It is very easy to get discouraged after your marriage has been paralyzed by an affair. This can be true regardless of whether you are the faithful spouse or the unfaithful spouse. No matter which side you are on, you can feel that your life has changed drastically. It can feel like it will never get better. And always looking at the negative side of life can become depressing. But it can also be a challenge to see anywhere else.
For example, from the cheating spouse, you might hear something like, “I’m so down, but I know I deserve whatever happens. I cheated on my wife, just once, and I couldn’t be more sorry. I’ve repeatedly begged for her mercy, but she’s sorry.” She’s mad at me. We’ve been trying to get counseling but she’s still so mad. I can’t blame her either. I’d be mad at her if she cheated on me. But I can’t do any better and our home life is suffering. Our kids know something’s wrong. Last night I was going through my phone randomly and I was looking at pictures from six months ago My family was happy That was before anyone knew how much it was going to mess things up I don’t think we’ll ever be this happy again The counselor tells me to look for small ways to lighten the load in my home but it feels futile..There is a dark cloud over everything now.I want to be more positive because I hate feeling that way but I’m not sure how I could do it. This is all my fault.”
You may hear a similar theme from the faithful spouse, who says something like, “My spouse says he’s sorry he cheated and goes to therapy every week. But it’s like he feels someone should be able to wave a magic wand and get back to it.” unite our marriage and our home. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t. My husband always complains that he hates that the children have to live this way, because there is anger in our home now. They are not the same. I I hate him too. I wish I could smile and laugh again. But I’m so mad. I can’t help it. I trusted my husband and he betrayed me in the worst possible way.” He lied through his teeth. And now that he’s been caught, he wants to pretend that everything is fine. Our counselor and our pastor suggest that we work hard to have a more positive outlook for the future. Nobody thinks I would. I’d actually love to do this, but would everyone think I like being angry and hurt all the time? ‘t. But I don’t know how to make the feelings stop. will you be more positive after an adventure?
I agree that this is very challenging. I’m going to share a few things that helped me a bit. And to be clear, initially I was trying to be positive for myself and my children. I didn’t feel like my husband deserved my positivity at the time, although he took it back. He helped me write in a gratitude journal with five things to be thankful for each night. I started with five things, but found that if he really tried and focused, I usually came up with a lot more. I still remember common threads that I had almost every night. They were things like:
I am alive;
my children are alive;
my children and I are healthy;
I am healthy and intelligent and can start over if necessary;
my spouse and I love our children and will do whatever is necessary for their well-being;
my dogs love me;
my extended family supports me;
Both my spouse and I are still around, so we might eventually have a chance, even if we’re struggling right now;
we have a roof over our heads;
we have enough food to eat;
I have loving friends who will hold me.
I could go on and on. But at the end of the day, tracking things to be thankful for helped me see that adventure was a small portion of my life. Yeah, it made everything else feel polluted, so I had to train myself to protect other areas of my life that I didn’t want to pollute. I told my friends that adventure talk was off limits. And I finally agreed with my husband that we would try to talk about it in counseling and a couple of times a week, but other than that, he was going to try really hard not to think about it. Because I felt that if I didn’t make this conscious decision, I would spend every moment of my life thinking about adventure and I didn’t need or want that. It just made me miserable to spend so much time on it.
The truth is, whether you reflect on the adventure or not, things are going to change over time. Your perspective will change over time. Your marriage will survive or it won’t, but dwelling on it and allowing it to contaminate what’s good in your life isn’t going to change the outcome, but it can make you feel a whole lot worse about everything else, even the good. Being positive in the middle of an adventure is very hard work. It requires you to be aware of your thoughts and decisions several times a day and then redirect yourself. But it may be worth the effort because swimming in negativity 24/7 is painful and debilitating. You deserve more. And with effort, it can become a habit to redirect yourself to positive thinking.