How will your affair recovery look? “Can my relationship survive infidelity?” you wonder.
The worst part of betrayal is that you feel hopeless.
You feel that you have no guide or manual to instruct how to find your way out of the disaster.
Or do you?
The affair feels like a surprise attack.
Someone detonated a bomb and your life exploded into millions of pieces.
Overwhelmed, you have no idea how to put your life back together or even where to begin.
How will your affair recovery begin when you are not even sure what you want to do?
Do you fix the broken relationship and try to go back to what it used to be or do you avoid more disappointment and move on alone?
You fear how others may judge you.
And your worry about how the affair recovery process will affect your kids and the family members with close ties to your wayward spouse.
The Main Affair Recovery Question
How have other betrayed spouses handled their affair recovery? How did they survive infidelity?
In today’s post we will highlight the main obstacles to emotionally survive infidelity and the keys to affair recovery.
First, let’s start with the obstacles that affair survivors face. Then next we will discuss the 17 affair recovery keys to survive infidelity.
8 Affair Recovery Challenges
The shock that your best friend betrayed you will take time to recover from.
You will find it difficult to trust anyone’s intentions until you learn to isolate the affair from the rest of the world.
Lashing out at innocent coworkers or family members could end up first time events for you.
Emotional Trigger Reminders
The places you two experienced your most memorable, happy times pop up in your mind as you drive or walk past them.
At any moment the reminders could trigger instant sadness and you run the risk of feeling desperate to relive the moments.
This could result in you begging your partner to stay and doing anything to get your old life back.
Then your wayward partner has no need to ask for forgiveness or change.
Fear of Abandonment
Whether staying with your cheating spouse or moving on alone you will feel that your partner or the people you date in the future will always be one step from leaving you.
They will place one foot in the relationship and the other out.
You find it difficult to relax and trust that the relationship will naturally develop into something long-term without getting bored.
Fear of Intimacy
Due to your fear of abandonment you will hesitate to fully give yourself to your partner either physically or emotionally.
“Why commit your soul when they could leave at any moment?” you think.
Fight the urge to blanket judge all women or men as potential cheaters. That toxic thinking will not allow you to move on.
You know not everyone will cheat, please don’t sabotage your own efforts to heal.
Knock to Belief System
Your biggest disappointment and intense sadness that results from the affair is that you doubt love.
You felt you did your part, you acted out the role of the ideal mate or at least deserved a second chance in a stale marriage.
Yet, cheating crept its way in through the back door of your relationship.
“Maybe I’m not the catch I thought I was. Will anyone like me again? The person I knew the best rejected me and chose someone else. Why wouldn’t that just happen again?”
Confidence in ourselves serves as the jet fuel that propels us to fly and accomplish whatever we set our minds on.
A break in confidence sends our plane crashing to the ground.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You didn’t make the cheater cheat.
They chose it betray you instead of approaching you with what bothered them.
Control means power.
Power to guide outcomes in your favor.
The thought that you had no control over your cheating partner’s choice to live a second life threatens your belief that can choose what happens.
Sometimes you cannot.
Then you start to search for what you did that caused the affair.
“If only I had done… or did…”
And somehow you feel if you can pinpoint what actions you could reverse then you’d make your spouse happy again.
He or she would choose to stay and go back to the good old days.
What emotional shocks do you experience?
(*Share your reply at the bottom.*)
17 Affair Recovery Keys: the Traits of an Infidelity Survivor
Now let the affair recovery process begin.
Let’s change your old mindset to a new one so you can properly heal.
This new mindset, starting TODAY, will set you on a path to freedom.
Freedom from emotional bondage REGARDLESS OF YOUR MARRIAGE’S OUTCOME.
After the affair knocks you down, you instinctively want to jump right back up and keep living life as if nothing changed.
Your affair recovery needs it.
Let out all the intense emotions flow out like an avalanche.
Find a healthy way to express the bottled up feelings.
Write a journal, write a blog, join a FB affair recovery group, find a face-to-face support group or hire a relationship coach or counselor who specializes in individual aid.
Do not try to fix the relationship right after discovery because you will only act out of desperation.
If you decide to separate yourself from the relationship and still haven’t grieved then do not jump into another relationship.
Again grieve first.
Starting a new relationship without grieving the affair may stem from your need to fill the emotional void of feeling alone.
You need time to clear your mind and recharge- your proper affair recovery depends on it.
2. Reframe Toxic Thoughts
Just like Dr. Bob Huizenga shares in his eBook “Break Free from the Affair” and “Save Your Marriage Forever- the 3 Easy Love Laws”, in order to mend your emotional wounds you must first undo your negative thoughts.
[Read “Break Free from the Affair” Review here.]
Dr. Huizenga refers to this as “mindshifts”.
You identify negative, incorrect, self-sabotaging beliefs that hinder the affair recovery process, then convert them into healthier thinking.
We learn to acquire positive self-talk and thus coach ourselves to more a productive and powerful way to look at our situations.
Toxic Belief #1= “No one will ever love me again.”
