Perhaps even more devastating than the death of a spouse, is the discovery that your husband has been having a long term extramarital affair. Humiliation, anger, loss of self-esteem, feelings of betrayal, loss of trust, anxiety, and depression are just some of the emotions coursing through your veins. Just how can you get over your husband's long term affair?
MAKE A DECISION. You will dive into the depths of despair. You will become hysterical. You will still feel love for him. You will hate him. The emotional roller coaster ride you are on will not end for a long while. It is important, however, in your more lucid moments, to quickly size up the situation. Does he want to commit to the marriage? Has he vowed to cease any further contact with the other woman? If he does and has, then you must decide if you want to stay in the relationship or not. The question is not if you are ABLE to stay in it. The question is, do you WANT to. This must be decided as soon as possible. If you need to be put on anti-depressives or anti-anxiety medication temporarily, then do so.
SET A DATE. This article is for those women who want their marriage to work. You will question daily, even hourly, if you are able to do it. How could he have treated you this way? How could you have been so stupid as to let the affair go on for so long? These and other questions and scenarios will play out in your head over and over again. You need to set a date - Christmas, your anniversary, his birthday - that you will aim to reach while staying in the marriage. When that date is met, set another date, and another, until you no longer need benchmarks in order to keep you in the relationship.
VENT. Vent your anger, vent your frustration, vent your despair, your loneliness, your feelings of betrayal, your disgust to your husband. He will have to take it, and he WILL take it if he is truly repentant and sincerely wants you. He will not blame you. He will not yell back at you. He will, in fact, take all of the blame. He will cry. He will bang his head against a wall for his stupidity. If he criticizes, tries to rush your bereavement, blames you in any way, do not accept it. Your very soul is in anguish and you have every right to hand this torment over to him for as long as it takes, within reason. He created it. Give it back to him. Do note, however, that six months is about as much as your husband and yourself will be able to take of this tumultuous behavior.
ASK WHAT YOU NEED TO ASK. All the experts agree that the spurned wife should ask whatever she needs to ask about the details of the other woman and the affair. The husband must answer in all truth and honesty. I must add, however, that some things you feel compelled to know, are best left unasked. Do not ask the particulars of sexual acts. You do not need those pictures implanted in your brain. As it is, the other woman will remain a third party in your marriage, if only in your head, for about a year. Do not extend the pain.
FORGIVE. Forgiveness will not happen over night. Forgiveness is a process. Even after a year's time, your marriage may be flowing along nicely, and then something, anything, will trigger a memory, a lie, a slight, and you will experience, what I call a "flare up." Expect it. Expect the side steps, but try not to step backwards.
LIGHT. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I know it seems like a bad dream. You have desired to crawl out of your own skin at times. The pain has been merciless. But after a year or so, time will begin to soften those feelings. After two years, the marriage, hopefully, will be back on track. The love will flow between you, the trust will be growing. It can happen. It does happen.
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