Marriage Missions International

How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?

Photo by A Patterson, courtesy of Freeimages.com

Photo by A Patterson, courtesy of Freeimages.com

How can I get past the tremendous sadness that my spouse’s extramarital affair has caused me?

“Impact! Dead on impact. Maybe I have confused separateness with the feeling of being dead. The tears fall like rain drops.”

“The pain is physically exhausting but I am still here.”

“Lord I give up. I am not even going to pretend to be brave because I am actually totally broken. I give up. I don’t want this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t Lord. I can’t Lord. I can’t Lord. My heart is completely shattered.”

These are the feelings of sadness expressed by those who have been betrayed. It is the feeling of death, except one is still alive and must continue to live. But how? When will it ever go away? Will I ever feel happy again? It seems impossible. And my family tells me to just ‘get over it!’ That hurts me even more. My friends don’t understand.

When I discovered my husband’s affair, I felt as if I had gained a new companion, a companion whom I didn’t want, who wasn’t welcome, who had not been invited and who would not go away.

That companion was pain. For me it was 2 ½ years until I felt happiness again, and I distinctly remember feeling it again, and I remember why.

The feeling of sadness for me was caused by thinking that I was unloved, perhaps even unlovable. Surely if I was a lovable person, the one I loved the most would not have hurt me so deeply with betrayal, abandonment, deceit and lies. The problem was that what I believed about myself, about my life and about the people around me was untrue. The truth is that I am lovable and therefore I will always have lots of love in my life.

I wanted a guarantee. I wanted to be guaranteed that I would never be betrayed by my husband again. He gave me his guarantee, yet I still didn’t feel guaranteed. After all, had I not been given a guarantee the day we exchanged our wedding vows? I thought what I needed was to throw away the old and start over with the new.

“Yes, that’s what I needed,” I thought to myself, “a new relationship with my very own husband of 18 years.” Yes, we should redo our wedding vows. Yet others have redone their wedding vows and been betrayed again! Wedding vows are no guarantee.

Then I realized that I can never be guaranteed what all of the future choices of another individual will be. Neither can anyone else on the planet be guaranteed that their spouse will never have an affair. There are no such guarantees in life. I wish it were different, but that is reality. One thing no person can take away from another is their own right to choose. And really…would we want to?

How loved would I feel if another was forced to love me?

Prior to our meeting this week, I put out an email to the Beyond Affairs Network asking other coordinators, how they got past the sadness. Here are their responses which I shared at our meeting:

“It was the hardest of emotions for me to overcome, but I finally accepted the fact that it happened and that I had no control over the actions of my spouse. I continually reminded myself that unless I controlled my own actions, I would be bound by my own stubbornness to remain in the anger and resentment stage. The constant dwelling on what happened is what keeps people stuck there. Again I had to control my own thoughts and move ahead. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it can be done especially if you choose to stay focused.”

Another wrote:

“I think, hard as it is to accept, that ‘tincture of time’ is the best way to get past both the hurt and the anger. I also know that it is possible to get stuck in either place. So what I did, instead of trying to rush the process, was to really LET myself be sad and then to LET myself be angry for a while. I had spent so much time and energy trying to move on, that I found I was denying myself the right to feel what I NEEDED to feel in order to heal.

Once I acknowledged my feelings and that I wasn’t crazy for feeling them, it was much easier to let them go. Now when negative feelings come, I can acknowledge them and put them away much faster. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It has been nearly 3 years for me and I’m finally getting there.”

Another affair survivor wrote: “For me, the greatest skill for dealing with sadness is gratitude. Define it. Practice it. It seems trite to say count your blessings when you’re in the midst of such pain, but there is no denying the practical benefits of just doing. It’s scriptural and I think it’s psychologically sound. This is NOT denial. It’s perspective and coping until time has had the chance to work its magic.”

Then I read Peggy Vaughan’s article “Moving from Pain to Recovery”, where she talks about the importance of controlling your thoughts. What we feed grows. If we allow ourselves to replay the pain over and over again in our minds, we don’t move forward, in fact, it can get worse with time, if time is spent nursing and rehearsing the wound over and over again. This is where it becomes so important in the healing process to educate ourselves and to share with others who understand, which is the purpose of Beyondaffairs.com, constructive ideas and efforts to get beyond the painful emotions.

One woman shared how taking anti depressants (only for 6 months) had helped her to cope with life at somewhat of a normal level during the initial discovery period. Others managed their pain, and often depression that accompanies discovering marital infidelity, through cognitive therapy (which is learning to understand, recognize and control your thoughts).

During our meeting, one individual brought to our attention the value of a good comedy!!! What a great, but often overlooked point! Sometimes you’ve just been dealing with the darn stuff too long.

