Healing from infidelity involves teamwork; both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriages back on track. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out how the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Although no two people, marriages or paths to recovery are identical, it’s helpful to know that surviving infidelity typically happens in stages. If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions – shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal. Although you might be telling yourself that your marriage will never improve, it will, but not immediately. Healing from infidelity takes a long time. Just when you think things are looking up, something reminds you of the affair and you go downhill rapidly. It’s easy to feel discouraged unless you both keep in mind that intense ups and downs are the norm. Eventually, the setbacks will be fewer and far between. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W. http://www.divorcebusting.com/a_healing_from_infidelity.htm
...there was only one thing
that interested her
and that was
getting into bed
with men whenever
she’d the chance.
And I warned her straight.
‘You’ll be sorry one day, my girl,
and wish you’d got me back’.
The term ‘recovering from a broken heart’ usually means that there are still strong feelings and attachments to the person you once loved and whom you depended on. It also may tend to imply that the breakup was not the outcome you desired, leaving you feeling some form of powerlessness. There is probably some underlying message that somehow you’ve failed or that you may not have been good enough in some way. Those who have faced an ending to an important relationship with someone they loved, and perhaps still love very much, can certainly relate to an aftermath of sadness, grief, disorientation, self-doubt, and often a temporary feeling of depression and despair. It takes time for your heart to mend, which usually involves a time of thinking through and reliving all the shared experiences. It takes time to re-evaluate your choices from beginning to end, to look for clues that may not have been apparent at the time. This can mean weeks or months and even years for some, of feeling waves of emotion as your mind revisits experiences that keep getting triggered by your daily activities. One of the most difficult parts of breaking up is getting through the initial shock, sadness and loss. Even those who feel that it was their choice to end the relationship go through a period of feeling lost and confused without their former partner. After all, life has changed drastically and quickly! It’s important not to misinterpret the pain you’re feeling as a sign that you did something wrong when the relationship came to an end. Most people tend to feel that they are in more pain than the other person. It’s a natural part of the healing process to feel this and it means that you are now focused on yourself and what you need, instead of thinking in terms of the other person’s needs. Allow yourself time to engage in recognition of your pain and your loss. The deepness and dependence on the relationship is often rooted in unfulfilled needs from childhood. What seems like a brief relationship may take a year to heal, where a long-term relationship may end and be processed in a relatively short time. There are no real rules for how much time it takes, but it’s a good idea to seek help if the time seems extensive and protracted, beyond what would seem a normal time to each person, or if there seems to be no progress in the healing. From an article by Dr. Judith L. Allen http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/articles/recover-a-broken-heart/
You will lose someone you can’t live without,
and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely
get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart
that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through.
It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly;
that still hurts when the weather gets cold,
but you learn to dance with the limp.
If you’re in a codependent relationship with a controlling or needy woman, you might find that the relationship is especially restrictive. Some common traits of these relationships include:
- You have to always let her know where you are
- When you’re out, you have to speak on the phone multiple times a day
- You are discouraged from keeping female friends
- She takes an active dislike of some of your friends and/or family, and feels offended that you would have them as part of your life
- She attempts to control your internet usage, or monitors your email and other online communications (Facebook, etc.)
- She shows excessive jealousy
- She has difficulty letting petty issues go, and insists that you both talk about them at length
- She mistrusts you and casts a suspicious eye, even if you’ve done nothing wrong
- She’s often critical of your behavior
- You find yourself often “walking on eggshells” around her
- Your friends tell you that you shouldn’t put up with her, but you feel the need to stay
- You can’t speak your mind because you’re too afraid of how she’ll react
- You’ve considered breaking up for a long time, but you don’t want to break her heart
- You feel that she may not be able to live without you, or you’ve tried to break up and she threatened drastic action (quitting her job, hurting herself, etc.)
