Dealing with your husband cheating is like going on a rollercoaster with your emotions. With that said, you will likely experience emotional triggers after your husband’s affair. An emotional trigger is something that brings back memories of the affair and sometimes takes you back to a place where you’re feeling pretty down. Of course, the triggers are worse in the beginning, but even years later, something can happen that can bring up those emotions again. I still get triggers from time to time, but because I know what they are, I can deal with them in a positive manner. Below are some common triggers.
1. Events relived. Here’s a personal example. My husband changed his hours at work while he was having the affair. I’m not sure if initiated the change or if his job did, but the new hours he worked let him spend more time with the other woman. After I discovered the affair, he went back to his normal schedule, but then told me his job was making him change his hours again. When this happened, I got a pain in the pit of my stomach. His announcement took me back to the time when I found out that he was cheating. Even though we were separated when his hours changed back, I was still upset because I associated that change with the affair.
2. Weddings/love stories/love songs. These three things can be huge triggers because they can remind you of the love that you and your husband had prior to the affair, or remind you of the love you no longer have.
3. Your husband. Your husband is probably the #1 Trigger. Sometimes just looking at him can be a reminder of the affair. This is why you have to work extra hard to rebuild trust if you decide to stay in the marriage.
4. Other people asking you about the marriage. When friends say things like, “How are you and your husband doing?” this can remind you that you aren’t doing well at all.
5. Kids (if you have them). Sometimes, kids say things that just break your heart. They might not know that your husband cheated, but might still innocently say something like, “I really love our family and spending time together.” This can be an emotional trigger because it could cause you to think about the future, where your family may not be unified anymore.
After the affair, you will likely have triggers from time to time. Understanding and recognizing them is half the battle. The rest of the battle is not letting them take over your day or your life.