How to overcome infidelity
You find out: Your partner has been unfaithful to you. The world is crashing down on you. You’re in pain. You’re furious. You don’t know how to go on. You have mixed feelings about staying in the relationship or giving up on it. If you have kids, things are even more complicated…
If you’ve had this experience, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to experience it, and it seems impossible to overcome it. But it is. So I want to talk a little about it, and I hope it helps you.
If you’ve just found out recently, the first thing you have to be aware of is that everything passes. That feelings change, evolve. That you’re not going to feel like you do now for the rest of your life. The pain may be intense now, and probably tomorrow too. But, little by little, it will subside. People are more emotionally resilient than we think. The rate at which the intensity subsides is very personal, though. Some deal with it faster and others slower. Go at your own pace, with the certainty that it will subside. And I’m not saying that it completely goes away. I mean that it goes from being unbearable to upsetting, but bearable. From making life difficult for you to just showing up at certain times. And those times will likely become less and less frequent. I know that this isn’t going to make you feel better immediately, but sometimes, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel brings us some relief… even if right now you can’t see the light.
The initial shock is usually harsh and unleashes many emotions. You’ll pass through the typical stages of grief or loss, because you have to say goodbye to the notion you had that your partner only had eyes for you. To reduce the internal tension, don’t hesitate to let it out:
If you’re angry, scream.
If you’re sad, cry.
You also may feel some anxiety, for which a few deep breaths and focusing on your senses (smell, listen, look out the window, pet something) will help you disconnect from the thoughts that trigger that anxiety.
At this stage, it’s normal for you to want to share it with people, people you know or don’t know. Do it. As often as you need to. Even if you get the feeling that you’re repeating yourself. It’s a mechanism for processing what happened to you. It helps you deal with the harsh reality. And it also makes you feel the support and affection that you need. I repeat, from people you known or don’t know. Friends and family can give you support that relates to you more deeply. But it can be embarrassing to tell them what happened. In this case finding relief with a person you don’t know or who isn’t so close can be good for you too. The important thing is for you to share it. If this person is a professional (therapist, coach, psychologist) they can give you perspective and help you in ways your friends can’t. And I’m not saying that someone you know is better than someone you don’t know or the other away around. Hopefully, you use both options. Each person you share it with will contribute something. And do it again with those who make you feel better. Trust your intuition.
All of the above will help you in the initial stage. But once you feel a little calmer, you will need to face up to the feelings that remain. So that in the future, you can have a relationship (with your current partner or with whomever else) without carrying along the baggage that you have now. And the two things I recommend that you delve into is forgiveness and your fears.
I already talked about forgiveness in another one of my articles, so here I just want to remind you that forgiveness is for the forgiver. It’s for you. So that you can keep going in your life and having relationships without fear and without resentment. Because with fear and with resentment you can’t connect with anyone and you’ll suffer in isolation. And I know it’s not easy. But it’s for your own good.
And now let’s talk about fears. Because the pain that you feel or have felt has to do with your fears. Fears are very personal, so it’s difficult to generalize. It’s best to explore them with the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist, who will help you become aware of things that are difficult for you to see. But I’ll raise some possibilities for you here:
Fear of being abandoned: Is this what really worries you? Are your thoughts more in the future? If this is the case, try to figure out exactly what worries you: your financial situation if the two of you separate? the emotional support? the loneliness? what people will say when they find out?
Fear of rejection: Do you dwell on how they may have preferred their lover over you? Do you question your value as a person?
Fear of having done something wrong: Do you feel responsible for what happened? Do you dwell on what you may have done wrong to make this happen? If this happens to you, you’ll be thinking all the time about what you did and what you could have done. Guilt can be a very heavy burden, if you really believe that your actions resulted in the infidelity taking place. Question it. Even if your partner reproaches you for it being because of something you did or failed to do.
There may be other fears, or you may identify with more than one of those that I mentioned above. If others occur to you, please share them, and I’ll be happy to give you my opinion.