If you are going through this traumatic experience then surviving an affair may not seem possible. When your husband cheats it is a devastating experience that leads you to question every aspect of your self-belief. Betrayal can be hard to bear and causes a flood of questions and negative emotions which eat away at you until you feel that you can’t take any more. Anger and grief are prevalent, not to mention the fact that your self-esteem is in tatters. You wonder whether you will ever feel normal again or be able to trust and how you are ever going to get through this period of your life.
Where to from here?
So, where do you go from here? Well, it might be easier to walk away. After all, the trust may never be restored. Perhaps you haven’t had so much as an apology and you wonder why he holds your feelings in such low regard. You may want your revenge. You may want to hurt him as much as he has hurt you. Or you might just wish that he would apologize from the bottom of his heart, tell you he made the biggest mistake of his life and that everything is going to be OK. Would you believe him if he did?
Can I save my marriage?
The fact of the matter remains, that however hurt, cheated, and violated you feel, you may still want to save your marriage for many reasons. The love you have for your partner, the time you have invested, the children who depend on you both, the shared memories, and financial considerations all contribute to a desire to make things better and get things back on track.
Healing yourself first
So, to start off, you need to put yourself first for a while and work on healing yourself. Therefore, don’t avoid your grief. Feel and acknowledge those feelings of hurt and you will get through them much more quickly. Although you feel crushed, remind yourself that you are still the same wonderful person that you were before this happened to you. You have to realize that there is still a lot of good stuff in your life and now is the time when you need to look for the positives as never before. You are capable of surviving this affair. You can start to take control of your emotions and rebuild your level of self-esteem. Time is a great healer and will help in your battle to feel normal again.
Make sure you spend some time looking after yourself and being with people who love and care about you and who will listen to you. Until you can come to terms with your grief and anger and accept what has happened to you then you will hardly be in any fit state for any kind of constructive communication with your husband. Even if he is remorseful for what he has done, he may be struggling to deal with the guilt that he feels and his inability to communicate with you may be down to this or to a fear of your reactions.
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Blame and Communication
Although you have every right to feel aggrieved, blaming, shouting, and crying are not going to make him want to have the communication with you that will begin to make amends. It will be hard to get the relationship back on track if you are an emotional wreck. So take some time out, if you can, to think and to heal and feel strong again. He is more likely to want to make things work when you are being strong and respecting yourself than when you are beating yourself – or him – up.
Once you are feeling a little bit happier than working on forgiveness is essential, whether or not you plan to get your relationship back on track. Carrying around the burden of blaming your man will harm you as well as him and you need to try to let your feelings go. This is not always easy but you do have a choice whether to cling onto your feelings of hurt and blame or to release your hold on them. Don’t forget that your spouse is just a human being and all humans get it wrong from time to time. He will have his reasons for the affair and talking about these will be a part of the healing process. You are much more likely to be able to have this communication when you come from a place of forgiveness rather than hurt and blame.
Surviving an affair does not mean that you have to stay together. You have a choice in this. Even though it may seem hard to go it alone, you will cope. If you decide that you still want to save your relationship, then it’s going to have to be a joint decision. He needs to show commitment to making the relationship work; he needs to show that the affair is over and he needs to show genuine remorse. If you are not getting these things from him, then it will be difficult to make any progress and the hurt and emotions that you feel will probably mean that you need to let him go.
Talking it through
So, when you are feeling strong enough to communicate with him in a constructive way; when you have passed the urge to cry and shout at him with every verbal communication, and when he has expressed his willingness to make the relationship work, then you will need to talk. Trust and honesty need to be restored in the relationship. You will need to discuss what has happened and why and how you are going to move forward from here. Discussing the details of the affair will mean that you have a better chance of your relationship surviving but you must be careful to only ask the things that you genuinely want to know and are not going to create even more bad images in your mind that you will not be able to cope with. This is going to be uncomfortable for you both and can make things worse, to begin with.