Monthly Archives: November 2012

Reconstruction & Working Through–the 6th stage of dealing with an affair

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The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial,” and as we mentioned it can last hours, days, or weeks.

The second stage “Pain and Guilt” begins as the numbness wears off and is replaced with unbelievable pain.

The third stage  “Anger and Bargaining“ finds you may lashing out in irritation at those around you–and laying all the fury and condemnation for adultery on your disloyal spouse!!

The fourth stage is “Depression, reflection and loneliness.“   Just when your friends are telling you that you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you.

The fifth stage of dealing with an affair is “The Upward Turn.”   Slowly but surely you’ll be pulled back into the world — perhaps even against your will.

The sixth stage of dealing with an affair is Reconstruction  and Working Through.”   As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you and your spouse will begin working together to find realistic solutions to problems posed by life after infidelity.  You will start to work on practical issues (such as ending Love Extinguishers and restarting Love Kindlers) and the two of you will begin reconstructing your lives in an all new marriage relationship.  If you spouse chose to leave and you are divorcing due to the affair, you will begin to find solutions to problems posed by your new, single/single-parent life.  You will be working through the practical and financial issues that crop up, and you’ll be rebuilding yourself, your new identity, and your life after the end of your marriage.

What you might be feeling:

  • Surprising reserves of strength and determination: “WOW…I really *can* get through this.”
  • A sense of moving forward into a new phase of your life. Now you’re the “older generation” in your family, which can feel scary and sad. But over time it may also feel freeing. Even if most of the time you’re still very low, you’ll start to see that there is a way past the grief.

What you might notice:

  • The rediscovery of old satisfactions:You might realize you want to resume knitting, start a new book, or rejoin a volunteer effort that used to be important to you.
  • At least for short periods, you feel like yourself again.

What to do:

  • Fight “survivor’s guilt.” Don’t feel bad about being happy. Life goes on, and we’re meant to go on with it. If the moments are few and far between, notice them and seek out similar moments. Ask yourself what your loved one would have wished for you — to see you in perpetual mourning or happy to see you rediscovering joy in life?

I link up with this godly link-ups:

The Alabaster Jar Beholding Glory
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Question of the Week Nov. 25th – Dec. 1st

How many chances do you give a spouse who has cheated?

Is it one chance, and then the second time it’s over?  What about second chances?   What if they only had one affair, but didn’t tell the whole truth right away…how many chances do they have to come clean and tell the whole truth?  How do you decide when you are DONE and there are no more chances?

The Upward Turn–the 5th stage of dealing with an affair

The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial,” and as we mentioned it can last hours, days, or weeks.

The second stage “Pain and Guilt” begins as the numbness wears off and is replaced with unbelievable pain.

The third stage  “Anger and Bargaining“ finds you may lashing out in irritation at those around you–and laying all the fury and condemnation for adultery on your disloyal spouse!!

The fourth stage is “Depression, reflection and loneliness.“   Just when your friends are telling you that you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you.

The fifth stage of dealing with an affair is “The Upward Turn.”   As you start to adjust to this new life–either an all new, different marriage reconciliation or an all new, different recovery as a person who is divorcing– you will start to notice you’re becoming  a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.  One day you may notice for a brief moment that “you’re happy” and be utterly surprised and may feel guilty!  After all your spouse had an affair!  Or worse YOU had an affair and you are supposed to be miserable and sad!   Slowly but surely you’ll be pulled back into the world — perhaps even against your will.  But at first, it’s almost certainly going to feel like one step forward, two steps back. That’s okay.

What you might be feeling:

  • A sense of “waking up” to the world around you.
  • Moments of surprising joy and satisfaction, followed by guilt: “How can I feel happy?”

What you might notice:

  • Things can seem funny again. Whereas a few months ago you avoided silly movies and didn’t find jokes funny, now every once in a while something makes you laugh or smile.
  • A return to awareness:You notice the smell of roasting coffee or a friend’s new scarf.