These are just a few possible indicators of a codependent relationship, and by no means is an exhaustive list. Relationships should be places of comfort and acceptance, and they should be avenues to expanding your horizons, not restricting them. Relationships should add joy to one’s life, and though they often hit rough patches, a relationship shouldn’t be a constant burden. Codependent relationships can be so stressful and restrictive that the men involved often reach a boiling point, blowing-up at their partner. It’s like a release valve, and after the pressure dissipates a bit, they fall right back into the pattern. By Michael S. Freeman http://ezinearticles.com/?Men,-Are-You-in-a-Codependent-Relationship-With-a-Needy,-Controlling,-Or-Emotionally-Volatile-Woman?&id=2220700
Women always worry
about the things
that men forget;
men always worry
about the things
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Anger is a secondary emotion, meaning that behind anger is another root emotion, such as pain, humiliation or fear. Thus, before something triggers a loss of control due to anger, you are already setting the stage for that loss of control by letting yourself feel all those other negative, primary emotions. For instance, you may feel humiliation because your wife constantly puts you down in small ways, or you may fear for your job because your boss criticizes you for not getting to work on time. Except in the case of people with certain kinds of psychiatric problems, loss of control is usually triggered by a specific event. If the build-up wasn’t present, the trigger may not actually lead to a loss of control. For instance, if your wife never puts you down but does so on one isolated occasion, or your boss never harps on you for getting to work late except on one particular day when you are supposed to prepare for a big presentation, you’re likely to ignore the trigger and remain in control. But when other primary emotions from build-up are already present, the trigger can set off a loss of control. When you’ve finally had enough, your blood pressure and heart rate rise and your body releases fight-or-flight hormones. This is when you’ve actually lost all control. You may scream, insult and even hit. People who lose control often do and say things that they later regret, but they can’t help themselves from doing and saying those things at this stage because they are not thinking clearly. That lack of clarity is a result of the loss of control. By Cynthia Gomez, http://www.ehow.com/list_6767160_three-stages-being-out-control.html#ixzz27DkNIOmb
It is wise to direct
your anger towards
problems, not people;
to focus your energies
on answers; not excuses.
William Arthur Ward
When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter. Tom Robbins
Humility is not
of yourself less.
C. S. Lewis
We don’t always fall for someone simply because their positive qualities complement our own but also because their negative traits fit ours so well. Therefore, the first thing to do when entering into a relationship (or improving one, for that matter) is to take a look at yourself and at the history of your relationships. What are the qualities that you typically look for in a partner? Are there certain negative qualities that always seem to show up and eventually drive you crazy? Do you have a pattern of choosing a person with specific traits, only to end up dissatisfied with them? Do your relationships seem to always break up for the same reasons? Once you recognize a pattern, you have something that you can work with. By figuring out how you go about ending up with the same objectionable partner in every relationship, you will know what to do to break this cycle. With each choice you make and action you take in a relationship, it’s important to have a good sense of what is operating within you that’s motivating your behavior. When it comes to love, it is advisable to not only go into it with your heart; but to go into it with your head. That way, instead of automatically selecting the same type of person for the same negative traits, you can try selecting a partner who is entirely different. For instance, if you grew up feeling invisible or ignored, you may avoid someone who shows a real interest in you. Instead, you may feel more attracted to someone who is distant or withholding of affection. You can consciously decide to be open to the possibility of being with someone who is different from the people you typically choose, for example, someone who expresses a strong attraction to you. This change will most likely cause you to feel somewhat ambivalent. However, because you have identified your pattern, you can be aware of the negative factors influencing your decision. Perhaps your disinterest in this person may be largely motivated by the very interest that he/she is showing in you. When you consciously choose to break a pattern, you can establish a better relationship with a better, albeit unfamiliar, outcome. If you hang in there, and give this out-of-the-ordinary person a chance, you can become accustomed to this out-of-the-ordinary relationship. Yours could be one of those stories of friends who fall in love or unlikely seeming couples who live happily together. From an article by Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/wrong-relationship-choices_b_830989.html
Perhaps we can recognize
our way out of patterns
rather than repeating
our way out of them.
Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
Among men, sex sometimes
results in intimacy;
among women, intimacy
sometimes results in sex.
Love Addicts compensated for lack of nurturing as children by immersing themselves in fantasy. Fantasies of being rescued or being the rescuer abound. Knights, dragons, romance novels – getting high from fantasy becomes habit. When a Love Addict plays with fantasy, they can get high in about 10 minutes, and stay there for 2-3 hours. Endorphins are released into their system, relieving emotional pain. Love Addicts begin relationships by trying too hard to please and connect. They are driven to find someone to tell them they are loveable and loved; to find someone who will rescue them from their inability to care for themselves; rescue them from their loneliness, emptiness, lack of self-love, inability to feel safe in the world without someone to protect them. They look for a relationship to make them feel whole. By Mary Ellen O’Leary, MA, LPCC http://insidetherapy.com/codaloveaddict.html
I liked it. I craved it.
I wanted more and I took it.
I took it like I needed it,
like my life had a limit
and if I didn’t get as much
of it as I could I’d quit
breathing the next instant.
Denial is one of the most difficult human conditions to deal with. The more old pain and feelings we have “stuffed”, the more difficult denial is to break through. It is important to look truthfully at our past and our parents to realize that everyone did the best they knew how. That way, we don’t get stuck in blaming. It is also important to develop skills in conflict resolution so that we can work through the conflicts that emerge from telling the truth and breaking the “happy family” illusion. With good tools and skills, these conflicts can become doorways to creating real intimacy in a family. Weinhold and Weinhold
If you cannot get rid
of the family skeleton,
you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw