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. Please, I don’t want this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. Really… I can’t Lord; I can’t. My heart is completely shattered.”
Will I Ever Be Happy Again? I Feel So Much Sadness!
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?
But How Can I Get Past the Tremendous Sadness?
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.”
“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.
NOTE: Anne writes further about this particular marriage in an article (that we encourage you to read):
• KEY #1 TO GETTING UNSTUCK: Whatever You Focus on Expands
Managing Pain and Sadness
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.
Need to Laugh
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.
This 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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223 responses to “How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?”
My wife refuses to discuss the affair. The guy she had the affair with lives in our town, but as of yet, he doesn’t know where we live after we moved from another town. I remember her telling me in the beginning that this is the only thing she wouldn’t forgive me for, how ironic. I feel like a ghost in love with a living memory.
I am really glad that I read your post. My husband cheated one me one month ago. I just feel devasted, angry and betrayed. I feel like I cannot move forward. I have been trying but all I ever do is cry. Sometimes I don’t even have the strength to get out of bed. It hurts so much when the person you trust the most in the world is the one that shatters and breaks you into pieces.
Please know that my prayers are with you. This is one of the most devastating pains that anyone can live through. So, so sad for you that you find yourself in this place. All I can say is to just keep leaning into the Lord. Trust Him that He will help you to find joy again. It could take a long time, but it is worth the journey to peace. Even in the eye of a storm, there is peace. Ask God to help you to sort out what you should do about your husband’s horrible behavior. But whatever you do, don’t jump. Seek God’s wisdom and He will help you to get through this blinding fog of grief and feelings of betrayal. And He will help you to approach your husband with they type of tough love that is needed so he never does this to you again. I pray the Lord ministers to your every need.
I found out that my husband was having an affair for 6 months. I am so sick I lost 36 pounds in 2 weeks it’s been 4 months of healing I have dropped 56 pounds. Still not eating healthy I get so upset that I just can’t keep food down. We’re trying to work things out but it’s so hard the way he treated me when he’d get home from a so called long day. Hasn’t spent time with me at all for 2 years just stayed in the bar. He’s always drank a lot. It just never crossed my mind he was cheating.
He is the only person in the whole world I trusted and believed in; he’s my best friend. I love him with all heart and soul for 23 years. I know I will never depend or trust or get that close to anyone ever again. My granddaughter moved in at 3 months old I have 4 kids that are grown and gone. The baby consumed most of my days an evenings, so I just got comfortable with him not coming home after work. He still took care of everything; he just wasn’t around.
My oldest son told me about the affair. I didn’t want to believe it till I got pictures. I was devastated; I was immediately ill throwing up. I called him; he came home; I showed him the pictures and he turned grey. I then knew it was true.
The first week was hell for everyone. We decided to work it out. We talked a lot. I spent hours on the internet looking at who she was and how much time he spent with her. I wasn’t myself anymore. Besides, taking care of the baby consumed my life till one day he came home and I told him I was tracking his phone, was mapping everywhere he went and found the girl on Facebook seeing who her friends were. I was losing it.
I talked to a stranger one day and told them everything. She said if you love him and want to work this out then I have to let it go–that it’s not my fault. He blamed me for what he did because I was always busy with the baby and he was lonely. It was right after I quit blaming myself then I got angry. He didn’t have to be lonely; I was here taking care of his grand baby that I love dearly. And what about me? I was lonely because he chose not to come home. After he realized that, we talked and are closer now than ever.
I was comfortable with him not coming home because he drank a lot. I got used to him doing whatever because I was busy at 60 years old raising a baby. Once he realized he was wrong I also realized how wrong I was. Never get comfortable with each other; always be involved with each other’s day. Always talk if there’s a bother. Love him more than life itself. But also love yourself just as much.
I have forgiven him. Do I still think about it when he’s late or leaves early? Absolutely! We have been together for 23 years. We have grandchildren. Don’t want to be alone; it’s bad enough we’re going to die someday. Have to live separate and alone. If you have the love in your heart try with everything to fix it.
I have been married 32 years and the past 7 years my husband has been unfaithful with same person. I stayed to save my marriage but it has done me no favours in life. We moved away 3 years ago to the coast. To make fresh start. Promises after promises. But last year it happened again, same woman. We moved back to where we had left. Then he hurts me again and again. Now, I know what death feels like. I’m broken, I’m sad, I cry; I’m exhausted. I have never cheated on my husband in 35 years together. I’m a good woman loving honest caring.
I never stopped. I always put him first, etc. Organized breaks away. What, for for nothing. I’m totally done in. I know now I cannot do any more and have to let him go. He was my first love and my heart clings to the good times. Our grown up daughters want to see me happy and not hurt any more. And they know that their father does not deserve me. He has apologized when it happened yet again. But never has since after everything he’s put me through all these years. He won’t talk about it or get help; nothing. In fact he has no compassion at all anymore for me. The time has come to finally let go.
Hi there, It seems like your husband has created a separate life with the other person for such a long time…that maybe it’s at the point that he may not know how or doesn’t want let the person go. I admire your strength in trying to keep your family together…it’s really how it should be. But, it also sounds like your children are grown up now and perhaps your reasons for not leaving years ago when they were young isn’t what it looks like today. I’m not encouraging you to leave, but at some point people need to understand somehow that this is unacceptable behaviour and is the opposite of how a spouse is to be treated. You deserve to be treated with honour and respect.
Every time I try to discuss the affair and how I am feeling about it, my husband gets very angry and starts calling me psychotic, crazy and stupid. Should I just keep my pain and feelings to myself and deal with his affair alone? I feel like I can’t move forward if he does not u fees tans my pain. I feel like he just wants it swept under the rug! Ugh! Frustrated!
I am a Christian. My husband took the responsibility of the care of his elderly father two years ago. The exhaustion this caused, alongside work trauma, caused him to lose his faith and he began a 2 year relationship with his father’s caregiver. It wasn’t physical but he was obsessed with making sure she cared for his father, which she often didn’t. The whole family knew it was a bad idea from the start. She was vulnerable and had recently divorced her husband.
I discovered their relationship 3 months ago. I was utterly devastated. I’m 68 and have been married for 48 years. This woman was a very close friend of the family and it feels like a double betrayal. My husband admits he’s been an idiot; his father’s care is now in someone else’s hands. The woman up and disappeared, appearing to blame me for her downfall.
I despise my husband, I feel I just can’t go on in the marriage as he’s not the person I thought he was. He lied and deceived me for 2 years. He treated me incredibly cruelly during that time. I was terrified at times. Now he’s on antidepressants and having counseling. He’s always been very selfish but never like the past 2 years. He’s part of a bigger picture, which is our children and their children and I managed to get through Christmas but now feel utterly wretched. My soul is so damaged. I believe nothing and no one.
My children have been an amazing support to us both. They understand why it happened knowing the people concerned, but are still incredulous at their father’s behaviour. I don’t know what to do. I have no future and I desperately need help.
I am in almost exactly the same position. I was caring for my mother, my husband felt lonely and there is always some godless woman ready to pounce. At sixty with a 40 year marriage it has hit me so hard. Husband is ashamed and can’t do enough for me now but it is still hard to heal. Four months on for me and all I can offer is for you to think back to how you felt 2 months ago and you will see you are slightly improved from then, but it is baby steps.
It’s four and a half months, since I discovered that my partner of 32 years had secretly messaged another woman and then had sex with her. He swears that he still loved me and loves me now. I have been in shock, rage and despair. Now I feel an incredible overwhelming sadness. I can’t sleep; I cry constantly.
I thought we both loved each other, but he can’t really love me or he wouldn’t have done this- couldn’t have wanted to do this. So, when he claims that he was happy and loved me and had the affair in spite of that I’m just left thinking that his love isn’t much and was never much.
Jane, I am praying for you! You are Loved, beautiful, and valuable.
Me too; I’m in very vast pain from where I can’t come out of because of what had happened after knowing about my husband’s adultery. 28 years of marriage life, not even a single day he left me realized he loved me. As it was a typical Indian arranged marriage, I never knew about his past. Every time he blamed me and my family for his fault too. I kept the marriage to protect my kids, to keep safe from society and the shame of not having their father with us.
The other thing kept me going was, I was thinking he was the best gentleman when it comes other women. I believed it to heart and never doubted. I felt safe with this, so prolonged with painful life with him. But 2 years back it got shattered. I got proof for myself that he see hookers. I’m not sure I know how many he visited. When confronted, instead of feeling guilty he started abusing me, telling I have betrayed him, which I can’t even think of in my dreams.
As usual to keep the kids safe I adjusted informing him not to repeat, but no it’s not ending. He keeps telling lies and goes out once in a while for about an hour or so and does not let me know where he went. I am thinking I can’t keep it for any more. Does any one have any suggestion please?
Hello, thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know that there are more people who have gone through this and it’s not just me. Is there anywhere I can chat with people who’ve been through these things? Like a group or something that would be very helpful. Thank you!
Hi, 37 years of marriage and he threw it away for 30 min with a man. It wasn’t even about relationship – he didn’t fall in love with someone else. He met with men on my birthday, and on the day we were to celebrate my birthday with my daughter’s family and then he took me on a birthday date with all his disgusting text messages on his phone. He accidentally left his phone behind and when he was calling to find it, I found it and all his messages.
His mom had died a few months earlier (which he didn’t deal with) and one of our customers offered to “comfort” him and from there he was signed into a chat room supposedly to chat with this guy safely but it opened up all kinds of things to him – (he is pretty naive when it comes to these online chat rooms). He says he doesn’t know why, he says he isn’t gay; he says he loves me…but he spent most of our marriage distant, lying, selfish and yet everyone thinks he is such a great, godly man.
I knew he was living a lie even in how he treated me. I would find him lying and forgive him, then he would lie again. He even missed an award ceremony for me because he believed working was more important – he left me alone after a serious accident, because work was more important – and he never felt guilt for anything he did or said.
