Survive infidelity: 5 saving techniques
You have recovered from the first shock associated with infidelity partner, but time passes, and the pain does not subside. You are afraid that you will never be able to forget, forgive, and that the relationship is irrevocably ruined. It is not.
“Many of my clients come to see me with a similar problem,” says family therapist Andrew J. Marshall. – After surviving the treason of a loved one, they decide to save the relationship, but even if the seemingly all is well in a couple, many still in the thoughts of periodically returning to what happened and can not fully forgive your partner.
In such cases he advises to write down and analyze their thoughts and emotions as this will help manage them. And in working with such clients, he uses an approach based on five simple techniques.
Accept your feelings
Please do not reproach yourself for not being able to magically put it all in the past and move on as if nothing had happened. Maybe your husband’s infidelity has been the biggest upheaval of your life so far, and it’s a serious threat to your well-being, so I’m not surprised that the pain keeps returning and the same thoughts are running through your head. And you still can’t figure out how this monstrous betrayal could have happened in the first place.
Say your feelings out loud, instead of letting them bubble endlessly somewhere inside, it really helps. Say to yourself, “I feel angry, I’m worried, I’m confused,” or whatever. You don’t have to do anything about those feelings, just acknowledge them.
Sometimes I ask my clients to start keeping a feelings diary, where they record the time, the feeling, and the reason that triggered it at that moment.
Keep it for a few days or weeks, and you will discover certain patterns. Believe me: if you notice your feelings, observe them rather than suppress them, they will gradually subside and over time become more manageable.
Work on your thoughts
Many feelings arise as a result of our thoughts. We tend to believe everything our inner voice tells us as the ultimate truth. However, it often exaggerates or conflates events from different life situations to give us irrefutable proof that life is over. (I call this “catastrophic thinking.”)
Don’t let harmful thoughts poison your life, and to do so, write them down. Write as if your inner voice is dictating to you. And when you have written everything, word by word, you will see that there is nothing particularly frightening there. Go back to the beginning of the text and look for exaggerations. For example, you wrote, “I’m so exhausted every day thinking about cheating. The phrase “every day” would catch me. I think the word “often” more accurately reflects reality.
I know it’s a minor change, but the new word doesn’t feel so helpless, does it?
And then you might want to add a few clarifications. And you’ll write, “I often think about cheating and sometimes feel exhausted afterwards, though sometimes I feel better afterwards. I’m guessing that the latter option is not only gentler, but also more accurate. Reread the text again and pay attention to “always,” “never,” “should,” “must,” and other words in the black and white vocabulary category.
Think about what these memories are trying to tell you.
You bring up your husband’s cheating for a reason. Not because you are a bad person and can not forgive the cheating partner or do not want to save the marriage. Rather, your feelings are trying to tell you that there are some issues left unresolved and that your relationship needs more attention.
For example, your sex life has become too boring, or your husband is constantly in conflict with his daughter, and you have to torn between them, as between two fires. If you continue to ignore these red flags, your unconscious will send them out over and over again.
Go back to the journal entries your inner voice dictated to you. Once you’ve filtered out the exaggerations, you’ll be left with some pretty clear tasks.
For example, balancing work and home life; going out on your own because you haven’t done so once in the last couple of months. Now that you’ve guessed what the memories are telling you, it would make sense to take practical steps to solve these problems. For example, turn off the phone after 9 pm or make a reservation at a favorite restaurant.
Stop expecting the impossible from your partner and move on
If a person works as a secretary in the reception, you’re unlikely to count on the fact that he correctly bring the balance or excellent business negotiations. But I sometimes meet pioneers who expect from their partner some special emotional subtlety, the ability to understand their own and other people’s feelings, which does not correspond to his upbringing and personality traits.
In particular, when asked “Why did you need this affair?” in many cases, the answers will be incomprehensible, simply because no one has questioned the person about his motivation up to that point. Perhaps you expect your partner to listen and empathize with you even when you are angry, critical, or shaming him, whereas what he needs most right now is to work with a therapist who can reach through the shell to the person seeking support.
We tend to see our partners as we like to see them, not as they really are. And we’re also somehow convinced that they think exactly the same way we do. Although girls are usually raised a little differently than boys, and having children affects women and men differently. Try to accept in your partner, not only his strengths, but also his weaknesses. Be aware that there is something for him impossible, unbearable.
Get rid of perfectionism.
The most destructive of all emotions – shame. You will feel embarrassment for a recent tantrum or outburst of anger, and even more you will be ashamed of the fact that you were cheated, and that you, apparently, not good enough.
