Perhaps you just discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful. Maybe you’ve been suspecting it for a while, but now you know for sure. You may have been innocently looking through some of your mate’s belongings and found information that sent you reeling in shock and broke your heart. Or you might have been snooping for evidence because you’ve noticed some personality changes in your spouse. You’ve heard more excuses for being gone. And you’ve realized that he or she frequently leaves the room to check phone messages.
Or perhaps you’ve discovered the truth, but your mind simply can’t process what’s happened. You feel like a person caught in a flood, your brain clinging to the driftwood of denial to avoid drowning in the rushing river of pain that comes with facing new and excruciating realities. “This can’t possibly be happening to me. It can’t be real. There must be some mistake. Maybe I’m reading too much into what I’ve discovered, allowing my imagination to run wild.” But deep down inside, you know the truth. And now you have to deal with it. You feel caught in a nightmare from which you want to wake up. But it’s not a nightmare. It’s real. And it’s really devastating. You’re not sure what you want to do next. You’re not even sure you can go on. For that matter, you’re not sure about anything at all at the moment.
Perhaps you’re the person who had the affair. The temptation was so great, the pull of secrecy so sensual – almost like a drug – that it may have felt impossible to resist. You didn’t think beyond the thrill at hand. Your affair may have been an exciting break from a life you’d allowed to spiral into a boring routine. You wanted to feel the old spark, and to have an adventure, to feel alive. Or perhaps you were having marital problems, feeling discouraged, disillusioned and even feeling unheard or unseen, so you sought solace from someone other than your mate. It felt comforting and confirming. Or, your marriage may have been on firm ground, but the impulsive draw of doing something new, something fun or illicit in the moment, overwhelmed common sense and commitment. But now your spouse knows about the affair, and all hell has broken loose. The last thing you wanted was to hurt him or her. And you certainly don’t want a divorce. You had no idea that the fallout of your decision to be unfaithful would be so devastating. You have tried to help your spouse feel better, to assure them that what happened is over and in the past, but nothing you say seems to comfort them for long. They feel the anger and hurt all the time. Your whole relationship is focused on the infidelity. You understand why your spouse is in pain, but you could never have predicted that life as you knew it would be suspended; you never talk about anything else, you don’t do anything fun together, there’s always an undercurrent of anger or hurt. Your spouse’s mood swings are palpable. You don’t know what to do. It’s not that you’re unwilling to be supportive; it’s just that anything you’ve tried doesn’t seem to be effective.
IF YOU NEED HELP DEALING WITH THE INFIDELITY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP, KNOW THAT THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE. READ THE FIRST CHAPTER OF HEALING FROM INFIDELITY BY MICHELE WEINER-DAVIS.