A lot of people refer to the day you discover your spouse’s affair. Sometimes it is referred to as D-Day or Armageddon or something such as that to describe how your world gets turned upside down, and it’s so alien from what it once was. During this time it is so common to feel completely out of control. So what are some of the things that you can do to regain some sort of control in your life after the affair?
Jeff Murrah LPC, author of “How to Cope With a Cheating Spouse” recommends 5 things:
The FIRST is for people to make a conscience change in their thinking to go from assuming that the affair is a crisis to looking at it like it’s a problem. There’s something about the way that we think when we’re in crisis. We feel like we are out of control, we can’t deal with it and we’re helpless. Yet when we start looking at problems as if they are problems, our mind starts to find solutions to these problems.
No. 2. Focus on what you need to do. Many times what happens — with that sense of being out of control — is that people have lost their sense of focus. They’re either looking too far into the future or they’re looking into the past and they’re not taking care of what they need to do right now. If you’ve ever been on a boat, the one thing that sailors do is take a bearing and find out exactly where they are, then they can — once they know where they’re at and what they need to focus on — set a course to get to their destination.
No. 3. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Many times we still have this magical thinking that we want somebody or something to come along, wave a magic wand and we’ll be back in love again like Prince Charming or Sleeping Beauty. This Disney movie mindset is something that gets in the way when it comes to regaining control.
No. 4. It’s important to find a good support group. A good support group is not the people that keep you out of pain. Good support is going to be the people that are going to be by your side going through the pain. They are the people that are willing to tell you the truth. Many times when we’re hurting we automatically assume that the best people for us are those that will get us out of the pain. Those may be some of the worst supporters for us. They may just be telling you what you want to hear. Many times when your support group helps so much with the pain, you lose motivation to want to turn around and fix your marriage.
And No. 5. It’s going to be important to focus on overcoming separateness rather than reducing the pain. After the affair there’s distance in the relationship between a husband and a wife. It’s going to be important to look at what’s going to decrease that separateness as opposed to what’s going to get you out of that pain.
Many people react in a knee-jerk fashion after the affair has been discovered which can be counterproductive in the overall scheme of things. Take to heart these 5 tips that Jeff provides and they will help you regain the sense of control that is necessary to begin the healing process and save your marriage.
Jeff has offered much advice on our site, and for that we are very grateful. Both Linda and I have learned a great deal from Jeff and we highly recommend his book “How to Cope With a Cheating Spouse,” as it offers exceptional information on what to do after D-Day.