What to do:

  • Seek out experiences that feel meaningful. If seeing your grandchildren is the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning, make as many dates as possible to spend time with them. If watching birds at the bird feeder lifts your spirits in midwinter, keep the feeder filled and perhaps invest in a bird guide and try to identify your winter visitors

I link up with this godly link-ups:

The Alabaster Jar Beholding Glory

Depression, reflection & loneliness–the 4th stage of dealing with an affair

The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial,” and as we mentioned it can last hours, days, or weeks.

The second stage “Pain and Guilt” begins as the numbness wears off and is replaced with unbelievable pain.

The third stage  “Anger and Bargaining“ finds you may lashing out in irritation at those around you–and laying all the fury and condemnation for adultery on your disloyal spouse!!

The fourth stage is “Depression, reflection and loneliness“.   Just when your friends are telling you that you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage dealing with a major traumatic event, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders.  In fact, it is best if you embrace that this is an appropriate time to be sad, that it’s is circumstantially reasonable to feel depressed, and that this is the time to TAKE some time to look at yourself and what you may want to change about yourself or your life.  Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of what you have lost–even if you are reconciling, your marriage will never be the same.  It rightfully depresses you, and this isn’t clinical depression but the kind that is brought on by your circumstances–you’ve been through something SAD and it is normal to feel that way.  You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things your spouse did or said to you during their affair, and focus on “the past” or “mind movies” while having difficulty living in the present.   You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair, and it seems like the world keeps rolling by whereas you get very tired.

What you might be feeling:

  • Loss.  People deal with loss in different ways, but it’s common to feel very sad, to want to be left alone but also wish there was someone you could talk to who understood, to feel depressed or think you’ll never be the same or never be able to trust again, or to think about what you’ve lost.  It is very common to think and feel that you’ve lost that specialness of being your spouse’s “only” and to think and feel that the image you had of your marriage was just a mirage…it wasn’t real.
  • Loneliness.  During this time people can get and feel lonely for a couple reasons.  For one, since it is a time of quiet and sadness, being around other people isn’t helpful!  They just try to cheer you up, encourage you, or say “You should just move on!”  So you probably are avoiding people to some degree.  For another,  the person you WANT is no longer there.  Even if you’re reconciling it’s not your innocent spouse laying next to you, but the  flawed person who hurt you.  Finally, it can often feel like those who are supposed to know you–your family and friends–don’t understand at all!  Maybe they haven’t been through it…maybe they have and being with you triggers memories for them.  But no matter what the reason, this particular time can feel very lonely!

What you might notice:

  • Isolation.  You don’t WANT to go to the holidays at Aunt Mabel’s house.  You don’t WANT to answer the phone.  You don’t really want to get out of bed!  Being with other people just feels like you aren’t recovering fast enough.  It’s exhausting, so you just decide to skip it.
  • Like you are walking through molasses.  The world keeps rolling along at its speed, barely registering a blip on the radar that your world has fallen apart, but for you it feels like you are walking in deep sand or molasses.  It’s a struggle.  It’s tiring just to do the everyday things.

What to do:

  • Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.  Even though your well-meaning friends and family may tell you unhelpful things like “just let go” or “move on,”  this is the stage when what you’ve lost hits you and it hurts.  Even when a couple reconciles after an affair, that initial innocence and naivete is forever lost…that sureness of “We’re special” “That won’t happen to us” or “S/He is my only one” can never be returned…and once there’s been infidelity the marriage will NEVER be the same.  So don’t avoid or try to bypass the feelings of sadness, the feelings of loneliness, or the thoughts of reflecting on the past, what you did, and what you could have or would now do better or do differently.   Even though it hurts and it’s hard, it’s best face them honestly and embrace that’s how you feel and what you think.
  • Reach out when you need it.

I link up with this godly link-ups:

The Alabaster Jar Beholding Glory

We are Thankful for YOU!!

Our Thanksgiving Message to You:

We are thankful that you have found our site–whether you are the loyal spouse grieving because your spouse had an affair…or the disloyal spouse wondering how in the world you reconcile after being unfaithful.  We are sincerely thankful for each couple that finds us.  We are especially thankful for the people who support our ministry in prayer and financially. We pray your marriages will be rebuilt and that you learn more about your spouse everyday. Your comments, emails, and prayers give us the encouragement to continue so that we can all have marriages that bring glory to God.  We hope your Thanksgiving day is blessed!

