24 May Grieving Your Affair
This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s Amy Margolis, MSW.
When a couple is trying to heal from infidelity, most people sympathize and have compassion for the partner who has remained faithful. But what about the partner who is grieving the loss of the affair? I know what you’re thinking…who cares! But actually, individuals who cheat are acting out deeper issues that are unresolved in their relationship. And if your relationship is to heal you need the space to grieve the loss.
Picture yourself a 40 year old housewife. Your life consists of laundry, carpools and a husband, who doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. An affair would likely help you feel beautiful, sexy, and young again. It might offer you something of your own; a respite from feeling invisible and not valued at home. Giving that up is painful. It may leave you feeling empty and lonely… in a state of grief.
Where do you go with these feelings? In the past, when you suffered a loss you could turn to your husband, but now he is hurting. You may also be hesitant to confide in your friends and family, because you are ashamed or don’t want to tarnish the image of your “perfect” marriage.
Individual, group, and couples therapy can be amazing tools in facilitating healing. In individual, you can grieve openly, learn from your affair, and get to know the woman you want to be. Sharing in a group setting helps normalize what you have been through and frees you from shame and guilt. Finally, in couples, you and your husband would have the opportunity to talk openly about your pain, examine and break the patterns that may have contributed to you going outside your marriage. Your relationship will grow into something mature, healthy and satisfying!