Life after the affair
You likely aren’t quite sure how you ended up at this particular point in your life, coping with the ultimate betrayal from the man you most love in the world. Yet here you are. For many women with cheating husbands, life after the affair can be incredibly painful yet at the same time can also be a real awakening of sorts. You are, in a very real way, seeing the man you married in a new and different light, and you likely are seeing your relationship completely differently, too.
Help needed after the affair
If you are anything like me, after the affair you realize you absolutely need critical relationship help now. You’re tormented by mental images-sometimes before you even discover any sort of specifics from your cheating husband.
Your marriage doesn’t stand a chance for making it through the cheating until you come to terms with a really essential decision: are you going to deal with the affair details and just how the heck are you going to do this?
You and your husband, with some hard work, can pull through this. But your combined efforts may not go anywhere if you don’t agree to talk about the hurtful specifics, as well as exactly how to deal with all of them in the event that you do. Counter to many typical assumptions, for many of us the best path may be not to talk about all the dirty details of the affair-you may come out in a better place if you don’t go there. For some women though, it might be essential to get some of the specific, painful details from your cheating husband before you can move ahead. It is important to remember, there is life after the affair!
In this article, I’ll present you with three take action steps, ways which will help you make this specific and crucial decision: how to deal with the after the affair details.
Openness: Should It Involve Affair Specifics?
Yes, openness is essential for a healthy marriage. But when a marriage is strained to the breaking point, you may need to be really careful. Getting through the first few days and weeks is no walk in the park. After the affair, you need to conserve your strength and keep a clear head. There may be a lot of heated discussions, raw feelings, and tears for sure.
Whether you have been broadsided by the revelation of a spouse’s affair or even you are the particular one who cheated, there are a lot of feelings and emotions which need to be faced and coped with. In addition you will need to master techniques that can save your marriage – techniques like openness.
However, being open does not automatically imply that all specifics of the affair need to be discussed for you to survive infidelity.
In some situations, figuring out the specifics may result in a lot more damage than good. For instance, if your spouse’s affair was long-term and went much deeper than a one-night situation, there would certainly be a great deal of specifics. This might end up being too much to handle, and give rise to images which may not only stay with you for weeks and months, but may torture you and need the help of a good therapist to help you overcome. It is important that you do not turn away from help after the affair, however hard it is to tell people what has happened.
This is why I feel it’s essential to understand the right actions to take right now. I wish I had the clarity I have now when I was going through this (and I got this clarity not by working on myself, but by helping other women get through what you may be going through). The way you handle this can very easily affect how long it will take you to get through this, and in some cases, if you ever will completely recover.
After the Affair Three Action Steps
Here are three clear action steps you can take right now.
Step 1: Decide on how you are going to deal with the specifics
You are the one who needs to decide how much of the specifics you get from your cheating husband. The cheater might think it will help you if he gets it all out, in fact it may be helping him more than you. And sister, you come first right now. You need to know how much you want to know or can handle knowing. This is critical.
You are the one he hurt. If you want to save this marriage, you need to decide if you feel knowing the details will help you or break you in getting through this awful, painful time.
Most women I help tell me they have a short list of basic items they need to be answered. We all have a sixth sense about relationships and let’s face it–guys are just clueless. We might have felt that things just weren’t right and he may have brushed you off.
You need to know that yes, you were right. You need to re-connect with your true self. Don’t let his lies, his brushing you off, cut you off again from your true self.
Step 2: Write down your short list of questions
Write down your list of questions. I recommend this be a short list, don’t go on and on, that can wait. Read this list over a few times until you feel you have it right. You know you have it right when you do.
Think about this list for a few days. But a warning here: don’t obsess about it.
Ask yourself if what you are asking about is truly helpful and necessary for you to move through this to a better place.
Keep in mind the obvious–once you ask for and get the details you truly need now, you can’t undo this. So please make sure you give it a few days–read the list a few times and decide if the answers will lead to unbearable images in your mind, or if the answers are what you need now to get to a healing place. You have to remember, that now, after the affair is over is when you have to be in control.
Step 3 : Set clear guidelines with your husband before you talk
If you know you can’t move forward without getting some specific answers, and you are sure you can handle this, I suggest you set clear guidelines before you talk with your husband and ask him the questions on your short list.
You may want to launch a surprise attack on your husband (after all, what did he just do to you?) launching question after question at him.
I would hold off. These kinds of conversations can get ugly fast.
I would suggest you give the cheater a heads up that you want to sit down for some Q and A.
You set the guidelines. You might say “I only want you to answer the questions, no excuses and no elaborations.”
If you feel it might be helpful to you, you might consider making a comment below–you can make up a first name and you don’t have to enter your email to do this.
I would be very interested to know if this three step plan helped you, and to know about your experiences in handling affair specifics. If you chose to ask about the details, did it help? Or do you regret asking?
What advice would you give others?
OK. This is my quick version of what to do after the affair and how to deal with getting information from a cheating husband. But it should at least give you a starting point.
Wishing you well on your healing journey.
PS. Because getting helpful advice during difficult times is always a good idea, you may go looking for advice online in order to begin your healing journey. There are quite a few online resources for you to consider. One of my goals with this blog is to review the truly helpful ones, both as a personal resource for my ongoing healing, but also for those women I work with who are confused, hurt, and struggling. I hope the resources I have chosen to review on this site help you find the confidence you need to move on with your life after the affair, guided by the resiliency and inner strength which are your birthright as a woman. This is one I particularly recommend: How to Emotionally Survive Marital Crisis Free Report