Since this feeling is unpleasant to us, we try desperately to avoid it. The most typical way is to try to be perfect in everything and hope that this will protect us from possible future suffering. We try to be the best we can be for our partner and hope that he or she will turn out to be a perfect repentant sinner, too.
I also often see people who paint their relationship before the affair as perfect and then get doubly angry at the spouse who ruined that idyll.
I like the phrase of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, “You can’t chisel anything straight out of such a crooked log as a man. In other words, we cannot be perfect because we are human. And when we make mistakes or fail to achieve the impossible, we are nevertheless ashamed of it.
Going back to the first point, accept this feeling in yourself and analyze the thoughts that arise about it. It is certainly worth aiming to be the best version of yourself and to make your marriage the best version of yourself, but please, let’s not strive for absolute perfection.
Tips from psychologists on how to survive an unfaithful husband or wife and subsequent divorce
Cheating on a loved one is a shock. Someone begins to look for excuses for the once beloved person and tries to preserve the relationship, others, on the contrary, immediately break up.
In any case, you need to know what to do if it does happen. How to survive a divorce after infidelity, we will tell below.
Reasons why a man or woman cheated
The first thing you want to find out for anyone after cheating – the reasons that prompted the partner to take such a step. As a rule, they are quite trivial.
For men, these are:
- Routine. A man wanted to try something new, or just decided to prove to himself that he can still seduce other women. Mostly it’s a one-time thing.
- Alcohol. Many men’s infidelities occur “on a drunken binge. Alcohol clouds the mind and activates the male instincts. Treason committed under the influence of alcohol should not be taken seriously.
- The difference in temperament. If a man does not have enough sex, he will look for it on the side. This is not an excuse. It’s a fact.
- Met “the one, the only one.” If the couple got together involuntarily (childbirth or settlement), men may find a more suitable girl after a few years.
- Weakness. Sometimes a man just “can’t resist” the influence of a more temperamental woman.
- Misunderstanding. A woman believes that her partner is unable to understand her and seeks attention on the side.
- Revenge. Girls rarely forgive cheating. They try, at the very least, to return the favor to their partner.
- Lack of love. If partners do not find love with each other they try to find it in someone else.
- Long absence of a companion. The partner is constantly absent and spends little time with the girl. She begins to seek the attention of other men.
- Spontaneity. If the relationship began spontaneously, it may end in treason and separation.
In any case, if a couple sincerely loves each other, partners will never cheat. Even under the influence of alcohol.
Who is easier to digest betrayal?
Strangely enough, but it is more difficult to experience treason of his second half men . Women differ in their emotionality.
Experiencing a violent reaction to the unpleasantness, they snap to screaming, crying, accusing.
However, it helps them cope with stress more quickly. Due to the fact that they splash out their emotions outwardly, an unpleasant residue of infidelity in them quickly passes.
On the other hand, even if the relationship with her partner will be restored, the girl will never forget the betrayal and will periodically bring it to mind men. Such are the peculiarities of female psychology.
With men it is different. Thanks to centuries-old stereotypes, they are less emotional. Representatives of the stronger sex perceive tears as a manifestation of weakness and can not afford it.
A man after an affair also experiences a strong emotional outburst, but he tries to keep it all inside. Due to the fact that the guy can not external discharge their negative feelings, they are experiencing trouble much harder than women.
Many men at this point lose their temper, starting to drink alcohol or have an aggressive relationship with the people around them. This is just an attempt to vent negative emotions.
In addition, there is another stereotype ingrained in society. If the husband cheats on his wife, they try to support her and show her any sympathy as it is considered more or less normal.
If a wife cheats on her husband, it becomes a basis for friends and relatives to make fun of him. In this case, it is considered that there is something wrong with the man. Because of this, guys try not to share unpleasant experiences with their environment.
Break the relationship or save it?
Surviving the first emotional shock after an affair, the partners begin to ask themselves one simple question – what to do next? There are only two options – to forgive or break up.
In the first place it is worth to analyze what binds the partners. If the marriage was based only on the joint care of children, to save the relationship is unlikely to succeed. On the other hand, if the couple have minor children, it makes sense to save the marriage so as not to leave them without one of their parents.
An important factor is the cause of infidelity. If it was a casual connection under the influence of alcohol, there is no reason to worry. Of course, it is unpleasant, but do not forget that adultery in this case occurred in a semi-inadequate state, when a person was not in control of his thoughts and actions.
Another thing is if the partner consciously cheated on the partner . Most couples after this break up. Spouses can not forgive each other that the man consciously chose someone else over them. This is associated primarily with a sense of humiliation experienced by the offended party. It can be difficult to cope with it.
