Obstacles to Affair RecoveryWe recently purchased the book “First Aid for the Betrayed” by Richard Alan, and the book is somewhat unique in that it describes the pain, emotions and issues in affair recovery from a man’s perspective.

One of the sections that we found to be informative was that about the personal issues and obstacles to affair recovery.  We all struggle with certain thoughts and emotions which can create barriers to total healing. 

Alan suggests that for each issue, you should rate your “pain factor” and importance of each.  From there, you can sort out what issues are most important to you and continue to work on them by breaking them down into more manageable components, which can help to more easily free you of their pain.

Here are the author’s obstacles to affair recovery as mentioned in the book:

Suicidal thoughts, homicidal tendencies or dangerous impulses. Obviously, if you are having these types of thoughts they must be addressed at once.  These can be quite intense and can certainly lead some people to act on them.  You must seek immediate professional help from a skilled psychiatrist, therapist or suicide help-line.

Anger. We’ve discussed anger at length on this site.  You know it’s going to happen if it hasn’t already.  How you respond to the anger can determine your affair recovery outcome.  Try to gauge how much, and in what ways anger is blocking your own progress and interfering in the healing process.  In Alan’s case, he was so overtaken with anger at the discovery of his wife’s affair that he went to the OM’s house with a gun, with intentions of killing him.   Don’t let anger control you in this manner.

Depression. This is a very normal reaction to an affair.  The degree of depression that you feel after the affair is what you have to be concerned about.  If you feel so overwhelmed with depression that you cannot function normally, then professional help may be in order.

Self Esteem. Naturally, the devastation of an affair is going to hit your self esteem like a ton of bricks. I like what Alan has to say when he writes:  “…do not allow her/him to define your value based on his/her own inability to control their own urges.  It is not YOU that is defective, it is more likely THEM!”  Do not let their actions and the things they say convince you that you are not a desirable person.

Obsession. Here we are talking about the constant thoughts and images that are replayed over and over again in your own mind.  Some may be reasonable, and yet others may be imagined.  Obsession can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in your affair recovery.  Being able to control your own thoughts is a valuable skill to learn that can help you to control your obsessive thoughts.

Shock and Stress. Discovering your partner’s affair can be the most shocking episode that you will ever live through.  The stress that accompanies this can also be immense.  The stress can cause both mental and physical issues and render you almost dysfunctional.  It’s important to get a handle on this quickly.  There are many techniques that can be used to help lower your stress level, as well as medications that can be prescribed to aid in this matter.

Regaining Trust. After the affair you may feel that you will never trust anyone again, much less your spouse.  Too much distrust can be an obstacle to developing a loving relationship and is a gaping hole in the foundation needed for any long-term loving relationship.  You can read more about trust by clicking here.

Dealing with Triggers. After being betrayed by an affair, you will have to deal with the emotions that come over you when faced with certain triggers such as the anniversary of your D-day, certain holidays, songs, movies, and even sex.  These triggers can cause a wave of emotions that can be hard to control.  Click the following link for more on affair triggers.

Friends and Family. On one hand they can be a great source of support and motivation for you.  On the other, they can be a source for some incredibly bad advice.  Tread carefully when faced with the “help” of well-meaning friends and family members.

It is impossible to cover all possible obstacles to affair recovery, because we all respond differently to different situations.  In fact, there may be some additional, or perhaps entirely different obstacles that you have faced (or are facing) in your own affair recovery.  We’d like to know what these are, so please share your own thoughts on this in the comment section.

 

    10 replies to "Obstacles to Affair Recovery"

    • Morrigan

      As of recently we seem to be taking steps back! Its been 6 months since last contact with the OW. We had a horrible valentines day that ended with his changing the password to the cell phone account so I can’t check the records any longer. And the thing is, I really don’ think anything fishy is going on. I had been checking them and everything was fine. All of a sudden he says he doesn’t need me poking into his personal business. Yet, he isn’t going out any longer, no weird unexplained things etc. I feel like he needs his independence. Perhaps I should back off more? But he is so depressed lately. After the argument on Valentines day, his changing the password, he shut himself into his man cave all night and beat himself up by drinking all night. He told me he was sorry multiple times for hurting me, and said it was his choice to stay and work on the relationship, but he doesn’t see how I am going to get past all this. I however am hurt he changed the password, how are we supposed to rebuild trust? And I have no idea how the bill is going to get paid now because I pay all the bills, (he pays, but I have all the account info and DO the payments) although this one is in his name, I still do the paying of the bill. The account is under his name, my email. Thats how I found out he changed it, I received the email saying it was changed. He also does not think that an EA is an affair, to him it has to be physical, and it wasn’t therefore …. I am feeling quite confused about it all. But I do see how depressed he is. Right now I fluctuate from saying screw it, whatever happens, happens, to getting very upset. So my obstacles…trust, how to get it when he is resisting it!!!!!The things he is doing is not helping to rebuild the trust.

