The feelings that follow the discovery of an affair can leave you reeling with anger, shock and a strange kind of numbness. You have been caught unprepared and you are lost as to what you should do. The thought that something like this could happen to you had never crossed your mind, but now that it has happened it is very real; how can something that is so painful and makes you feel so raw, ever be forgiven?
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The most important thing that you can do for yourself when you have found out about the affair is to acknowledge you feelings and let them flow. The more you hold onto them and keep them buried the more stress you are placing yourself under mentally, emotionally and physically. Whatever that initial reaction is when you make the discovery let it out. Shout and scream if you have to, cry, rant or do whatever it is that lets that initial burst of raw emotions out, once this initial reaction has been thoroughly expressed then you will find that you will be able to focus more rationally and start thinking more clearly about your next steps.
You will of course start analysing your relationship, trying to see if you can pinpoint a moment when things started to go wrong, your mind will be filled with questions that you want answers to. Things will be sorted out in time, but right from the start you need to get your emotions into some kind of order.
Change Your Outlook
Now that you have expressed the majority of your raw hurt it is time to take away the power this event has over you. The more you dwell and feed into the negative emotions the more you are giving this event and if you are not careful it will end up controlling your life. Although you may feel like the world as you know it has come to an end, it hasn’t, but it will change the way that you view the world.
Just because you partner had an affair it does not mean that you are a failure when it comes to relationships, not does it mean that they love you any less that they did. What it does mean though is that there are issues within your relationship that need to be addressed. Do not expect to enter into any discussions about your relationship without the anger surfacing or the tears flowing so explain this to your partner; they should understand that you have been hurt very badly by what they have done.
You can tell them whether or not you are ready to have the discussion that needs to happen and they should understand some of what you are feeling and be prepared to wait until you are ready.
Breaking the Ice
When you are ready to discuss your relationship issues it can be difficult to know where to start. You will find it difficult to focus on the conversation without images of them together popping into your head – this is natural. Make a point of ignoring any such thoughts and concentrate on the matter at hand.
Focus on discovering the reasons the affair started in the first place and address these issues so that you can move your relationship forward together. Clear and honest communication is essential in order to get your relationship back on track, so make sure you ask the right questions, and listen to the answers with an open mind and do your best to be understanding. Between you, you need to find a way of avoiding such events happing in the future.
Give it Time
You can expect to feel angry for some time to come and you may find that the affair is brought up in arguments and discussions. Every time you feel hurt your mind will take you back to the discovery of the affair and the thoughts of them together. Your partner may feel under attack due to the fact that it is always being brought up and thrown back at them and it can lead to further damage being caused.
You both need to understand the depth of the hurt that the affair has caused in order to move on from it. If things get to the point where arguments and emotions are out of control and there are no discussions only shouting matches you need to walk away from it, take a step back and leave the subject until you can both take part in a rational discussion.
Rebuilding the Trust
Once everything has been laid bare and the reasons for the affair are understood and acknowledged, it is then time to start concentrating on your future together. This is about rebuilding the trust that has been lost and forgiving. Just because you forgive the affair doesn’t mean that it is forgotten, it just means that you have accepted that it happened, and how and why it happened and are now ready to move on from it. It will be difficult for you to trust your partner implicitly again for some time to come but you need to try to rebuild the trust that you had.
If you feel that this area of the reconciliation is causing you problems then perhaps you could seek some joint counselling to remedy the situation. It is not only the trust in the relationship that needs to be rebuilt, you have taken a massive knock to your self esteem and have been left feeling less attractive perhaps, disrespected, worthless or unwanted, you need time to recover from this massive blow to your feelings of self worth. You need to remember that just because you were on the losing end of an affair; it doesn’t mean that you are any less attractive or desirable than you were.
Build New Memories
Set yourself the task of building new memories together, put the hurt of the past behind you and look to the future. Find a new level of happiness together, start courting each other again, and rediscover each other, become much better friends than you ever were before. Always remember that nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes and everyone deserves forgiveness and a second chance to prove themselves. Work together to keep the past well and truly in the past and look upon what happened as a lesson in how to make your love and commitment to each other even stronger.