Take Your Anger and Shame and Burn It! 5 Practical Ways to Build Yourself Back Up After Infidelity

anger and shame

By ‘TryingToGetOver’ 

So much is out of our control when our spouse betrays us. We can’t magically make our marriage whole again, nor regain our former trust. Our self-confidence might take a nosedive. But we can control some things in our lives, and regain our health in the process.

Most elementally, we have control of what we eat and drink and how we move. So while you are falling apart in a sense, there are practical ways you can build yourself back up.

Call it loving yourself. Call it building your revenge bod. It’s a chance for positivity amid the heartache, even if you only do any one of these things.

Stop emotionally eating. I hit a weight high during my husband’s affair. I didn’t even know what was going on exactly but I felt, like so many of us do, that I was being “done wrong.” I couldn’t name what was off but he was often working or “working” and I could eat ice cream and so… Once D-day came, though, and I knew the reason I felt so empty inside, I no longer needed to fill up on food to soothe myself. Food wasn’t going to mend my heart.

Tapering down took some help. I used a food journal and also joined friends on something called the Whole Life Challenge. Weight Watchers would have worked too. The point is, I was accountable first to myself with the journal and then to others with the challenge and that got me eating better. And the better you eat, the better you feel – a “duh” that is easy to forget when emotionally overwhelmed.

I should add that it’s not like I eat like a saint. I just swapped in some healthier things and stopped trying to feed my sadness with snacks. It feels good to be in control of that one aspect of my life. Finally, my husband, in his effort to fully rejoin the family, took over making most dinners, and he is an excellent and healthy cook. It’s been one of the best improvements in our recovery life!

Ride the grief appetite loss. On the flip side, post D-day you may not want to eat a thing. I know some sufferers on these boards who’ve had periods of vomiting. I had an intense grief period when I felt like I could not swallow. In the week that he broke up with his AP and the two weeks that followed I skipped meals. I dropped 7 pounds and it was not the healthy kind of weight loss.

Since I was overweight, though, going into the devastation cycle, I decided to accept the weight loss as some kind of a kick-start to the food changes I mention above. Some bad habits broke: By not eating dessert in the evening for a month straight, I no longer thought about it or wanted it. Grief and loss would not be my preferred spur to a healthier me but in this case, it worked out.

 

Affair Recovery and the 7 Stages of Grief After an Affair

 

Move.  I had returned to the gym before D-day but once all the hurt was coming out, I hit it harder. I was too out of shape to run much on the treadmill but it was one of the few activities that let me pound out my anger. Lifting weights was great for that too. It sounds weird but watching myself in the mirror, lifting a barbell, lifted my spirits.

And yoga! The gentle exercise was my favorite. Sometimes I would cry a little during a class if the teacher got particularly spiritual but that felt good too.

Finally, I dove into Pilates for a bit, just to try something new. I can’t sing the praises of changing things up enough – when your world has been rocked, challenge yourself with something small just to prove to yourself that you are not helpless.

Here is the thing about starting to move more: It all builds. Regaining flexibility with yoga made running easier which took off a few pounds and made Pilates easier, and having a stronger core made lifting weights easier. I was shocked that after six months I could run three miles on the treadmill and actually feel good doing it!

Slow down on booze. My husband and I continued to drink for two months after he ended his affair, but it became clear that alcohol, while not causing our problems, certainly wasn’t helping. He acted differently when drunk and sometimes could not even remember what he said to me or to others.

He was diving into meditation and a spiritual practice and that got him inspired to slow down. I was noticing that because alcohol is a depressant (another “duh”) I tended to feel even lower when I drank.

The final kick in the pants came when our good friend went to rehab for alcohol. My husband and I were in the rotation caring for her kids, pets and house. By the time she returned, my husband was off of drinking altogether and is much better for if, in every single way. I still have wine or margaritas with friends, but I am happy to not keep alcohol at home.

Plus, we estimate going dry at home has saved us a couple hundred bucks a month! That’s made us happier too.

