I often question myself when I think of where I am in the healing process from my husbands infidelity. Some people may think I’m a little too quick to forgive, or too happy for my current situation. I don’t think I’ve fully forgiven H for what he has done, but I am well on my way to forgiveness. It’s hard to give you a step by step process of how I’ve gotten to this point, but I think I can try to give you the mindset I carry with me that has led me to this point.
First of all I want you to know that in the very beginning I was a complete crazy person. I think I probably should have been committed to a psych ward. I.was.mental. H was on a business trip when I found out (on the first night he was gone), so for 2 weeks I would text, call and I’d use our iPhone tracker to see if he was really where he said he was. I cried and yelled and apologized and he kept getting more and more distant.
What I realized in the period of time that I allowed myself to go mental is that it didn’t help. In fact it made things worse. I was trying SO hard to make H stay, that he kept pulling away from me. I wanted so badly for H to stay, but he just acted so indifferent toward me. He was a shell of a person, barely showing emotion, barely acting as if he cared. Who was this man? What had I done to deserve this?
It is when I really sat back and realized that what I was doing was harming us, that I really started to try and find a better way.
So, I acted as if it didn’t bother me. As if nothing had happened. We went about our lives like normal, with an occasional outburst of tears or anger, but a fraction of what I was doing before. H opened up a bit more, seemed a little happier and started acting like my husband again. But the problem with this stage of my healing is that it wasn’t getting us ANYWHERE. it was only a matter of time until he had a massive explosion. And boy did we ever.
The fight of ALL fights happened and lasted for several hours. We were both pushing and pulling. I would yell, he would try to fix it, then He would yell. It was such a crazy day. But after that day we decided therapy was our best option. Our only option. And it was H’s decision this time.
The decision to go to therapy was therapy in itself. It really struck a chord with both of us. It was almost like “okay, we need therapy, that means this is really bad” and it scared both of us. We began to listen to eachother more, and respect eachothers feelings more. We immediately stopped fighting. Not because we weren’t addressing our issues, but because we were both LISTENING to eachothers issues and feelings. And for the first time it was like we really understood eachother. We both started having empathy for one another, and it made us hurt for the other person.
When we began therapy, our therapist decided to do single therapy first. He found that both of us had our own demons that we needed to face before we could come together and work on us as a couple. We are currently still in therapy, but I can’t even explain how much it has helped us. I am going through not only anxiety therapy, but also communication and impulse control therapy. I’ll give a small description of each type of therapy.
As for anxiety therapy, my therapist has given me tools to get my mind from taking situations and spiraling them in my head into something they don’t have to be. such as the affair. In my mind thinking about the affair led to immanent divorce and I’d feel so depressed. Now, if I think of the affair I have trained myself to either find something else to think about, or to think about the positive that may come from it. This is huge for me! Anything scary or uncertain would ALWAYS lead to a spiraling out of control, life altering horrible situation in my head, but it no longer happens because I’ve trained my brain not to allow it to happen. I live such a happier life because of these tools.
Communication therapy allowed me to understand what I was truly trying to get out of a talk or argument. I am now more aware of the questions I ask and how I should ask them. This is going back to the “question” and “question statement”. It’s seriously changed our conversations from hostile to calm and understanding.
Lastly is impulse control. This isn’t actually about myself having a problem from not doing something, like drinking or starting a fight. It’s more about the impulse to dwell on certain thoughts about the affair in my mind. It’s given me the ability to really understand what causes the thoughts, the feelings that it causes me and how I react to them.
I feel like I am 100% in control of my thoughts at least 90% of the time. There are, of course, times where I revert to my old ways and spiral out of control. But it happens very little.
I’m not sure the type of therapy H is going through(our therapist doesn’t want us talking to eachother about it), but I believe one of the things he is working on is anger management. When his parents split his anger, which was already a problem… he wasn’t called “the fuse” in his family for nothing…. became so much worse. Little things set him off. I knew it and it didn’t really get to me much, or at lease i didn’t think it did. I mean, I’d accidentally bump into him and sometimes he’d be like “what the hell?”… he made me overly aware of all my flaws in that way. I was always making sure I didn’t do the wrong things in front of him. But now he is much more even tempered. I feel so much more at ease with him, and feel free to make mistakes and not hate myself for them. Part of me also feels he is going through communication therapy, as he is becoming a much better listener and communicator.
I also know that since starting therapy sex has gone from a sore subject to a very enjoyable thing for us. We very much enjoy eachother intimately again, which is a huge step for H. Sex caused him stress and it no longer seems to. And he initiates!
This is seriously a huge ramble, as usual, but all of the things we have gone through together has led us to where we are now. Yes, we have gone through a lot of the crappy stuff, but when we decided together that we wanted to be together and be stronger as a couple, things started falling into place for us. Sure, we have our moments where things get hard, but we are so much happier. We are connecting like we just met, learning everything about eachother again. We are closer to forgiveness every single day.
I think that’s what it comes down to. If you can decide to get to know your SO again as if you just met, if you can still love them for all the ways they have changed and all the ways they have stayed the same and if you can figure out how to change to make things work better for eachother, I think you have a chance to come out of infidelity stronger, happier, healthier and more in love.
But what do I know?