Some useful tips for surviving the holidays after an affair.
By Sarah P.
Let’s admit it. Getting through the holidays is very stressful, even if you have a happy-go-lucky family. But, if you are still working through the pain of your spouses infidelity, there are some tips, which can be useful for surviving the holidays after an affair.
12 Tips for Surviving the Holidays After an Affair
- Taking care of your physical health, your mental health, and putting yourself first is absolutely essential.
- Think about having a potluck meal so that you do not get overloaded by the stress of cooking.
- Schedule times to talk about the affair with your spouse.
- Make an agreement not to talk about the affair or fight about the affair, during holiday gatherings. If you need to let off some steam, cordially excuse yourself from an event and take a short walk. This will help you clear your mind.
- Note that you are not obligated to attend every holiday event to which you are invited. Put yourself first as holiday events can be full of unknown triggers.
- Speaking of triggers, it’s truly best to anticipate them. Everyone on earth is triggered by something different. So if you can identify your triggers, and do your best to avoid them, this goes a long way towards lowering your stress level.
- If your spouse has an office party, neither of you have to go. Also, it is unacceptable for your spouse to go to an office party alone. The rules have changed.
- Take time to pamper yourself. A long bath with sea salt and essential oils is very refreshing. Get a massage. Get a manicure and a pedicure. Try out a new hair color and buy that piece of clothing just because you look great in it. Take a taste of that fine whiskey you’ve always wanted to try. (Not too much though!) Or just be a couch potato for a day if that’s what you want to do!
- Create a contingency plan, in case something goes wrong during holiday gatherings. You and your spouse need to decide how you will bow out gracefully, if you are not feeling well. Also, know that you don’t owe people detailed explanations. It’s truly not their business.
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Have I said enough?
- If you haven’t started a journal, please start one. Anytime you are feeling down, pour all of your feelings into your journal. I also recommend coloring books for adults, which contain beautiful images of animals and mandalas. Research has found that art reaches the brain in a way that nothing else can.
- Find a podcast on how to meditate and learn the art of controlled breathing, for the sake of relaxation. Types of controlled breathing can put a kibosh on the fight or flight response, if they are implemented in time.
Be extremely transparent with your cheating partner about how you feel. If the holiday season has lost meaning for you due to an affair, let your partner know. It is best to be honest with your partner. Withholding your feelings will only make things worse.
Also, give your cheating partner suggestions on how they can actually help you heal. Ask your cheating partner how you can return to a relationship, where it was just the two of you. Ask your cheating partner to take on at least half of the burden of helping you heal. Your cheater caused the mess and it’s truly their job to clean it up.
If your cheating partner does not want to help, then you really don’t have to celebrate the holidays at all. There is no rule that says you have to celebrate the holidays. Sure, it’s a tradition that almost everybody practices. But, if you are not feeling up for it, you can say no. There are plenty of opportunities to say yes in the future.
You do not have to live in a “pretend marriage” during the holidays. You do not have to sweep your partner’s behavior under the rug. You must take your mental health into account first. Otherwise you are doing yourself a disservice.
Just because older generations kept their feelings to themselves for the sake of the family, you don’t have to do that. You can be empowered and say “no” if the whole holiday vibe is not working for you. Nobody gets a gold star for martyrdom. They just get a life of martyrdom and I think that you are more valuable than that.
Finally, if you feel guilty for canceling events, there are legitimate reasons. The Covid virus is still going around and it’s very contagious. People who are vaccinated can still get the virus. If you are in a room full of people, the chances are someone in that room may be ill. You can let people know that you are practicing social distancing because you cannot afford to get ill.
Also, it is inappropriate for your cheating partner to go to any events without you. Affairs change the entire marriage. Affairs change how we interact during holidays. Affairs change everything in our lives.
You don’t have to sweep your feelings under the rug for the sake of others. That will wear you down in the long run and it’s simply not healthy.
I wish you a wonderful holiday season, whatever you decide to do. As always, take my articles with a grain of salt because you are the person who has to live your life. I am here to support whichever decisions you make.
Please feel free to drop questions and comments and I will be sure to answer them.
Photo source: voronaman