    • Yuki

      I am dealing with many of the above, most of which affect my ability to focus. I have great difficulty learning anything, remembering anything, and even with following a story line. It is real problem at work. Even things like zumba steps are difficult to remember. It’s frustrating because I used to have an excellent memory and was generally a quick learner.

    • Fstop245

      Sometimes it feels like a deep abyss and I wonder if I will ever recover. I am still recovering from the EA my wife has had for the last three years. I think I will be getting pills to help my depression.

    • Brian

      I am so glad I found this site so soon after I found out about the relationship my wife had with her friend. It has help me convince her that affairs may not include sex but that they are just has hurtful and maybe even more so due to the emotion and feelings for the OP. She has regret and embarrassment that it ever got this far. She doesn’t want to call it an “affair” because it sounds different than she thought it was and makes it “dirty” which she associates with sex. I hope I have convinced her it is and that we need to move past what it is called; ‘it is what it is’. Now let’s move forward with healing. I have many of the feelings above especially the trust issues, but one of my big hurtles is the fact that her friend is also a coworker though he travels a lot and isn’t in the office much and when he is, apparently in a different part of the building, I am having a problem with her continuing to work there and want her to go elsewhere. She assures me they will never speak again. Who has been through that and have you gotten over it? I believe she will not make contact but I am not sure he won’t try and don’t want her in the predicament of “am I honest and tell my husband about it” or do I lie and keep it a secret because I am afraid he will want to duke it out (which I may). There were many rules he was breaking at work in order to be able to talk to my wife which led to their friendship becoming “more”. I have told her she would at a minimum tell the supervising staff about these issues and that they must stop with her and any other people in her department that she works and if it costs him so be it. He shouldn’t have been breaking rules and we may not be in this situation now. Jeez, that was a rant, wasn’t it?

      • Doug

        Brian, Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you found us. I agree with you in that I feel it’s vitally important that there be no further contact with the OP. If that means finding a new job, then so be it.

    • Dave

      Infidelity (emotional or physical) can be such a strain not only on the adults involved but children, family and friends. It’s such a shame that often times a few minutes or hours of pleasure lead to such pain and suffering. I’d love to see a follow-up with those who made the mistake of cheating to find out if they thought it was worth it or would do it again. Thanks for sharing your perspective on dealing with infidelity and other marriage problems.