Faithfully~

David and Cindy, Affaircare

Save our Marriage Saturday – Nov. 17th!

Today is  Save Our Marriage Saturday!

We have a tradition here at Affaircare. We call it “Save Our Marriage Saturday”–and we’re sharing the love.  Link-love that is!  Every Saturday we hold a link-up party so you can share a post of your own and we can all help each other to save our marriages!

Please share your post on any and all things related to saving your marriage after an affair, reconciling after you committed adultery, recovering your marriage after finding out that your spouse cheated, or keeping your marriage affair-free!

1. Please link to your actual “Save Our Marriage Saturday” post, not just the address to your blog or site home page.

2. Please leave me a comment–I would love to visit your site, return the favor, and follow you!

3. Please share the love with your fellow bloggers–Read and leave a comment on at least the two blogs above yours.

4. Please help me spread the word. Let’s create a community of Christian believers who want to bring glory to God by teaching our brothers and sisters about how to have a godly marriage, how to avoid the typical traps that lead to infidelity, and how to be a living testimony of forgiveness and reconciliation if one spouse is unfaithful.

5. Link back to this community, either by using the button below or a text link. You can find the button code here for you to insert in your post:

HTML CODE:



Please click on the froggy to see the blog hop!

I LINK TO THESE GODLY LINK-UPS:
Beholding Glory’s Blog Hop List, No Ordinary Blog Hop: Family-Parenting-Marriage , The Alabaster Jar-Marital Oneness Mondays, Revive Your Marriage MondaysTime-Warp Wife-Titus 2sdays, …to Love, Honor and Vacuum–Wifey Wednesdays, Unveiled WifeGrace Alone/Women Taking a Stand–Thankful Thursdays, and Beholding Glory–Faith Filled Fridays.

Anger & Bargaining–the 3rd stage of dealing with an affair

The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial,” and as we mentioned it can last hours, days, or weeks.

The second stage “Pain and Guilt” begins as the numbness wears off and is replaced with unbelievable pain.

The third stage Is “Anger and Bargaining“.  Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out in irritation at those around you–even those who have been supportive–and you’ll DEFINITELY lay all the fury and condemnation for adultery on your disloyal spouse!!   In the first stage you might be so stunned that you commit a “crime of passion” but this stage is different.  In this stage part of you begins to rise up and say “HOW DARE THEY treat me like this!  I am not a quivering bowl of jelly!”  It’s part of you regaining your self-worth.  This is a time for the release of bottled up emotions, but please do try to be mindful that a relationship can be permanently damaged if too much anger is released.

You may lose your faith, because how could a loving God do this to you?  You ask yourself  “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?  It’s not fair!”  You may think “I did NOT sign up for this!”  You may also try to bargain in vain with God for a way out of your despair (“I’ll go to church every week if you just bring him/her back”).  You may read some books on infidelity or join some forums and bargain within yourself “Okay I understand now.  If I do X they will come back to me” or “If I stop doing A and start doing B, they will love me again.”  The bargain is your way of trying to protect yourself so that this level of devastation can never happen again.

What you might be feeling:

  • Sudden attacks of self-pity and frustration or bursts of outrage and a sense of injustice.  I remember very distinctly thinking “Why me?” and “This isn’t fair!” and “This isn’t what we signed up for.”  It also very common to feel like all the other couples in the world are in love and you’re alone.
  • Bitterness or resentment. If are dealing with infidelity relatively young, you may feel bitter about having friends who tell you “You’re young! You can move on!”  Or you may feel resentment over losing your hopes and dreams to an unfaithful partner.  Many people describe feelings they’re not proud of, such as, “Why couldn’t it have been someone else instead?” One person may lose their spouse after 30 years of marriage and upon hearing that her granddaughter is divorcing may be bitter and think “I’ll trade you any day!  My whole life is destroyed!”

