When Does The Pain of the Affair End?

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Many women contact me months and sometimes years after their husband’s affair, looking for an answer to why they are still in so much pain. Common questions include: Why does the pain linger on so long after the affair? How can I start to heal?

One reason why it’s so difficult to get beyond the pain of an affair is that your spouse, the house, phone, and even your bed all can serve as reminders of the his adultery, as I talk about in the post After the affair. In order to start to heal, you have to reach for something good. Something that can make you happy, even if it is just for five minutes a day. After you learn about the affair, you can really feel as if you’re stuck in a ditch. Sometimes, you have to rely on other people to help you out, because they are not in the ditch and so they have strength that you might not have.

The pain of a cheating husband may have caused you to have an identity crisis, questioning who you are, what you believe in, and where you’re going can be very demoralizing. But in order for you to start to heal, you have to reach for a better place.
Indecisiveness about whether to say in your marriage or leave can also cause you great pain as well. You can even feel like you’re losing your mind when you jump back and forth between deciding to leave and deciding to stay. Although confusion like this is natural, a major part of healing starts once you make the decision to stay or to leave the marriage and following through on that decision.

As you go through all of this turmoil, try to reach for the things that make you laugh or make you smile, even the little things. For many of you, smiling and laughing feel like a huge stretch, but they’re essential to recovering from an affair. This is because, despite what you may think, it’s the actual reaching for that better place that is more important than getting to that better place. When you reach for a better place, you have hope. Hope can turn your life around. Hope is everything.

  • bpicky March 15, 2011, 1:13 AM

    What I have learned is that men and even women who cheat are very damaged humans. I so pity my weak husband. 39 years, I haven’t aged and it drives him crazy so he cheated to feel as young as I look. I want to slap him, I want to cheat back, I want to forgive, I want to forgive, I get ill at him begging for forgiveness, yet I would be devastated if he didn’t. What I have learned is that I have been very judge mental with women who don’t leave. I thought they were weak and too dependent, to afraid to be alone, did I say weak. I use to say I would soooooo have admired Hilary Clinton if she would have thrown his clothes over the white house balcony, but now I understand the years of a life together. I told my husband he has castrated me and I feel trapped. That hurt him, which made me feel bad, but how bad did he make me feel. But, I agree women are as sick as men these days, I would never do that to another woman. I use to say I would never give my mans power over to another man, but reality is, it just isn’t me. Sometimes I wish it were.

    • Jewels March 15, 2011, 9:28 PM

      bpicky,

      There was so much wisdom in what you said, thanks for sharing. I especially like how you admitted that prior to your situation, you thought women who stayed were weak. I think that explains why SO many women who end up staying don’t feel confident in themselves anymore. They have this subconscious thought that they are weak because they stay, and it literally steals their self-esteem. I wish I could tell those women that staying or leaving are all a matter of perspective. It all depends on your reason for staying and how YOU feel about it. If you stay because you feel trapped, there is literally no way you can feel like that confident, strong women that you know you are. But if you’re staying in order to make a real attempt at repairing the situation, so that if you leave, you leave knowing that you gave it a good shot, now that’s a totally different attitude. I really like the comment about the weak husband as well, I totally agree that if our husbands had more confidence in themselves and didn’t feel the need to be validated by the outside world fixtures to pump their ego, their would be a lot less affairs. And lastly, I am literally shocked at the number of women who would do this, their have serious issues as well. Thanks for sharing your perspective, it seems you not only have you youthful look, you have the intelligence as well!! Take Care.

  • Katie May 24, 2011, 6:50 PM

    Your articles heave been very helpful toe as I’m I’m a crisis. I have two fantastic babies, 2 and 2 months. I truly believed my husband treasurese and our family. I was wrong. He had affairs with hookers that he admitted to after I caught him trail on facebook, etc. Hookers, in our bed, in napa on my last anniversary weekend, at a seedy hotel while I was staying with his family in Tahoe. But the worst is he had a love affair (based on texts and such) although he swears (pathological liar, I swear) that they only spend one night together in a hotel in sf. While I was largely pregnant at home with our 2 year old. She lived across state but I did find very troubling love texts 6 weeks after I had my second baby.

    I have two beautiful children to care for and a husband I truly loved-known him since we were 7. We are actively going to intense counseling but ive never felt so trapped and sad in my life. I’m on antidepressants but it isn’t enough. I feel like he took away something special from me inside-the part that makes you laugh and smile. I’ve never been so sad or had just terrible view of myself.

    Any suggestions appreciated

    Kindly,
    Katie

    • Jewels May 24, 2011, 9:02 PM

      Hello Katie,

      You just described the worst by-product from a cheating husband, which is the hit it takes on your self esteem. For me it was the lowest point in my life from a confidence standpoint. Your husband has some self-esteem issues as well, it seems like getting validation that he is wanted from you isn’t enough, he needs to feel it from other women. That is his issue Katie, not yours. And let me be very clear — I understand that you are married, but it is not your job to try to show him that what he is doing is wrong, is it not your job to convince him not to cheat. There isn’t enough convincing in the world, he has to see it for himself. I am glad your in counseling, the fact that he was willing to go is a positive sign, even though it might not be helping you as much as you would of thought.

      I am almost finished with my second book which is all about how women can recover and gain confidence after the affair. The lost of self-esteem is so huge, and there is not enough information out there to help with this. In the meantime, one of the big themes of my new book is to make sure you carve out time for Katie. With two young kids and a husband, I hardly even thought about doing what I want, it was all about marriage, husband and the kids. In order for Katie to be the best mom, Katie has to do things that feels good to Katie. I know your probably overwhelmed with the affair and two small kids, but YOU HAVE to carve out some time for you. If you like books, tell you husband to watch the kids 1 day out the week so you can go to the bookstore. If you like to run, again, ask your husband watch the kids, go running. He should be supportive of your time, you need that time in order to heal. And once you start putting your needs first, slowly but surely you will start to feel better, it takes time, but it will happen. Of course there are many more things you can do, this is just a start. Take care, I wish you and your family the best!