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The Feelings That Follow Infidelity

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 184

I often hear from people who have just discovered (or admitted to) infidelity, cheating, or an affair. Of course, the feelings that a person experiences are going to be different depending on whether you are the faithful or the cheating spouse. I have only been on one side of this scenario (I was the faithful spouse,) but I hear from an awful lot of cheating spouses on my blog, so I feel pretty confident that I am familiar with the feelings on both sides, which I will discuss below.

What The Cheating Spouse Can Expect To Feel: Again, I have never been a spouse who has cheated, but I hear from enough of them that I have noted some definite themes. Here are some of the feelings that they often express.

Panic: Typically panic of being caught is a very common feeling. They start to wonder if they have ruined everything or if they are going to lose their family. This is often when reality will come crashing down. When people are cheating, they are often living in a sort of fantasy world. But, once the infidelity is out in the open, this comes to a quick end. Often, as a result, they will have racing thoughts that can cause them to either act foolishly or to act desperately. Sometimes, they aren't sure what or who they want but they realize that they must decide very soon.

Being Indignant Or Grappling For Justification: After the panic comes, many people will try to have some conversations with themselves in which they try to reconcile their actions. Yes, most know that they were wrong. But they do not want to feel as if they are a deplorable person. So they might search their mind for justification for their actions. They might place some blame on their marriage or on their spouse. They may tell themselves that they were in a vulnerable time in their life. Or they may present the other person or the other relationship as particularly special. The justification or rationalization phase usually doesn't last forever. It's usually just an initial attempt to help make things better, at least in the cheating person's own mind.

Guilt: No matter how much justification a person will attempt, guilt usually seeps in. After all, no matter how bad things were, cheating is a choice. And it is a choice with extremely painful consequences for those we love. So no matter how you slice it, when you cheat, you have many reasons to rightfully feel guilty for this. And most people do experience a good amount of guilt, even if they do not always let it show or express it.

Sorrow: I'm placing sorrow at the end of this list because it is sometimes the last emotion that you are going to see. Sometimes, people posture because they are trying to reduce the faithful spouse's reaction. But after all the posturing and emotions die down, most people will be sorry for their actions. Many people expect and hope for better behavior from themselves. And quite honestly, very few people intend to cheat on their spouse. Many would not have believed that they were capable of such disappointing behavior.

What The Faithful Spouse Feels: This list ia a little easier for me because I've actually felt these things in my own life. Of course, every one's experience is going to be unique to them. But here are some common things that I hear about on my blog and felt.

Disbelief: Admittedly, some women suspect the cheating long before they get confirmation of this, but not every one has this luxury. Some of us never saw this coming and it seems to hit us out of no where. We are in disbelief because we thought our marriage was happy. We thought (or hoped) that our husband had more integrity than this. We believed him when he told us he was doing innocent things when he wasn't with us. And sometimes, we have disbelief in ourselves for our own naivety.

Outrage: I don't mean to speak for anyone else, but it's very common to feel outrage and fury after the realization of the infidelity hits. This isn't your run of mill betrayal. This isn't some minor lie like him omitting the information about how much he spent on his brother's birthday. This is a major, painful, irrevocable betrayal. And it hurts so much it makes you angrier than you ever thought possible. I am a pretty even keeled person and it takes a lot to make me truly mad. But my husband knew to stay out of my way during this period of our lives.

Wanting To Seek Some Compromise Or Resolution: Eventually, even the most hot anger can't sustain itself forever. Often, there are other things to consider besides our fury. Many of us have kids, a shared history, or shared homes or responsibilities. So it can be difficult to throw that all away on just one mistake. This is the time when many of us will begin to question what happens now. While we may have wanted to throw him out yesterday, today we might wonder if there is any way to turn this around or even we even want to.

Sadness: When you begin to run out of energy as you navigate this process, you're often left with a little bit of sadness. You realize that your anger isn't helping you so you decide to let it go, but you're left with undeniable sadness that it had to come to this.

Distrust: Often, when you're trying to process infidelity, you begin to distrust every one. You wonder who else helped your husband to get away with his lies. You start to look at other women with suspicion. You start to look at male coworkers and wonder if they cheat on their wives. Thankfully, this usually doesn't last forever either.

Hopeful And Healing: In the early stages of recovery, many wives tell me that they are afraid that they are always going to feel this angry, lost, hopeless and spiteful. I often tell them that it does get better. And I don't say this because I know anything about their situation. I say it because it so often true. The human spirit is a resilient and amazing thing. You will often move on because of your own sense of self preservation. Some women move on with their husband. And others end the marriage. But most heal and some even become stronger and more resilient as the result.

I know that if you are in the beginning stages of healing, this list may be quite depressing to you.  I won't lie to you and tell you that is a quick or easy process.  But you do have more control than you might think.  The choices that you make today can have a real impact on the outcome.  And many of the lessons you learn about yourself right now will actually serve you quite well tomorrow.  My recovery was often painful but frankly, I wouldn't trade some aspects of it for anything.  If it helps, you can read the specifics on my blog at

Source: EzineArticles
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