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:
- Depression, reflection & loneliness – the 4th stage of dealing with an affair (affaircare.com)
- Anger & Bargaining – the 3rd stage of dealing with an affair (affaircare.com)
- Pain & Guilt – the 2nd stage of dealing with an affair (affaircare.com)
- Shock & Denial – the first stage of dealing with an affair (affaircare.com)
- For married men in the immediate aftermath of your affair, Part I (recoveringwayward.wordpress.com)