you rush yourself or allow yourself to move according to someone else’s time frame or judgments, you’re risking placing unnecessary pressure on yourself. There is no “one size fits all” time frame. And quite honestly, the healing will come much faster if your husband is willing to provide the things that you are going to need. But, telling wives that they’re “going to need time” when healing from being cheated on is only partially accurate.
If you give yourself time but then nothing within the marriage, yourself, or your husband changes, then you might not have the success that you have hoped for. What you need is time coupled with the changes that are going to offer you the reassurance and the improvements that are necessary to make you believe that healing can and should take place. Time without real progress isn’t always enough.
Understanding That You Are Likely Not The Main Or Only Problem: Protecting Your Self Esteem: Many women who have been cheated on actually feel guilty or to blame even though they are the partner who was faithful. They will assume that they didn’t give their husband what he needed or they were too self absorbed or naive to catch onto what was going on. They’ll sometimes tell themselves that they are losing their looks, or are not good listeners, or just don’t pay attention enough to “keep a man.”
Again, I’ve felt these feelings and I can tell you that almost everyone feels them at some point. But, I can also tell you that they are quite often not accurate. Men cheat more for reasons that have to do with them. Sure, some will tell you that you didn’t give them time or affection, but this is sometimes their denials talking as much as it’s the truth. No matter what the circumstances, they were the ones who chose their own actions. And, research and studies indicate and suggest that men often cheat to quiet doubts and fears within their own minds. It’s often themselves that they feel negatively about – not you.
Most of us know that there’s a long list of beautiful and famous women who have been cheated on with all sorts of questionable women (both in terms of looks and character.) There is sometimes no rhyme or reason to why men in crisis make the decisions that they make. So, it’s important that you don’t take his problems onto yourself.
You are very likely not unattractive and / or not as naive as you think you are. Be kind to yourself right now and give yourself some time before you make any rash changes. With that said, focusing on improving things that bother you about yourself can actually help your healing. This was the case with me. I lost weight and changed my appearance for myself, not for him and this did provide a boost for me and gave me a reason to put a smile on my face.
Crafting The Future That Makes You Happy: Very often, the thing that makes you happy and able to move on is having something to look forward to that makes you forget about the pain of the past. Sometimes, this is changes and improvements in your marriage. Some couples are able to create a new relationship that keeps them from having to look back all of the time. Other times, women will chose to focus on themselves. Some will decide to save the marriage and some will decide to end it. But those who are able to move on will usually ultimately begin to ask themselves what is it that makes them happy and makes their lives function better?
As painful as this time is, it can be an opportunity to see places where you can improve and grow. And, future happiness and growth is often the best way to move on and away from the pain of the past. I know that it doesn’t feel like it right now, but it truly is possible to face and deal with the issues enough so that things won’t always feel the way that they do right now.
Restoring my self esteem, will to move forward, and self worth after my husband’s affair took work, but it was so worth it. I now understand myself, my husband, our marriage, and our intimacy on a much deeper level and I no longer worry that he will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.
Katie Lersch writes articles about moving past an affair. Her corresponding blog is at http://surviving-the-affair.com/