If you have ever experienced your partner having an affair, you can understand the many contradicting and negating feelings. What you may not realize, is that they are completely normal and expected feelings. Today I would like to take a few minutes to discuss the feelings and thoughts you may be experiencing to help you realize that you are not alone in this endeavor. Just remember that you may not have all of these feelings and you may in fact have additional feelings not mentioned here, since everyone’s personal situation is different.
All of the feelings stem around a sense of loss, the first being a loss of your own identity. As you find out that your partner has betrayed you, it will begin to feel like your whole world is crashing down and everything you have known to be true no longer is. You may question your relationship and your place and role in it. You may question what you have done to cause your partner to seek out another person, perhaps even blaming yourself. In this process you may feel a loss of confidence and self-esteem as you feel less special since your partner seeked out someone else. You may wonder about what it says about you since your partner couldn’t or chose not to get all his/her romantic needs met by you.
You may feel as though your parnter respects you less having chosen to betray you and in return may respect yourself less as well. You may lose self-respect as you feel yourself doing whatever you can to try to win your partner back. You may feel the need to suppress the fact that you were the one that was wronged and feel ashamed that you are straying from your values in light of the events.
You may feel a loss of control, over yourself, your mind, your body, your relationship and your whole world. Of course we know we can’t control other people but we expect to be able to control ourselves, but with this news we cannot control our thoughts and even sometimes actions as you may find yourself thinking about the affair and checking up onyour partner seemingly uncontrollably. Along with this comes the loss of your sense of order and justice in the world and understading about how everything should work and happen, the world may no longer make sense to you. In addition, some people will temporarily lose faith in their religion, not understanding how a just God would allow this to happen to them.
It may be hard to make sense of all that has happened, and feel embarassed to tell others in an attempt to seek help. You may not want others to know what has happened, not wanting them to think the same things about you that you have, or you may not want the biased advice that they will give. Either way, you may feel alienated and lonely as you have a hard time reaching out to others. With all of these feelings being compounded, it isn’t surprising that you may also be feeling a loss of the will to live. All of these feelings can be overwhelming and it may seem easier to not have to deal with them any longer. Of course this is not true, however.
Please know that no matter what you are experiencing after your partner has an affair, there is someone out there who is experiencing it as well. What you are experiencing is normal and understandable.
(Information based off the book “After the Affair” by Janis Abrahams Spring, Ph.D.)