Posts tagged healing infidelity
Is this normal? Losing yourself after Infidelity

The blow of receiving the news that your partner has been unfaithful is mind blowing.

It rocks your world and shatters what you thought you had into a million pieces. You may have trouble sleeping, eating, talking without crying, and you might feel as though you’re obsessed with thinking about your partner and their lover.

It might feel like you’re going crazy, trust me, you’re not.

What you’ve experienced is a trauma. A psychological trauma.

Don’t give me any flack for this comparison, but when soldiers or first responders see things that involve carnage or devastation, there is a physical and emotional response in the body.

Having the person that you love do something that goes against all things that you thought were supposed to happen creates that same physical and emotional response.

I know it seems like a harsh comparison, but the way our minds and bodies respond to trauma is the same.

There are so many things that you may feel you have lost through this trauma, and I want to assure you that they are normal.

The most common is the feeling that you don’t know who you are anymore.

This may seem strange because after all it wasn’t you that strayed. But you might find yourself reacting to your partner in heinous ways, snarling and spitting insults and anger as you struggle to cope and make sense of it all.

It’s normal to ask, “who is this person?” while staring at your angry, tear-stained face in the mirror. Reacting in ways that are completely uncharacteristic of yourself is a normal response to something that is completely uncharacteristic of what you thought your relationship was supposed to be like.

There is a certain loss of specialness that comes with the trauma of infidelity. Hearing that your spouse called another woman the pet name he gave to you, or used your vacation home for secret meetings with a lover will not only be upsetting but it leaves you to question whether or not anything you had was special or sacred. This too is normal.

You might find yourself doing other things completely out of character like obsessively checking cell phone records, emails, and web activity, trying to catch your partner in the act. They may have told you it was over with their lover, but you just can’t trust again, and even though you might not want to obsessively question and ask them to recall every step of their day, you just can’t help it. You might once again question who you are, and where this crazed person came from. As uncomfortable and unsexy as it seems, this too is quite normal.

Another common thing is doing things in desperation to try and win your partner back. As angry and hurt as you are, it would seem normal to just end the relationship, and as bad-ass as it seems to just throw your partner’s belongings out on the lawn and change the locks like they do in the movies, it’s not practical, and there are so many more emotions that aren’t shown.

Years of love that built the foundation of your relationship is difficult to deny, and you might find yourself doing things out of character and obsessing about your partner in ways you never have. Tempting them with sex and gifts, trying to get their attention and remind them of what they could be losing may be uncharacteristic, but it is also normal.

How long will this last?

This is one of the most common questions I receive when working with clients struggling with infidelity. Although I wish I had a finite answer, it’s much like any other trauma in that it’s really difficult to tell. I can’t tell you how long it will take you to get over the loss of a job, or a loved one, and I certainly can’t tell you how long in exact days and hours it will take you to heal from infidelity.

I can tell you that if you are willing to do the work and try to find understanding about yourself and your relationship through the process, it will create space for healing to happen much quicker than if you sweep it under the rug.

If you’ve recently discovered that your partner has been unfaithful, I’d like to offer you my free guide for surviving infidelity. You can get it by signing up here. It’s a guide that provides steps that you can take in the aftermath of infidelity, to help you feel less isolated and alone, and to get you moving towards a space of communicating productively with your partner. 

5 Things that come between Couples And Cause Affairs

I’ve sat across from enough couples trying to repair their marriages after an affair to know that they don’t just happen. There are some telltale signs that a relationship is ripe for an affair. No one thinks it will happen to them, and its easy to see in hindsight that there were in fact signals leading up to it.

While we can’t affair-proof our relationships, we can invest in them enough that an affair will be much less likely.

Here are 5 things that commonly come between couples and have the ability to cause an affair:

1.     Time

In the beginning of a relationship things are usually the best they will be. Couples have plenty of time to enjoy one another, they spend a significant amount of time together, they talk openly, and they share hobbies and interests that keep them connected.

As time passes two becomes three and then four, and the focus shifts from the couple to the family. Responsibilities increase, stresses increase, and time and energy decrease. The lack of time and energy once used towards one another dwindles, and a lack of connection that once kept the relationship fresh, diminishes.

2.     Caring for Children

Children are one of the most amazing gifts, and in order to be a good parent it takes time, energy, and a great amount of effort. Sometimes that effort and energy comes at the detriment of the marital relationship.

I often see parents killing themselves to put their kids in all the right sports and extracurricular activities, running them around like an über driver on a Friday night. They angst over participation in activities because “they look good on college admission essays,” or even preschool applications.

All that running around, over-committing, and overextending leads to exhaustion and under-commitment to the marital relationship. Who has the energy for intimate conversation or sex after running on empty with kids all day?

When children leave the nest I often have couples coming into my office wondering who the person is sitting next to them. After years of committing to their children, they forget they were once committed to one another, and lack the intimacy that comes with regular connection. 

3.     Career

Work/life balance is often elusive. As couples work to provide the biggest and the best for their children, it’s easy to continually strive for the next promotion, which usually comes with an increase in responsibility, and longer hours.

Working long hours can lead to a lack of connection at home. Often times, inter-office friendships can spark as a result of all the time spent on the job, and although they may seem innocent at first, feelings of loneliness can surface and be a cause for infidelity.

4.     Outside Hobbies and Interests

I tend to be a big cheerleader when it comes to both partners having interests of their own. I encourage the individuality that comes with doing something that doesn’t include your partner or kids because I think it makes us more whole. It’s what we bring back to the relationship and talk about, and it’s what makes us unique.

However, there is a fine line, and balance is always key. When there’s no regular connection in the relationship, and date nights aren’t happening nearly as often as the kid’s play-dates, it’s difficult to justify an out of town fishing trip with the guys, or a daily 2-hour gym routine.

5.     Difficult life-transitions

The transition into parenthood, a career change, caring for an aging parent, a move to a new state - all of these are examples of life-transitions. When things change in a big way, there are lots of feelings that go along with these transitions.

When the feelings are not outwardly expressed in the relationship, and one partner feels as thought they aren’t able to confide in the other, it can cause a wedge that leads to loneliness.

What all 5 of the things I’ve listed have in common are their ability to cause disconnection and loneliness. Loneliness and disconnection often lead to vulnerability, and vulnerability has the ability to lead to an affair if the right person comes around at the right time.

The bottom line is that connection is key.

If you’re connecting with your partner, sharing intimate moments with one another, and each of you feels valued and satisfied with your relationship, any of the above listed things can come into your lives. While they may be challenging, the strength you feel from the friendship and connection with your partner will help push you through the storm together.  

Find ways to sneak 15 minutes out of your day to be alone.

Create routines that encompass connection. Make it a habit to connect through text or email throughout the day, and sit together after the kids go to bed and talk before getting into bed.

If you’re having trouble finding the connection you need with your partner, I’m just a phone call or email away. My passion is helping couples find their stride and connection with one another, so don’t hesitate to reach out! Let’s set up a quick phone consultation, and I’ll be happy to discuss ways to connect more with your partner (909) 226-6124.