Help someone else.  It is easy to think that your life is the worst life when the affair comes to light. I let myself feel so, so sorry for me, and I think that was healthy to a point. I had been terribly mistreated and wounded by the one person I had trusted with my heart.

But each and every person in this world suffers in their own way. Our friend going to rehab was facing down catastrophe. She was in danger of losing her kids, her job, her health. Helping her let us put out own issues in perspective. (As did attending some AA meetings with her – I highly recommend hearing other people’s stories of overcoming adversity!)

My final “duh” realization: Doing good works often heals the person giving just as much as it aids the person receiving. Helping another soul feeds your own sense of purpose and self-worth and gets you out of your own head.

I am now 13 months past the end of my husband’s 2-year affair. I am 20 pounds physically lighter, but also emotionally lighter and stronger than I was a year ago. I look better too, and it’s easy to get clothes that fit.

As is said so many times on these boards (and repeating what I said above), this is NOT how I would have chosen to become a healthier human. And I don’t feel “healed,” I still have hard days. But sometimes we can take a lemon and make some lemonade (and drink it up and enjoy it).

Being betrayed really shows you that the only person looking out for you is, well, you. I hope many of you emerge with some new strength as well.

Thanks so much to ‘TryingToGetOver’ for sharing her experiences with us – again.  We love to share articles from our readers.  So if you’d  like to submit an article for us to possibly post on the blog, feel free to contact us about your ideas.
 
 
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19 Responses to Take Your Anger and Shame and Burn It! 5 Practical Ways to Build Yourself Back Up After Infidelity

  1. Better days January 8, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

    I’m almost 6 months since discovery, my biggest issues were lack of appetite for about the first 6 weeks (dropped nearly 20 lbs) and lack of sleep which is still an issue about half the nights. I think my appetite came back when the shock phase wore off. I would snack on a protein bar all day to ensure nutrients. Going to the gym was very hard because I would almost pass out from lack of energy. Sleep has always been my issue but now these thoughts are sure to fill into that space.

  2. Tryingtogetover January 9, 2019 at 8:18 am #

    So sorry you are having those troubles! A lack of sleep really drags you, I wish you luck solving it. I think I was lucky that I basically collapsed exhausted all those early nights. Then I would wake up early, haunted by thoughts, and by breakfast I would have a LOT to say or ask my husband. It was like it built up every night because the mind gets so busy in the quiet. Right?

  3. Better days January 9, 2019 at 12:22 pm #

    Thank you. Even on the best of days, 7 hours is about all the sleep I’m capable of. 5-6 is more typical which leaves an hour or 2 laying awake in bed. It’s just, I sure would rather be thinking of something other than the woman laying next to me being with another man, for a year, right in front of me. I would pay thousands to go back and raise an eyebrow and do some digging with some of the signs I brushed off.

    And it’s not really her being with him so much any more that is taking so much space in my head, it’s her not admitting to some things that I am 95% certain are true. And it’s really just a few crappy little relatively small details. We’re at a point where she “can’t admit now” that she has been lying and she thinks I’d flip my shit (probably true) about why she continued to hold onto lies about these few things I’ve already accepted as true.

    I’m torn because I don’t know how to let it go and I don’t want to get back to the days of going round and round getting her to admit to things I know. That was the worst time.

    • Shifting Impressions January 9, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

      Better days
      Lack of sleep was something I battled with as well after d-day. I felt far to vulnerable sleeping next to my husband of forty years. Simply put….my safe place was gone. My trust was shattered.

      When I couldn’t sleep I would often come here…to this site. I would feel comfort in being understood. Reading other people’s stories made me feel not quite so alone.

      In my experience “letting go” and getting through the pain of being betrayed is a long process full of ups and downs. Taking care of oneself during this time is really good advice., but in all honesty the first six months or more, was just about survival.

      Something else that I found helpful was to educate myself about infidelity….I read and read. And as is often the case my husband refused to read or go to counseling.

