The natural reaction after getting the news of an affair is to feel anger and rejection. A self-negotiation takes place about “why” it happened. Then the self-penetrating questions start, like:
• What about me wasn’t good enough for them?
• How could they toss a 15 year relationship together for somebody who doesn’t even know them?
• What do I tell the kids (if applicable)?
• Why would they choose another person when all they needed was here?
The questions will invade your mind and will add to a lack of confidence and ruminate without answers at times. You have to remember that in today’s society the grass always looks greener on the neighbor’s lawn. Perceived options of the person who had the affair are larger in their head then the chances that the new person will have their own set of baggage too.
They can blame you for all you ever did wrong in the relationship and make you feel guilty, but in the end it is their own behavior and problem they created. Affairs happen for a variety of reasons. An article entitled, 9 facts about cheating that couples – and singles – should know by Shana Lebowitz, in Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/science-of-cheating-2016-8#-1 state some possible reasons affairs take place. According to the studies quoted, affairs can often be tied to financial sustainability of the cheating spouse. For example, when men are the breadwinners – specifically, when they earn more than 70% of the total household income – they’re more likely to cheat. Birthday timing is also quoted as a reason people cheat. The quoted article stated, “right before you hit the big 4-0 or 5-0, for example, you have a greater chance of trying to find meaning in life by having a relationship with someone who isn’t your partner.” The fact is that you can just add to emotions that put you in a tailspin trying to figure out the reasons.
So, what do we do when we are left to pick up the pieces? How can we move on and trust in ourselves again yet envision a life with another person after our trust has been violated?
- Realize the affair and the choice to make that choice is fully on the other person. Even with couples who are deeply in love, there is an excitement or connection (whether false or not) in another. Allow them to live with the consequences. It is not your issue to contend with. Don’t make excuses for them. They broke the trust, not you.
- Now you have choices of your own. You can decide how to live a brighter full life without them. The length of time you carry this as your own burden is something you can decide. You can decide where to spend your time, what goals you want to pursue, and who you would like to spend your time with.
Trust yourself enough to not immediately go out and seek revenge by sleeping with someone else. Take time to sort your thoughts. Take time to breathe and allow stress to escape. Realize you came into the relationship with great qualities and will leave with the same.
Find some form of stress relief like walking, workouts, reading something positive, or spend time with friends who understand you.
There is little we can do to remove the sting and rejection, yet we can take control our perceptions about the meaning of the affair of another person. Now is the time to see value in ourselves and know that we can recover. Over time, coping will become easier and life can then take a turn for the best.