In any case, it is important to remember that it is very difficult to restore relations after infidelity. Do not think that after the reconciliation partners will immediately begin to communicate as before. Psychologists compare trust to a glass. When it falls, it breaks into many small pieces.
They can be glued, but nevertheless the traces of the fall will still be visible. Only a caring attitude and time can dull the bitterness of infidelity. This requires a mutual desire of both partners.
How to survive adultery and save the family, will prompt video:
Stages of Family Breakdown
As studies show, only 20% of couples decide to save their relationship after cheating. In other cases, events develop rapidly.
The partner learns that he was cheated on. In the first minutes he feels shock and refuses to take what is happening seriously. However, it does not help.
Then there is a reasonable desire to understand the problem. The offended party is trying to figure out what caused the infidelity. Two further possible developments are possible.
Either the person understands that the reasons are not so serious and he is ready to forgive his partner just to stay with him, or the reasons seem to him not to merit attention. He, as they say, gets up, packs his bags and leaves for good.
In the first case it is important to be careful. Do not forget that the desire to keep the couple after cheating must be mutual. Otherwise, it will only be a postponement of the breakup.
What to do afterwards?
The first thing to do after a person has found out about his partner’s cheating is to calm down. People at such times are overwhelmed by a flurry of emotions. Take decisions and say something in such a state is not the best idea. It is necessary to calm down and calmly analyze the situation.
Next, you should follow some tips that are suitable for both men and women:
In such a matter as personal life should not adhere to other people’s opinions.
If the decision about the parting is still made, you should deliver it to the partner in a milder form. However, here it all depends on the situation. If a person is simply betrayed or put before the fact, sentiment will be superfluous. Here you can just pack your bags and leave without saying a word.
Much depends on whether the man in the future plans to restore relations with his partner. If he admits the possibility, you should part softly, without shouting and scandal. In doing so, you can motivate your act with words like, “It’s difficult, I need time to get over the situation” or “It’s better for us to live separately for now.
How to survive an affair and divorce, prompts video:
You got divorced: what next?
Relationships after adultery can be terminated, as they are called “once and for all” or restored after some time. In this interval, former partners may have to face each other. In this case, we should not forget about a number of psychological features of men and women.
A guy in most cases does not perceive an intimate relationship with another girl as a betrayal or proof that he is no longer interested in his significant other.
However, here a lot depends on the upbringing. If he was brought up that there is nothing wrong with cheating since childhood or he saw something similar in his family, he will not be particularly worried about the deed. But even these men after a while begin to torment conscience, especially if infidelity was a single time.
If the cheating wife, the man is unlikely to be able to forgive her. And further communication with him will be more than caustic. Revenge and accusations should be expected. In relation to the ex, the man will behave aggressively.
Women experience adultery in much the same way. They may repent after a while. In relation to the ex they will also feel resentment and the feeling that they were betrayed.
Mistakes and how to avoid them
The biggest mistake after a breakup is blaming each other.
They won’t help bring back the past, but they can ruin the future, especially if the person is prone to revenge.
It is important to understand that the past is in the past. There is no way to bring it back. However, every person has a chance to influence their future.
Not everyone will like it if there are only negative sides to it. It is possible that a relationship after an affair will be restored after a few years.
Although it happens very rarely. During this period of time one should not definitively alienate the partner. It is characteristic of people to realize their mistakes and to correct themselves.
If a couple after a breakup caused by adultery, have to face each other, for example, at work, should not pour accumulated negativity on the former companion. Communication should be polite, businesslike, but no more.
It is important to understand that even though in the past people were connected by something, now they are nobody for each other. Accordingly, the ex-spouse must be treated the same as any other colleague at work.
How to move the parting?
Parting with a loved one is not the apocalypse. You just have to learn to move on. Go into depression and shed tears at night is not the best way out. Nor is nostalgia.
The past is in the past. It cannot be brought back or changed. However, the future depends solely on the individual. If possible, it is better to minimize contact with your former partner.
A good option in this situation would be a new hobby, and even better a trip to a multi-day hike, preferably of high complexity, for example, rafting on the river. Nature calms a man.
Fatigue accumulated during the day, does not let sad thoughts into the head. New impressions gradually supplant the old memories.
The most important thing in such a situation is not to despair and not to blame yourself. It is better to soberly and calmly assess the situation and make a decision for yourself – is it worth forever to cross out of your life the former partner or give him a chance to restore relations.
Breakup is always a difficult process. Especially if it is caused by infidelity. However, human frailties should not be forgotten. Until the husband or wife has dealt with the situation to the end, you should not make hasty decisions.