Do you actually believe that?
New Reframing Thought = “She chose to cheat and misses out on the beauty of unconditional love. Many people will appreciate that about me.”
Toxic Belief #2 = “All men are cheaters!”
Believe that and end up alone…forever.
That one’s got to change.
New Reframing Thought = “I won’t let one man’s bad choice affect my opinion of them all. I want my marriage to work, but if it doesn’t then I refuse to lose faith in true love.”
3. Unlearn Marriage Myths
On page 17 of “Save Your Marriage Forever” Dr. Huizenga discusses the importance of letting go any limiting marriage beliefs.
Myths About Marriage Examples
Marriage Myth #1 = “We’re struggling to get along, therefore, there must be something broken about our marriage.”
Marriage Myth #2 = “All marriages lose excitement and become stale and boring.”
When we don’t allow for flexibility in our marriages/relationships to help each other grow then we open up ourselves for major disappointment.
Regardless of the outcome we only can control so much or influence what happens.
Give the marriage your best effort and feel satisfied you did.
Let the chips fall where they fall.
Even still, your relationship consists of only one slice of life’s pie, does it not?
It’s not the whole pie.
Seek to find purpose and meaning outside of the relationship.
Purpose provides hope of a brighter future.
It gives you that extra nudge to help you jump out of bed every morning.
This blog provides me purpose.
Purpose to help you heal during your affair recovery.
5. Help Others
It soothes your soul to help others.
For me the purpose to help others heal from the agony of affairs propels me to keep writing and I will never run out of ideas.
Therefore, my work will never finish.
I guess it makes me feel like somewhat of a hero.
Okay maybe not quite a hero, but at least someone who sticks his neck out there to help you feel better.
When you sit there at 1 AM sobbing, wondering what life has in store for you, my website will always be there for you to access.
My articles will always be there to lend a helping hand.
I hope they inspire you.
And you too can inspire others in one way or another.
You have a talent or skill that will help strengthen and support someone in need.
What talent do you possess?
Can you teach something?
Offer some type of service?
Provide tips or recommendations?
I recommend that you help someone in need.
It will naturally relieve you of stress and make you feel good in the process.
6. Flexible Thinking
If you grieve too longs and drowned in self-pity then you will remain trapped in disbelief.
Sure, I get it.
You may not feel ready yet to reframe your thinking from toxic, limiting thoughts to a more constructive belief system yet because it’s the safe thing to do.
It avoids rejection.
“What happens if I become more positive and then he doesn’t change (or I still end up feeling unhappy)?”
“He cheated and therefore is a horrible human being. I’d never cheat. All cheaters should just burn in hell.”
Okay, there’s certainly a thought.
And then while we are at it let’s take everyone who has made mistakes affected someone else’s life and throw them into a pit and start a bonfire.
All drug or alcohol addicts whose addiction ruined a marriage, all parents who abandoned their families, bullies who picked on smaller kids in high school or even the neighbors next door or upstairs who party on Wednesday nights and prevent us from sleeping.
How’s that going to change anything?
The passive aggressive thing to do is wish evil things on them instead of either helping them or trying mend the problem.
People sometimes disappoint.
Sometimes big time.
They will always disappoint you.
Expect them to make mistakes and this will limit your disappointment (not eliminate it, though).
Just do NOT tolerate bad behavior.
Force them to own up to it or pay the consequences.
Leave the relationship.
Call the police.
Or make sure the bully answers to a bigger, stronger person.
7. Ownership of Feelings
The tools are out there for you to access to heal from the pain, but it’s your choice to move forward and use them.
Cheating will always happen in this world.
Extramarital affairs occurred centuries ago.
And also millions of people have survived them.
Just like you will.
Survival means something for different people in different circumstances.
My cheating wife left.
I learned to lift up my self-esteem and find hope and purpose.
Others rebuild their marriages with their remorseful cheating spouses.
No matter what happens you own your feelings and choose how to feel and how to respond to what happened during your affair recovery process.
That’s what survivors do and have always done.
8. Ownership of Choices
After you take ownership of your feelings then you must account for your own choices.
No one will survive for you.
That’s on you.
Choose to feel stuck or choose to move forward.
Some betrayed spouses take the steps with help of a relationship coach while others realize their cheating spouses will most likely remain serial cheaters.
They choose to leave.
Everyone’s situation is different, but you have a choice.
Remain stuck where you are or start taking action.
Not just reframing your thinking, but actually taking actionable steps to “unstuck” yourself.
Straight up, if you cannot forgive your cheating partner then your marriage will not survive.
At best you will live like two roommates and you will always sleep with one eye open fearful that your spouse will cheat again.
Do you want to live like that, no right?
Forgiveness is the invitation that you offer to your betraying spouse to start rebuilding trust and to start over fresh.
Maybe one day I will offer coaching services too.
I’m just not ready yet.
Want to Read the Rest of the Affair Recovery Keys?
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Which Affair Recovery Trait Do You Feel Is Most Helpful?
Share your thoughts below.