      It has been five years since d-day and we are still together and still making headway. But it was often one step forward and two steps back.

      Do you have someone to talk to that supports you? Or perhaps you have a counselor. Take care of you.

    • Dave January 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm #

      So she has not admitted it yet?
      That stage is the worst.
      I am still torn about what to do after 18 months.
      At that time I was weak and wanted her to stay after playing recordings of her talking to the guy in her car. She was asking him if she should admit it to me.

  4. Better days January 9, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

    Yeah, maybe I’m trying to rush the letting it go. I don’t know. We tried the counseling thing and got a bad one. Kind of over that route unless things turn further sideways. The counselor advertised as specializing in infidelity but it was terrible. Halfway into the second session she was done with that part and wanting to provide general marriage counseling. She rushed it so bad and was so one sided that she was putting words into my wife’s mouth about the affair. Of course my wife was like, “um yeah, what she said.” Completely contradictory to what was actually going on and what she already admitted to me . Maybe the counselor was so used to providing help to couples in the opposite direction, she had no clue how to do it and wanted to start talking about love languages. I was done.

    All of my friends are our friends and I don’t really want to talk to them unless things get really bad. It’d likely make it full circle within a matter of a couple days. I’m sure some of our friends that are also her work friends know or suspect and I have to deal with that.

  5. Shifting Impressions January 9, 2019 at 7:33 pm #

    Better days
    That’s terrible and sounds like a really incompetent counselor. I went for counseling for myself…I needed to let all of the anger, rage and pain out. And trust me that can’t be covered in one or two sessions. It was helpful in that the counselor validated my feelings and my perspective of what happened.

    My friends are also our friends but my husband said I should talk to who I ever I needed to talk to. My friends were simply amazing. They literally carried me through. My adult children…especially two of the four exceeded all expectations.

    When our partners betray us there simply is no easy or quick way through. We found it helpful to set aside an hour once a week to talk about the affair…feelings or questions etc. I think it’s fairly common for the CS to not want to talk about it…they just “want to move on”. But that doesn’t work very well for the BS.

    There is a wealth of information on this site. I hope we can all be of help to you. And by the way if someone would have wanted to talk “love languages” that early on in the process, I would have been done as well!!

  6. Tryingtogetover January 10, 2019 at 9:01 am #

    I understand that the cheaters just want everything to be over and done and swept under the rug but they don’t get to call those shots. Sorry, Better Days, that your counselor was SO bad! Like you I am reluctant to confide in mutual friends because I find the idea of being the center of gossip so humiliating, but honestly it will probably all get found out eventually. I think the cheaters are in deep denial that the reverberations of their betrayal will be ricocheting around for years if not decades.
    About six months in I was still full of quesrions and went hunting for email “proof” of the affair and found it, so even though we were six months into counseling and my husband had confessed to most things my feelings were still raw and confrontations were still intense. It’s terrible how long it goes on but I agree with Shifting Impressions that it can’t be rushed. It is a slow and painful process of denials and then (if you are lucky) revelations and then figuring out what to do with all the mess.

  7. TryingHard January 10, 2019 at 10:10 am #

    Better Days
    I get needing to know. I’m still haunted by what i don’t know. When OW was still alive i always felt as tho there were another shoe hanging over my head ready to drop. Was sure she would contact me just to stir it up. Never happened.

    I found the best way to deal is to accept what you know. I’ve had red flags that implicated i knew the truth and of course he would deny. But there was evidence to the contrary. I learned to accept. Radical acceptance of who he is and radical acceptance that i continue to choose to have this very flawed person in my life.

    I could kick him to the curb tomorrow but what do i gain? Doesn’t change what happened or the hell i lived thru. I think sometimes we look for too much detail. In the backs of our minds we think if we know everything it might change the outcome or worse we can justify it

    Be grateful you had the luck of a trial where she was compelled to tell the truth. And that is what you are accepting. She is a person who will not own up to her faults unless she’s legally compelled to. I know that’s a scary thought for you. It is for me too. Look cheaters have a code ingrained for millennium deny, admit to only what is known, offer nothing new. Sad but true. There’s prisons full of guilty people who still deny. Maybe it’s human nature.

