Over the course of the last year and a half or more, we have written about many different things when it comes to helping you recover from an affair and save your marriage.
Today we’re going to change it up a bit, and suggest some things you should NOT do in your own affair recovery process – in no particular order.
Keep your anger and emotions bottled up inside. While it’s true that you need to learn how to manage your emotions and control your anger, it’s good – at least initially – to let them all out. Get angry, yell, scream, and do whatever it takes to release these emotions and feelings. Just don’t get to the point where there is any physical violence. Learn to understand what these emotions and thoughts really mean and how they affect you and your relationship.
Continue to obsess about the other person. Certainly you want to know about the other person – what he/she looks like, what kind of personality he/she has, what the other person had in common with your spouse – the list goes on and on. We can tell you from experience that this is one of the most destructive hurdles to overcome when trying to recover from an affair.
Staring at his or her picture on Facebook does nothing but make things worse. It’s natural to want (need) to know all you can about the other person, but you HAVE to let it go at some point. Don’t let the other person have all that power over you.
Don’t talk about the affair. The cheating spouse will absolutely hate to talk about the affair initially and in many cases may never want or agree to discuss it. It is imperative however, that they do. Talking about the underlying reasons for the affair, what was lacking in your relationship prior to the affair and how (or if) you are going to fix things in order to save your marriage is a necessity.
Wallow in self-pity. Yes you are devastated and feel immense pain, anger, betrayal and hurt. You feel worthless. Your self-esteem and self-confidence is shot. Doubt and uncertainty fills your mind every minute of the day. These are all natural and to be expected.
But we’re here to tell you that you have to pick yourself up. You need to work on you. Do things that you enjoy doing – with people you enjoy being with. Rebuild your self-confidence by doing little things that you know you are good at. Get in the best shape of your life. We promise that working on you will help in the long run more than you can imagine.
Not exploring your own self. At some point you must analyze yourself, your vulnerabilities, your own happiness, and what was going on with your life that made you feel bored, unhappy, etc.
Ignoring the previous problems in the marriage. Not discussing the problems in the marriage that had a negative effect on your relationship. It’s imperative that you discuss how each partner contributed to the demise of the marriage, though not blaming the betrayed spouse for the affair or justifying the affair in any way.
Devaluing the effects of the affair. For the cheating spouse, not realizing how devastating their affair was to their partner and not appropriately feeling remorseful for their actions or asking for forgiveness. Additionally, they cannot rush any aspect of the healing process or suggest that the betrayed spouse needs to “just get over it and move on.”
Not being completely honest with your spouse about the affair. The cheating spouse must not cover up details or only supply half-truths . Eventually everything will come out. Lying to your spouse or withholding relevant details only delays the rebuilding of trust.
Don’t get counseling or create other outside support systems. Recovering from an affair is something that you cannot go through alone – as an individual or alone as a couple. It’s important that you utilize a professional therapist (which we highly suggest), clergy person, mentor or friend who can be an objective third party and help you recover from an affair. Just be sure to choose wisely.
As with all lists that we put together, we’re sure that we are probably missing some other important points. Please feel free to add any that you feel are appropriate in the comment section.
For more on healing from an affair, you might want to check out Survive and Thrive after Infidelity.