      • Recovering

        My husband, the cheater, swears every day that none of it was worth it! None of the pain that he has caused, the lying, the becoming a “cheater” and having to live with that lable and all of my paranoia now, was NOT worth one second he spent with her. I asked him how hard it was to dump her after I found out. He said it was easy, that deciding to stay in the marriage was harder than dumping it, because we were on such a horrible roller coaster that it all seemed so overwhelming. I asked why he never left me during the cheating… he said that he wasn’t ready to give up on US, but then after I found out, he was sure I would never forgive him or be able to live with what he did, so deciding to stay was hard. He flat out told me that she could have been anybody… that she was nobody special, but that she made him feel important… something I wasn’t doing at the time because life just got in the way, and he didn’t have the courage or relationship maturity to tell me what he needed. He liked the ego boost he got from her. He swears he could never cheat again. That he really had no idea that it would hurt me so bad (I don’t think he wanted to think about that during the cheating). My children have suffered in that they know something has not been right with Mom and Dad. Dad told the children that he hurt me really bad and that he was sorry and that he was working to make it up to me. We go on date nights regularly, which cuts into family time (which there isn’t much of to start with) but WE have to do what is right for US or there will be no family. He is doing everything he can – even left his job when the OW returned to the workplace. Today he starts the new job – a lateral move. He left a huge promotion… He is the type that has always defined himself by how much money he has and the name brand of clothing the kids wear (he grew up very poor, so is almost to the opposite extreme now that we are doing well). He still has issues with talking about the cheating, and part of that is my fault – I don’t understand what he could have ever seen in a married woman with kids coming onto him in a bar…. I am not the most understanding. I feel what he did was sick and disgusting and unforgivable. We are together and working on US. I love my husband and am working hard to accept that he is not who I thought he was, and that he is trying to be who I need him to be. I am trying to be who he needs as well. We honestly love each other and have the best time with one another. He makes me happier, and more miserable, than anyone on the planet, and he says the same about me. He says that some cheaters wish they could take it all back, but that he REALLY means it! He wishes he would’ve tried. He knows he gave up and didn’t even give me a chance… didn’t give us a chance… that he took the ‘easy’ way out… Turned out to be the worst choice and the hardest way out!! I think we will make it, with me having some very visable scars. Some can forgive… I cannot. He knows this about me. He knows that I will go to my grave being sure that if I ever saw the OW or her best friend (who knew about the situation and still brought the whore back to the company) that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from running them over. People like that shouldn’t exist… My husband is different from the OW in that he WANTS to change and sees that he did wrong and is willing to admit it. She will never and will cheat again… I feel bad for her husband and children who don’t know who they are living with… but they are not my priority nor my responsibility… my family is… and my husband has FINALLY grown up to see that we are his responsibility, his support, his LIFE. The job and money are no longer the number one priority for him. He loves US more than he loves himself and says he can’t live without me… Only the future will tell if that is all really true, but I am trying to live my life like it is… like WE have a life and a future…. Best of luck to you Dave!!

    • trapped

      This is just a helpful blog. I have experienced just about everything that Linda and others have gone through in getting past the EA, and feel much for those going through it right now.

      My H ended the affair the very day I caught him on his way to meet the OW on what was to be their first intimate encounter. That was 10 months ago. We’ve talked a lot. I know he loves me. While he was going through the EA, when I wasn’t aware of it, he never changed with me. He was the loving, understanding, sweet, caring man that I’ve always known. He is the same today and I have no reason to believe that he even thinks about the OW now.

      She does think about him, though. She sent him a text wishing him a happy new year, which he showed me because he didn’t recognize the number. Since then, however, I have constant thoughts about that OW. Even today, I’d like to do something to hurt her emotionally. Lately, I’ve taken to creating an email address and sending her nasty emails, calling her tramp, and insidious b@#$, etc. I know it’s not healthy, it doesn’t do anything to make me feel better. And, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. But I can’t stop myself.

      I find there are days when I don’t even think about it, but when I do, I become obsessed with wanting to make sure she feels like crap, hitting her self-esteem. Of course, I’ll never know if that happens and even if I did, I don’t think that would make me feel better.

      Is this normal? I will delete the ficticious e-address I created. I know only time will take these thoughts away.

      Any words of wisdom will be appreciated.

      • The OW

        Trapped, the other woman will know its you even with a ficticious email address but I do understand your need to lash out at her and bring her down, just like she brought you down.

        I have been the other woman for several years, we just ended it about 2 weeks ago when his wife discoverd his secret email account. She did contact me but only to ask some practical questions regarding protection, etc. She was not hostile and neither was I. I apologized for having part in creating such a difficult situation in her life. I did offer to answer any other questions she had but that was the last I heard from her. I had a very long term physical and emotional affair with him, off and on for over 7 years. I don’t know how a marriage recovers from that especially when he had gotten to the point where he actually asked for a divorce but she wants to get couselling and he agreed.

        I’m not here to inflame anyone, just tryting to move past this relationship myself (I am not married but was when the affair started, my ex never found out) and sometimes these sites can be helpful to see things from inside the marriage. The recovery process has some similarities weather you are the spoue, betraying spouse or affair partner.. I have made no attempt to contact him since she found out.

        If you feel I’m a resource and can make a positive impact on your recovery from the affair, please feel free to e ask quesitons, or vent at me as if I was your husbands OW.

    • Richard Alan

      Thanks for posting this information. The more we share experience and ways to cope, the more we help others. I’m always happy to comment or just “listen” to folks who want support.

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