You need to go out and have a good laugh. Give all those serious, deep thinking, tragedy moments a rest. Search for things that make you laugh. A good laugh is medicine for the soul.

Getting past the sadness, it’s a choice. We choose whether we will read books, educate ourselves, increase our understanding, learn from others and most of all whether or not WE will control our thoughts. Can you get past the sadness? Absolutely! But it takes time and it is YOUR choice.

The above article was written by Anne Bercht and is featured on the web site for PassionateLife Seminars, which is a dedicated to helping others survive marriage affairs, infidelity, adultery and betrayal. Anne’s book, My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me is an inspiring true story of one family’s courage and recovery after a devastating affair.

This particular article is one of many they have posted on the subject of surviving infidelity and healthy recovery from extra marital affairs. You may want to visit their web site to see what else they offer which might further help you in some way with this issue. You can visit their web site by going to Beyondaffairs.com.

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Comments

69 Responses to “How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?”
  1. Sly from Canada says:

    (Canada) Its been about a week since my husband walked out on me and my daughter. As far as I know there was no other woman. My story is very strange and haven’t found any like it, so finding sites has been a struggle. Friday was like any other day, woke up together, had breakfast, lunch, dinner, but my husband works away from home and sometimes he needs to go on Saturdays, which is fine.

    So he was gone all day Saturday, but he was supposed to come home for his firefighters Christmas party. He didn’t come home, and he had turned off his phone. I couldn’t reach him until Sunday morning. Not going to sugar coat anything, but I was a little angry that he couldn’t call, and tell me he was staying in the city. But he wouldn’t pick up his phone until Sunday afternoon, when he said to me, I’m moving out, I’m busy right now getting furniture from a friend, I’ll call you back later. Then he hung up on me and turned his phone off.

    Picture the kid from home alone, but with a silent scream splashed on my face. Seriously who does that?!! There were no fights or arguments that lead up to him moving out! Nothing!!! So yes, I was in a state of shock and couldn’t understand how one minute he’s fine and we’re fine then the next he’s picking up furniture to move out?

    So after that week, as I like to call it, “hell week,” he and I fought over the phone, not long calls, he usually would end up hanging up on me or saying nasty things so I would end up hanging up. His reasoning was he has been depressed for 6 months now and he can’t live like that anymore. Lets fast forward shall we? This is the next Saturday, and he phones me. After a week of threats and talking about divorce he phones me when he’s driving to see his sister and her new baby, which is a good 3 hours away so he has time, probably the best conversation we’ve ever had!

    Then Sunday, he drops by to see his daughter, we sit down and have a decent talk again. Monday, same thing, but by Monday we’re talking about moving and finding a place closer to his work. We’re talking about getting back together, seeking counseling to help us become a family again. It’s now Tuesday, “hell week” is in the past and we’re keeping it there. But now I’m feeling this anger kick in and frustration along with hurt! I just don’t understand how I can honestly live with someone who found it so easy to up and abandon me! I feel like the other shoe is about to drop any minute now and I’m anxious about that. I’m scared of being abandoned again. I don’t know if I could ever trust him or feel confident he’ll never do that. I know there are no guarantees and that’s terrifying to me, to put my trust, my love my all back into someone who could just leave, with no word, no signs, no remorse!

    How can I trust again? I know I don’t want to live in the past and relive “hell week” ever again. I’m not sure if wife abandonment syndrome is real or not but I feel like I have it, and I feel like if I go back to him or let him back in I’m just setting myself up for disappointment, to constantly walk around on eggshells, asking myself “is he going to leave me this weekend?” or “is he having a good day, so he won’t leave me?”

    Maybe we’re better off alone, maybe we’d make better friends. I’m so confused right now and whenever I talk about us or how I’m feeling I can feel the tension on his end of the phone. It’s almost like he’s saying “ah she’s griping again” when really I just need for him to listen and not resent me for feeling this way, the way that he made me feel in the first place!

  2. Jennifer from United States says:

    I found out my husband cheated on me with who I considered my best friend back in July. After that I decided to snoop through his phone and discovered he had been texting multiple other women telling them inappropriate things. It has been 6 months now and I feel that I’m just getting worse. I’ve tried leaving him numerous times (kicking him out of the house) and he just keeps begging me back. Part of me wants to work it out but I know I can’t if I can’t overcome my feelings of anger and hurt. It’s so hard on my health.

    I still love him to a degree, but the trust is not there and am not sure if it will ever be again. I can’t go through this again if he’s unfaithful in the future. We’ve been married for over a year. We’ve both been married in the past. Why do men have to be so dang weak? All I’ve done today is lay on the couch and watch tv. I’m sad and have no ambition or strength. I really want my happy self back. I wish all of you, who have also been hurt in this way, the best. You’re not alone.

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