    For your sake and peace of mind you have to work to get past this point. Lol. I like the meme, you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free but first it will.piss.you.off!! Yep these truths piss people off. Still does for me. But i work to round myself up and remember i know all i need to know. I have my perceptions and my realities and no denial or validations from him are going to change that.

    Take care of you. Find stuff that fulfills YOU and stop focusing so much on her. This experience will serve you well. You will take this education about human nature and apply to many other relationships. I’m afraid our cheating partners, although many of us go forward and make good lives, have damaged so much of the relationship it cannot be repaired. We betrayed become damaged but doesnt mean we can’t work past that damaged part and have a fulfilling relationship.

    You must heal you first before you can heal your marriage. Maybe acceptance can be your New Years word of encouragement? Good luck friend 😊

  8. Better days January 10, 2019 at 2:53 pm #

    Thanks all,

    With exception of a few small snags, at least that I know about, she has been very good about encouraging me to talk about anything and as often as I want. I’m just a bit hesitant because I feel like I can get past issues without rehashing. Until I can’t, then we have our talks. The talks have been about once every 2-3 weeks lately. She honestly has admitted to enough that the details I’m stuck on are just the fact that she won’t come completely clean. I’ve been thinking that the best outlook is to probably accept that I will never know everything or nor would I probably even want to and just work on letting go. I’m sure if I knew every physical detail or likely even worse, what was said between them, I’d probably be on bail with assault charges. Thanks again.

  9. TryingHard January 10, 2019 at 4:58 pm #

    Better Day— I’m happy she’s been forthright with you. And no it’s NOT worth going to jail. No one is. 😊

    Have you read anything about ethical amnesia? It’s a very interesting phenomena. The premise is when people do really crappy things they can’t stand feeling crappy about themselves and they make a concerted effort to “forget”. They remember the circumstance but not the details. If you’re asking details about convos between them forget about it. She most probably doesn’t remember or she knows she was lying to him or lying about you to make herself more appealing to him and justify the relationship. It’s def effed up.

    Affairs are full of fabrication, delusion, fantasy all LIES. So to what avail are those details? You’ll get where you need to be. Either with her help or without of you focus on you and your sanity and well being

  10. Tryingtogetover January 10, 2019 at 5:08 pm #

    TryingHard such wise words and so good to remember! I think you are right, they burn the painful memmories and often really can’t bring up hard details. I have pressed my husband to come straight about a few simple logistical facts and even that is like pulling teeth. Just recently he lied (again!) about two small tangential facts, but then felt so guilty he came clean 48 hours later. I am choosing to take that as a good sign. But I have given up pressing him for explanations along the line of “what were you thinking?” Because he really has no idea what he was thinking – most likely he wan’t thinking at all, just acting rashly and pretending he had a shadow life outside of moral boundaries and deluding himself and honestly both me and the AP.

    • Still here January 11, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

      Tryingtogetover, I really appreciate your comment. What you said about your husband not thinking and pretending he had a shadow life seems to describe my husband very well too. Whenever I’ve tried to press him on how he could justify his EA or what it would do to me, he claims it was in some kind of separate world and thus could not hurt anyone. And if I press him on what he thought would happen if I found out, he admits he never really even thought about that possibility. I discovered his EA relatively early in the relationship, so it didn’t have time to progress for too long, but I remain completely stunned by both his behavior and his self-delusion.

