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 Upward Turn – the 5th stage of dealing with an affair (affaircare.com)
- 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)