What you might notice:

  • Irritation when others complain about things that seem petty and unimportant compared with what you’re going through. “Why are you complaining about the dry cleaner, my spouse CHEATED!!!”
  • A desire to avoid certain social situationsparticularly those where others are celebrating (like a wedding) or self-congratulatory (like winning an award).  You don’t feel like celebrating or like a winner!
  • Anger and bitterness over others’ sincere expressions of sympathy. Someone saying “I understand,” or “Is there something I can do?” might make you want to scream, for instance.
  • A tendency to react with mistrust and sarcasm.  

What to do:

  • Tell people what happened. It can be hard to bring it up, but it’s even more uncomfortable when people who care about you put their foot in their mouth because they aren’t aware. There may not ever seem like “an appropriate time” so sometimes you just have to say it.  People can be more supportive than you think, and some will really “get it.”  This may also stop most of folks who are just having a bad day from dumping on you.
  • Have compassion for yourself. When feelings of anger and bitterness are separating you from others, instead of berating yourself for your lack of compassion, turn that compassion on yourself. You’ve just had a MAJOR emotional trauma, and it’s natural to take some time to recover. Talk to yourself with sympathy and forgiveness and remind yourself that you won’t always feel this way.
  • Avoid those who bring you down. If you notice that certain people or situations bring on a dark mood, a trigger, or anger, it’s perfectly okay to politely decline — you’re protecting both of you. For instance, if a certain friend tends to initiate a “pity party,” put that friendship on hold for awhile.  If being around your happily married siblings leaves you in a puddle of tears, you can decline until you feel up to it.

 

 

 

On Wednesdays, I join these godly link-ups:

Pain & Guilt–the 2nd stage of dealing with an affair

The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial,” and as we mentioned it can last hours, days, or weeks.

The second stage “Pain and Guilt” begins as the numbness wears off and is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain.  Many people describe it as feeling as if there is a hole in their chest or like their heart was ripped out through their chest.  Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with drugs or alcohol.

During the “Pain and Guilt” stage, you may feel utterly overwhelmed with the emotional pain and wonder if you’ll be able to live through it.  Honestly, people often have suicidal thoughts during this stage or at least think “I can’t do this.  I can’t survive this.”  Your spouse’s infidelity may also stir up guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one.  The “What Ifs” can creep in…or the “Shoulda‘s” (as in “I shoulda done this…I shoulda done that”)  and you’ll feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world trying to figure out what you could have done differently to keep the affair from happening.  This is the stage where you blame yourself for what they chose to do.

What you might be feeling:

  • Extreme mood swings — you’ll begin to get in touch with feelings again, and usually they “feel” like they are all over the map.  You’ll go from hopeful and pretty okay one moment, to literally a pile of fear and hurt the next.
  • Despair and Shame — You’ll feel overcome by a sense of futility or defeat, and your head will wonder how you’ll bear the shame of either letting your spouse cheat…or being a divorced person.  Divorced!  You never thought that word would apply to you!
  • Guilt — Yes you’ll feel guilty about the things you should have done or regret the things you did that you wish you hadn’t…but in addition you’ll likely feel like a horrible person over having completely normal thoughts.  For example, the parent who has the children may think they are a HORRIBLE PERSON because they wish the kids would just leave them alone!  Well it’s normal to want some time to yourself to recover, and that doesn’t mean you wish you didn’t have your kids or don’t love them.
  • Physical and emotional exhaustion —  You might feel like you can’t get out of bed in the morning, or like in my case, the constant adrenalin from always fighting felt like I fell off a cliff once he moved out and there wasn’t the adrenaline “rush” anymore.  Physically, you probably aren’t eating right,  barely sleeping , and probably not taking care of yourself.  Emotionally you feel like you can’t go on any longer.

What you might notice:

  • Tears that come when you least expect them.
  • Obsessive thought patterns, 
  • Lethargy — feeling overwhelmed and defeated, asking yourself “what’s the point?”