      • Doug January 11, 2019 at 2:14 pm #

        Hey guys, pardon me for jumping in here a bit as I don’t mean to hijack this thread… We did a post about 18 months ago where we presented some thoughts from some former unfaithful spouses about “What were you thinking…” It may be enlightening: https://www.emotionalaffair.org/what-were-you-thinking/

  11. Better days January 10, 2019 at 8:12 pm #

    I’ve never really pressed for their conversation details, other than to get the gist of their relationship. That was all over the board but I’m pretty sure my thoughts are close enough for me to know what was going on with them. She tries to maintain they never met outside of work, but I have too many indicators on too many different occurrences to believe this. The thing is, she has admitted to so many “activities” during work time, that is doesn’t matter really. I don’t think these are the type of details they get amnesia about.

    She really has been bending over backwards from after the first week or so onwards. I have access to everything going back through the whole time, and everytime I get into a dark place and dig a little deeper, I get a little more. I want to move forward without rehashing stuff from six months to a year and a half ago. But it’s tough.

  12. Overcoming January 11, 2019 at 9:10 am #

    Better Days- remain hopeful and positive as much as possible. Please do not give up on seeking a counselor or therapist who you are comfortable working with. Therapy for me was and has been very beneficial for me. I like you have not shared with anyone my wife’s affair. We have put in a lot of work and continue to do so. After 26 months I still have triggers, mostly from the unknown specifics. I am not sure that I want to know the unknown specifics. If there is true remorse along with behavior changes etc there is a good chance of rebuilding trust which is vital for marital bliss

  13. Overcoming January 11, 2019 at 9:21 am #

    Better Days, I like you wanted immediately to know everything. I even contacted a company who could give me a printout of all email and txt messages between them. However, I prayed a simple prayer and asked God did I need to see and read this information. My answer was no! I truly believe it would have been more damaging and hurtful to our recovery process. That said everyone is different. My suggestion is to only seek information that you believe you can process at the time. My Prayers for you and your family at this time

  14. Anon January 11, 2019 at 11:53 am #

    Focus on who your Wife is now.

    Has she changed? Is she truly remorseful?

    If so, then you have a good chance of reconciling and being very happy.

  15. Soul Mate January 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm #

    Nice Blog TryingtoGetOver,

    I was one of those who vomited and had awful diarrhea. At least twice a day for 2 weeks straight. My DDAY was Oct 5 2017 and the last time I tossed my cookies was the weekend after Thanksgiving 2017.

    I couldn’t eat for the first 2 months and lost 15 pounds. I couldn’t get my belly to stop shaking. I had chest pains and high blood pressure. It was an agony I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Well, maybe that parasite I would.

    But then I slowly started to recover from that phase and yes I built a revenge body. I have a small gym in my rec room and worked out 3 nights a week lifting, planks and elliptical. Got back on my Keto diet. Bowling on the weekends.

    Throughout my life I’ve always been in shape, worked out and ate healthy, however in Nov 2015 I broke my leg and it took 5 months to heal and I gained about 60 pounds which was the heaviest I had been in my life. At this time my H AE was just beginning to bud. They were co-workers as you know and were calling each other outside of work at that time.

    It stinks to know that at my lowest time in my life, my H chose to betray me when I needed him most. Although he never came home late, was always attentive and helped my through my healing, for some reason I too could feel that something was off. Oh how embarrassing when I think he toweled my down after showers and other things I won’t mention. He was not himself around the family and was always leaving the room for whatever reason. He started to do many chores around the house that he never ever did in our 27 years of marriage. And was constantly taking out the dogs when they didn’t need to go.

    Now I’m back into my size 8’s and a lot of my size 6’s and loving it!

    As you probably can tell from my previous posts when I am hurt and or traumatized, I become a very angry and enraged human being. Working out helped me tremendously to alleviate a lot of my symptoms and allowed me to focus on myself. And it also keeps my H on his toes as I am getting many compliments from male co-workers and his friends and I don’t hesitate to tell him about it. And his friends don’t hesitate to make compliments right in front of him.

    Oh! And also, hitting a heavy bag is the greatest! If you have a picture of the parasite, hang it just above the bag and GO FOR IT!!!! 🙂 It really feels Good! Better than Yoga!

    Peace!

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