“After three years of marriage, I noticed a shift in my husband’s behaviour. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Once, when he was sleeping, I sneaked into his phone. To my horror, I read an exchange of some naughty messages that he had forgotten to delete. When I confronted him, he admitted to having an affair with a colleague in the office. It was like a carpet was pulled from under my feet. My whole world and belief system was shattered. I felt betrayed, angry and dejected. Worse, I felt that I was not good enough and that something was lacking in me,” Veena Shetty, College Professor.
If your story sounds similar to Veena’s, remember you are not alone. As per statistics mentioned in Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 57 % of men and 54 % of women admitted to cheating during a relationship they had. The road to recovery is a long one, but there are ways to deal with it.
Do not take an action at the spur of the moment
A marriage entails a lot of emotional investment and it is natural to undergo a range of emotions at this point of time, be it anger, dejection, depression or hatred. As much as you would want to do something drastic, it is best that you do not act on the spur of the moment, but take some time to gather your thoughts and emotions. If you feel like you need some space, take it but make sure you are in a clear state of mind before you reach your decision. Manu Khan, Businessman confesses, “When I first came to know about my wife’s affair, at first I wanted to get out of the house. But then after some months, I realised that I did not want to give up on my marriage, so we are working towards it.”
Face your emotions
Do not be in denial about your emotions. In order to heal, you first need to accept what you are going through. Let yourself feel, however unpleasant it might be. You can either confide in a close relative or friend or journal down what you are going through. Writing can be extremely therapeutic and also give clarity on things.
Your world as you thought you knew it has fallen apart. This might affect other areas in your life as well such as work and relationships with others. It is of utmost importance that you give yourself the care and nurturing required at this time. After your initial grieving period, work on stabilising yourself. Tend to what all you have neglected and try to get your life on track. It might be easier said than done, but when you put your effort towards it, you will notice that things are slowly getting in order.
Pay attention to your physical self as well
“When I came to know about my husband’s affair, I barely ate due to the grief. I lost weight rapidly and started a lot losing energy. But then when I fainted in an office meeting, I knew that this had to stop,” Madhu G., H.R Professional. Because of the emotional turmoil, many people at this point in time undergo weight loss or gain, sleeplessness, and general weakness. Make sure that you get nutrition and exercise. You need your physical strength back too in order to emotionally and mentally recover. It will also help you in feeling good about yourself.
Focus on the good
During times when you feel that life has taken a turn for the worse, it helps if you focus and embrace the good that is going on at that moment. It can be anything from your job, your child, your pet or the things that give you happiness. This will not only offer you a breather from all the pain that you are going through but also give you the strength and motivation to turn your life around for the better.
Surround yourself with positivity
Surround yourself with positivity and you will feel a shift of energies. Connect with people who are positive, wish you well and want good to happen to you. Meditate and do things that give you a sense of contentment. It is best to cut off from anything that brings negativity in your life, be it people or habits.
At this vulnerable state, it is best to seek professional counselling to guide and heal you. Therapy will give you clarity on what direction you wish to take (to stay or leave) and help you recover from all the pain and anguish. You can also opt for couple’s therapy to work on the issues and make your relationship stronger.
Remember, the scar of being cheated on is a deep one. Make sure you give yourself enough time and attention to recover from it.
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