BEFORE YOU START
 

BETRAYED PARTNER PREVIEW

Your path ahead often feels impossible. A few of the many challenges include:

  • the raw trauma of betrayal,

  • unending intrusive thoughts as you review the details of your partner's actions and the lies and deceit that went along with those actions,

  • rage that explodes seemingly out of nowhere,

  • fear that the betrayal is continuing,

  • shame at what others may think,

  • exhaustion from all that you have gone through,

  • and the tremendous loss of all you have built in your past plus your dreams for the future.

While your spouse may be able to assist you in healing from some of these challenges, much of the work falls on you, the one who is wounded.

THE GRIEVING PROCESS

In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the 5 Stages of Grief in her work with people with a terminal illness or who experienced a catastrophic loss. See more on our separate page on grieving.

 

Somehow, with all of these challenges, you will learn to grieve losses. This will become a little easier when you learn to grieve together and, miraculously, these time will start to feel a little like BONDING moments instead of moments of separation. By eventually learning to grieve together, each couple will start making new meaning of what has happened. One of the goals of grieving is to come to a place of acceptance of the past; thus, freeing you to imagine a new life together.

 
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR WORK TOGETHER
 

Your therapist will support you (the Betrayed Spouse) with the the work listed below. This does NOT happen in a discrete order but rather is worked into all that we do together:

  • Be willing to heal yourself whether or not that leads to a restoration of the marriage.
     

  • Recognize the signs of shame and self-blame and learn self-compassion.
     

  • Honor the fear of not the unknown. Learn to live with the fear and not let it control your existence.
     

  • Consider what your identity was (you may be unsure) and what you may wish it to be. 
     

  • Review your life and marriage history. What was true? What was a lie? What was valuable? What should be discarded?
     

  • Learn how to make meaning of what happened. This is a process that you learn, not an answer that you arrive at.
     

  • Make peace with your emotions so that emotional flooding becomes less painful and overwhelming.
     

  • Practice how to be safe (and real) for your spouse and the important people in your life.
     

  • Understand how trust works and decide how you will navigate trust-building.
     

  • Learn to be wise about who you can be vulnerable with.
     

  • Understand appropriate boundaries and how to set them in a kind and firm way.
     

  • Loosen your need for control and practice patience on a daily basis.
     

  • Look for good in others even when all you can see is danger and bad intent.
     

  • Try not to purposefully make things worse.​​

HEALING VERSUS JUSTICE
 

Life is unfair. Let's just recognize that up front. Injustice happens all the time. Wisdom and growth comes from accepting that truth and still living the best life possible. 

Let's consider an analogy. Infidelity is like a bomb that was sitting inside your marriage. It may have been there for months or even years. You discovered it all of a sudden as it exploded and blew up your marriage. But you didn't put it there. You didn't pull the pin! It's not your fault that bomb blew up! Why should you have to do all the healing work?

Now imagine that you were wounded by a real bomb and needed intense therapy to recover and restore your physical body. Of course you would be desperate to be rushed to the hospital and begin your healing process. You would welcome the doctors to get started as soon as possible.

In the same way, by entering into an Affair Recovery process, you are ultimately helping yourself, just doing so emotionally. By entering into our process, even one that involves your unfaithful partner who "pulled the pin", you are healing yourself. This may or may not lead to reconciliation, but your healing is needed regardless of the outcome of the marriage.

LETTING GO OF JUSTICE
 

Still, a common objection that we hear is:

 

"If I grieve, heal and forgive, my partner won't be punished. I want my partner suffer."

This is the hardest part to wrap your mind around but consider:

  • If you want your partner in prison, you will need to be the jailer.  In the long-term, that is a terrible job. Most people don't want "jailer" as their new identity.
     

  • The unfaithful partner usually punishes him/herself more than you ever could.
     

  • Emotional freedom arises from forgiving more than punishing.
     

  • Forgiveness is for you. You are freeing yourself from being the judge and the jailor.
     

  • Forgiveness means you have made meaning of the past and have truly felt your feelings and released them.
     

  • Forgiveness does NOT mean reconciliation. 
     

  • Reconciliation means you have a realistic plan for a new future. It means you have a process that keeps you safe and builds trust. Reconciliation requires change by your partner. Forgiveness does not. It is possible to forgive and not reconcile. 

WILL I SURVIVE THE PAIN?

You are fully locked on an emotional rollercoaster with no way off other than running away. And you're not sure that would help. And you're wondering if you will feel this way forever.
 

First, we will help you cope with the overwhelming pain with our Crisis Management process. We will be with you every step of the way. 

Second, there is a bit of good news. Research shows that most betrayed partners feel recovered from an affair in two years. That is still a long time, but it is not forever. Realizing this can be helpful in the healing process. 

SUMMARY AND FINAL ENCOURAGEMENT
 

Be patient with yourself. Healing takes time, but know that you will move past the pain. Work on forgiveness for the affair, whether you stay with your partner or not. Forgiveness promotes the healing YOU need and desire. Believe and know that, if you stick to the process, eventually you will be in a better place.