You just found out that they've been cheating. Shock, grief, depression and anxiety seem to take turns torturing you. How freakin unfair it is that someone else's terrible choices throw you in complete torment! Let me just say that I'm sorry this has happened to you. You did not cause this to happen. Did you hear me? YOU DID NOT CAUSE THIS! Often times the cheater will try and blame you for their poor choices. Nope. Not today. I can be unhappy, disconnected, unfulfilled... you name it and I can still choose to be faithful and they could have too, right? But here you are trying to survive this and it feels impossible. I understand, I've been there too.
So, what now? Whew, that's a big question! I believe that there are so many big questions, hard work and healing ahead of you. Do you try to make the relationship work? What about our family? Do you need to get tested for STDs? How do you deal with all of these emotions? How should they be treating you? How do you set and enforce strong boundaries? How can you trust anyone ever again? Holy crap, I could just keep listing questions for the rest of the day.
Big decisions are hard to make on a normal day, right? So making massive decisions like staying or leaving a relationship is really hard to make when you are in shock and drowning in anxiety and depression. I strongly believe that discovering an affair is a serious trauma to your mental and physical state, so much that I made a video with affair recovery therapists Julia Kristina and Melo Garcia to discuss how and why learning about your partner's affair is so freakin traumatic and what you can start doing about it. Click here to watch this video. This is a must watch if your partner is belittling your feelings, expecting you to just get over it, gets frustrated that you are still upset or want to discuss or it's been years and you are still struggling.
So, stay or go? This is tough. Clearly, I don't know you, them, your family, your situation so I cannot just tell the answer. You'll have to make that choice on your own. I can give you some direction.
You know how hard this is, you're going through it right now. The first thing to do, that sadly gets overlooked, is your healing. You do not want to go through the rest of your life with this terrible baggage pulling you down, being distrustful of everyone, anxiety attacks every time they go to work, never really allowing yourself to be happy because you are always waiting for the bottom to fall out. You also want to make the stay or go decision when you are feeling healthy and clear.
Healing is hard and freakin scary, because it means that you have to actually face the pain, grieve and process everything. I stuffed my feelings and thoughts down so far to survive, but the pain would sneak out and I would wind up a sobbing mess on the floor while trying to cook dinner. Dealing with everything now, will only help you and not prolong the pain. Let me tell you that I personally did everything wrong in trying to heal from his affairs and I just stayed stuck for years in misery. I think that's why I feel so passionate about helping others not make the same mistakes I made. Find a place where you can get some help to deal with the flashbacks (man, they are the worst aren't they?), the grief, the anxiety, depression, pain, fear... Shameless plug, you can always try watching the After the Affair videos to walk you through this process. Do the work and get to know yourself again. It's wild to think about how much I lost myself in my relationship, I started to rediscover old hobbies, make time to have dinner with friends, suddenly I realized how much I actually liked myself. When you like yourself, you don't allow others to treat you like crap. Which brings me to my next point.
Let's turn the tables for a second and say you accidentally ran over your spouse's leg when backing out of the driveway. (No, not on purpose, before you found out.) You severely broke their leg, they were in unbelievable pain, and wouldn't be able to walk for months. How do you feel? Do you tell them it was their fault? Do you bother to say sorry? Duh! Of course you apologize 1000 times, you go out of your way to help them, you stand by them for the long months of their recovery. You may get tired of waiting on them hand foot after a while, but do you complain to them? No way! You hit them with your car for crying out loud.
Your partner's affair feels like they ran over your with their car, turned around and hit you again, lied about doing it in the first place and then made you feel crazy for being upset. Am I close? So here is what to look for. Are they truly sorry and will literally move mountains for as long as it takes to show you that they are sorry? Do they honestly and patiently answer all of your questions even when you have already asked the same questions 15 times. Have they made every effort possible to be transparent with you about where they are and who they are with? Did they volunteer to give you access to all of their accounts and electronic devices? Did they make the counseling appointment or buy the books? After all, wouldn't you be doing this if you had hit them with the car? This is the attitude of a person who is truly sorry and if you are able to try again with them, it may be worth the effort.
On the flip side, if they keep playing games and going back and forth between you and the other person, are they really showing you that they are sorry. No. They are just trying to get attention and don't care who they hurt along the way. Are they angry and frustrated that it has been 6 months and you still cry or don't trust them? Do they accuse you of cheating out of no where? This attitude is not loving, patient, kind, understanding or broken hearted over their actions at all. This attitude is a giant red flag. You will need to make and enforce strong boundaries in these circumstances and if they cannot stay in line then you have your answer.
Yes, people work it out and have great relationships after an affair and yes, people end their relationships after an affair. No matter what the outcome for you, you still need to process your own pain, find ways to cope with the triggers and flashbacks, learn to set and enforce strong boundaries that will protect you from more pain, and learn to love yourself again. Please make your healing a priority so you don't suffer for years and years like I did.
Do you struggle with any of these issues?
✔️Racing and Obsessive Thoughts
✔️Lack of Healing
✔️PTSD from their Affair
✔️Seemingly Never-Ending Grief
Don't worry, you DO have the strength to heal from this!
Our recommendation? Find meaningful guidance, community with others going through the same trauma, and healing!
We know how hard it is to heal after being cheated on and believe that no one deserves to live a broken life.
With After the Affair you receive access to:
An affair recovery video session once a week for 8 weeks, guiding you through the healing process required after their affair.
Watch sessions around your schedule and as often as you would like.
Weekly healing exercises to guide you through your pain
You receive unlimited access to our amazing support group on Facebook
Begin your path towards healing and becoming stronger, braver and more whole than ever before!
Click here to start healing, because no one deserves to live life broken ---> aftertheaffair.co