Healing from infidelity, which can be exhausting and emotionally draining, takes time. Learning that your husband had an affair is a shock to your system; you likely have an abundance of emotions running through you, ranging from betrayal to rage. Whether you wish to continue the marriage or end it, the late Peggy Vaughan, a leading specialist in the recovery of affairs, recommended attending to personal recovery, focusing first on your basic survival needs.
Your husband may be sincerely sorry and he may fear losing you as well as the life you have together. At this time in your life, it's important to look in the mirror and ask yourself what you need in order to begin sorting through your own physical and emotional reactions to begin the healing process. The answer could be counseling, time alone or a short-term separation to clear your head. There is no right answer, and you can change your mind as you progress in your healing and learn more about yourself in the process.
You're Not to Blame
Healing will occur and self-esteem will increase as you accept the reality of the affair and strive to understand the reasons it occurred, says Vaughan. Realize your husband's behavior is not your fault, even if there are areas of your marriage that you've neglected, suggests Dr. Phil McGraw. Keep this in mind as you work to gain strength and process your trauma. Feeling ashamed or at fault can prevent you from moving on.
Acknowledge Your Part
Understanding yourself, whether or not you decide to continue the marriage, is valuable to moving forward with your life. Analyze your attitudes and behaviors towards your husband and your relationship. Look for ways you could be a better communicator or problem-solver. Ask yourself questions regarding whether you did enough for yourself or if you relied on him in a needy manner. If you need to, enlist the help of a mental health professional. The idea is not to accept responsibility for the affair but to take into consideration any problematic behaviors you may exhibit and then work on them.
Focus on Forgiveness
Communication regarding your husband's affair is key to solving problems within the marriage; passive-aggressive and acting-out behavior will only cause additional turmoil. You may choose to forgive your spouse as a gift to yourself. This doesn't necessarily lend itself to reconciliation with your spouse, but it does encourage you to release the hurt and anger that can hold you back from living a joyful life.
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images