Getting over an affair is hard work.
The relief you imagined you would feel after the affair had completely ended isn’t there.
The betrayal of your partner has deeply wounded you, more than you ever had thought was possible.
Knowing how to deal with infidelity is not easy. Especially when the trauma of this relationship crisis continues for many months after the affair is over.
Is this your fate?
You toss and turn during the night worrying what your philandering partner has been up to! You wake up tired.
You look out the window, the sun is shining, yet all you see is darkness.
Your child asks you a simple question, and you have no idea what he or she said.
You hate what your partner has done, the lies, the illicit sex, the uncertainty, the confusion, the wasted money, and opportunity. But what you hate most of all is what you have done to yourself. All your worrying, accusations, cynicism, investigating, has twisted your natural innocence and you are bitter — and it comes out in almost everything you do. Surviving infidelity has become a nightmare.
You understand your betraying partner is the villain, you know are innocent. Yet it does not feel that way.
Your partner has cheated on you; it is all his or her fault! You know that, and so does your partner. You hate your partner yet all you want is his or her love and commitment in spite of everything he has done.
After the affair is over, your betraying partner has come clean with all he or she has done; has apologized and is doing his or her best to make amends — now it is you who is the obstacle to closeness. You hate yourself for this! You want to get off your emotional roller coaster— but you don’t know how.
You are bitter and your bitterness has exhausted you.
Try the following four strategies to get back your life after the affair has completely ended:
1. Take responsibility.
I understand why you are angry. Your partner betrayed you in the worst possible way. It is most natural and understandable that you have no interest in treating him or her with anything other than contempt. However, at this point — after the affair is over — likely you are the one that is suffering the most. Now, at this time, letting your negative thoughts fuel your anger is hurting you the most.
For your sake, and for the sake of everyone else you care about, take the position that YOU are making yourself angry and unhappy and that from now on YOU are going to head in a different direction. You are making an executive decision for yourself to choose happiness and to proceed on that trajectory.
Certainly, you are the last person who deserves any punishment. You are the victim of your partner’s philandering. At least, be kind to yourself and give yourself what you deserve — happiness and peace of mind. This is an essential part of getting over an affair.
From now, let happiness be your game.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts.
Choosing to be happy is the first step. The next step is to train yourself to only accept positive, necessary, and helpful thoughts. When a negative thought pops into your mind, dismiss it, push it out and away.
You cannot prevent a mosquito from landing on your arm. However, you can certainly brush it away. So too, a negative thought does not belong in your mind. When it emerges in your consciousness immediately dismiss it — kick it out of your mind; it does not belong there.
If you need help, take a course in cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is the science of how to use your mind effectively to generate optimism, hope, and positive feelings. Cognitive therapy can be learned from a trained mental health specialist, or you can acquire self-help material written by professionals that will help you to develop life-affirming thinking patterns.
3. Take positive action.
The best way to generate a positive mood is to engage in positive activities. Anxiety, depression, and chronic anger are best reduced or eliminated when you engage in activities that require your full concentration and leave no room for negative thoughts.
Make a list of what you enjoy doing, get yourself in gear and go do it. Let actions lead the way to a better mood.
4. Have some positive affirmations to repeat in your mind. Let these affirmations be a mantra to empower you:
- I am the captain of my ship.
- I will make my life as I want it to be. Life is short; I will live it to the fullest.
- As the victim, it is I who deserves health and happiness. won’t pour salt on the wound my partner has inflicted.
- Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (The infidelity is not my fault — it is the ‘shame’ of the betrayer.)
- Whatever doesn’t break me, makes me stronger.
- Love can conquer all.
In the end, it is your decision to get on with your life. This does not mean that you should just ‘forgive and forget’ what your betraying partner has done. To think you can do so is unrealistic. However, you can go through the infidelity recovery process with a healthy and positive state of mind. It is all up to you how to deal with infidelity and its aftermath.
Get the tools you need to survive infidelity:
Abe Kass, MA, RSW, RMFT, CCHT., is a Registered Social Worker, Registered Couple and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and award-winning Educator. He has a busy clinical practice in Toronto, Canada and throughout the world using the phone or Zoom.
After many years of clinical practice and research, Abe concluded that practical solutions requiring a focused effort of no more than a few minutes a day for very specific relationship problems were critically needed. GoSmartLife Publishing House has been created to fill this need.