What to do:

  • Find ways to turn off the “mind movies” replaying in your mindIf there are moments or images that are particularly traumatic to remember (the way you discovered, for example, or the image of catching them “red handed”), talk through the memories with family members,  friends, or a trusted mentor or counselor.  Talking about it out loud allows you to get the dark feelings and fears out in the open so that you can stop the obsession.
  • Ask for help. Look for a support mechanism that works for you.  Some folks like a group such as a counselor’s support group or a women’s group at church. Some more introverted folks may prefer one buddy who’s been through something similar or a therapist/pastor who can help you work through these very difficult feelings.
  • Force yourself to reach out. It’s easy to hide away or isolate yourself when you feel that you’re “not at your best,” but this is just the time to reach out. Put a few close friends or family members on alert by saying, “I’m having a pretty tough time right now. Can I call you when I’m really feeling down?” Setting this up ahead of time gives you permission to pick up the phone.
  • Let yourself off the hook. If you’re experiencing guilt for things you should have done, or regret over things you wish you hadn’t…just remember that it’s perfectly normal and natural to have these feelings.  It’s nothing to feel bad about if you feel relieved that that the lies and arguing or over, or to feel like you want some time to yourself.  You’re not a bad person…just a normal person.

On Tuesdays I link up with this godly link-up:

Shock & Denial–the first stage of dealing with an affair

The trauma of discovering  the betrayal of infidelity can be devastating.  Trying to describe the pain is impossible, because literally nothing in the world is as emotionally painful as a betrayal of that magnitude.  Although no two couples recover exactly the same, we have found generally seven stages in the healing process.

The first stage is “Shock and Denial” but it is really that first emotional trauma right after discovery.  Whether you found out accidentally or had a “gut feeling” and did some investigating, once you’ve found out for sure, the first thing that happens is a sense of shock that serves to protect you from the intensity of the emotional loss.  Some people may describe it as feeling “numb” and it is a completely normal reaction to a profound loss.  This should not be mistaken for lack of caring–it’s just that the loss is so deep and so overwhelming that the nervous system sort of shuts down.

For the first hours, days, even weeks afterward, you may feel like you just CAN NOT absorb what’s happened. It might feel like there’s a glass wall between you and your feelings. You know you’re hurt, but you can’t actually feel anything. The numbness protects you from dissolving, but it may feel a bit frightening, too — why can’t I cry?

Your spouse’s infidelity — especially if they move out to be with the Other Person — may also bring intense feelings of emptiness as if there is a hole left in your  life. You’ve spent the past months or years loving them and caring about them, and it’s natural to feel aimless and like you are suddenly no longer needed.  There is no purpose in life, and it seems like you are just “going through the motions” of living.  This can’t be happening!!

What you might be feeling:

  • Numb and traumatized — “This can’t be happening to me.  This is a bad dream.  When will I wake up?”
  • The world just keeps turning —  Your world has stopped and is all dark, and the whole rest of the world is still in the light and just keeps turning as if nothing happened.
  • No purpose — The definition that connected me to the world and kept me going every day is no longer there.

What you might notice:

  • Memory gaps — such as staring off into space for …you don’t know how long, being unable to remember what you did yesterday, or not knowing the last time you ate.
  • Feeling out of touch with your real feelings —  reacting in ways that don’t feel like “you,” such as snapping at the kids or feeling nothing when a friend tells you some happy news.
  • Being disorganized and “spacey” — misplacing your keys or cell phone, losing your car in the parking lot, forgetting which day of the week it is.

What to do:

  • Give yourself permission to feel however you feel. You’ve just been through an emotional earthquake, and the aftershocks are going to continue for a while. It’s okay if you can’t cry, and it’s also okay if you cry all the time or at inappropriate moments.
  • Break through the denial. Recognize that numbness has a purpose: It keeps you from falling apart. But if feelings of distance and unreality are bothering you, use family members and close friends as touchstones. Prevent yourself from “stuffing” your feelings by checking in with others: How are you holding up?  Talk to them.
  • Pragmatic advice.  Buy yourself some lotion tissues and some soup.  If you cry a lot and use tissues that don’t have lotion, you’ll chap your eyelids and nose, and that hurts!  And you’ll know you need to eat, but how do you swallow past that huge lump in your throat?  Soup can be choked down, and it’s something warm and nutritious.

On Mondays I link up with this godly link-up:

The Alabaster Jar