Now he feels guilt and all I feel is pain. My dad was a pastor who left us for a woman in the church. And now, after 37 years (at the time, as it is now 2 years) I find myself devastated. He is repentant and is seeing a Christian psychologist who believes he has some personality disorder issues (which I believe) and that he was not only in a midlife crisis but also in clinical depression when all of this happened. However, I still struggle; I see someone who made choices. And this isn’t something we can share with anyone in our family. I do talk to a few friends.
I would have left if I was still working, but I am retired and now I can’t afford to leave so part of my struggle is having to share space with someone I will never trust, believe or respect again. There is a good site called “affair recovery” which is led by people who have been through this, both the betrayer and the betrayed. It is a Godly based website. They offer lots of good information as well as you can register for courses etc (I haven’t). I find comfort in knowing that what I feel or think or am experiencing is pretty normal, so maybe that site will be of help to you.
I’ve been to hell and back with my past marriage. For some reason, after almost 7 years…I’m so sad and angry. I do have an amazing man in my life who is absolutely amazing and we are very much in love but I just have the deepest sadness in my heart. I was married at 21 and was married for 34 years. I did everything for him, his career, which is now amazing, took care of his family with Huntington’s Disease. I basically took care of 4 people’s daily needs for 15 plus years to take the stress off of my husband so that he could concentrate on his work.
He consistently cheated on me while traveling and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on other much younger women. Now he is in another relationship with a women 22 years younger. I don’t really understand why my heart is still so broke. I feel that he stole our “retirement years” and all of the things we worked for away.
I have two grown daughters and one grandson whom I enjoy. I feel so sad because I was so hopeful for the type of marriage my mother and father had for 61 years…full of love, support, and mostly calm and respectful togetherness. I had great mentors and patterned my life to be the same with my spouse. I found that he had a completely other life filled with escorts, strippers, prostitutes, gambling, gifting to other women etc. I am trying really hard but in the last month have been really struggling.
Yes…I need help but not from a therapist! From men and women who feel the same level of betrayal that I do. I don’t know if my emotions are “over the line” or not.
My husband cheated with a younger woman who has no teeth, been in trouble with the law with drugs been in jail, and even lost her kids. So, after finding out after two months I was devastated. I went through every emotion possible. Then after six months i found him with her again. Though it never ended so I feel I should get a divorce, though he cried and promised it was done and wanted to go to therapy and made other promises to keep me from going through a divorce. I still struggle every day.
I don’t have any trust in him and he doesn’t make it easy. I feel he holding on because we have a grandson we adapted and he doesn’t want to leave the house. It will be a battle when we do go through it. I’m so confused. He tells me to let it go and lets just be us. I feel there is no us anymore. He started his own business and works a lot. He expects me to run errands for him and I don’t mind; I do laundry, dishes, house cleaning, and work and take care of the grandson. He used to be a big part of raising him and now he isn’t. I realize we were having issues before the affair, but to cheat makes it so much worse. I’m just not sure if I can stay in a marriage where I don’t get much in return. He gets mad if I ask where he’s going, or call to check on him. We are going through counseling.
In January of 2020, I noticed there was something different about my wife. She was always on her phone. I suspected something. I could not sleep, concentrate at work, and barely ate for about 3 months. Then in March 2020, I found some texts. My wife had an emotional affair. First, I was in shock. I could not believe some of the text I read. Then it was all the denial and somehow being my fault for not being caring. She would say: “We are just friends; it was just silly, it was just flirting, I felt flattered.”
The hardest part was that she did not want to “let go” of the “friendship.” I started taking meds for “major depressive episode.” I was very hurt for the betrayal of trust and for her lack of concern for my mental health and overall well-being. She witnessed me falling apart and literally losing my mind while she was texting with him and could not stop. I forced her to cut all ties with him. I know now that I should not have. I should have let her decide what she wanted, his friend or me.
She says and promises that she never intended or wants our marriage to end. She is trying really hard to fix things. However, she will not talk about it nor would she admit that it was an affair. Somehow I had the wrong narrative. It has been 18 months and not a day goes by that I do not think of those messages. I am in pain and now even anxiety. The recurring thoughts are non-stop. Everyday I fantasize about leaving her. I really do not want a divorce but I want to stop feeling this way. I really WANT to move on, forgive, and heal. Regardless if our marriage survives, I do NOT want to be sad anymore. I want to enjoy my kids and live once again.
Currently, I am ready to walk away if she contacts him and she is very aware of it. I made mistakes when I found out but I did not know any better. I was lost and broken. I am trying to forgive myself for that, I am giving it my all to forgive and fix our relationship, but if she does it again, I will leave in peace.
I was with a girlfriend for four years and was making plans to propose to her. Then one day, she said she wanted to take a break to figure things out. That was about four years ago. She got married about two years after her “break” to a coworker who I later found out through the help of a pro tech guy that she had been cheating on me with the whole time we were together. I was devastated at the time, but now I think it was all for the best. Also, it’s a small world, because her husband is cheating on her with someone I know.