One thing that is at the core of the healing process and is very crucial to be aware of and to understand is the difference between pain and suffering.

betrayBy Linda

It took me awhile to catch on to this myself, but in my experience I’ve learned this to be true: Pain is something that occurs in a moment and it is linked to a tangible event. However, suffering is the process of choosing to dwell on the painful event in ways that keep you stuck and feeling miserable.

Therefore, suffering is something you do to yourself and it is rooted in the thoughts that you think.While you did not choose the original painful event, you can choose how much you suffer over the event.

The Dalai Lama said some very wise words in one of his lessons to his followers about suffering:

Consider that while some problems that cause suffering are unavoidable, we can always choose how to respond to the problem. Consider that one person who earns a certain salary may be unhappy with “how little” they have while someone else would be so very happy to earn the same amount. Have you ever complained, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”? Reflect that for someone your “nothing” could be the source of great happiness.

While the Dalai Lama does not address extramarital affairs specifically in his example, this does not reduce the power in his message. He is basically saying that suffering is about choosing how to perceive an event or a circumstance in your life. This truth remains true even when people meet with the type of pain that is absolutely incomprehensible to the rest of us. For instance, the pain that occurs as a result of the death of one’s child.

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Again, the essential difference between pain and suffering is this: while you do not have power over the event that caused the suffering, you do have power over whether or not you choose to suffer. Suffering is about how you perceive pain and how you choose to react to it.

There will come a time (if not already) when you must confront the pain of marital betrayal head on and take a good hard look at the pain. But you can choose to no longer live in fear of the pain since ultimately, you have control over how you allow it to affect you.

Now, if the betrayal is still brand new, you are going to be thinking, “Yeah, that is easy for you to say.” This is a completely normal reaction because you are still working through the shock of the whole experience. But, from experience, I can tell you there will come a time when you understand this. There will also come a time when you will need to lean into the pain and look at it in the harsh light of day. Because, in the end, we all must confront the pain of betrayal head on if we want to overcome it.

When you are ready to begin this task for the best safety razor, you must do the following things to overcome it:

  • Be strong and look the pain in the face
  • Realize that you are in the power position: the pain can only overwhelm you if you let it.
  • Try to step outside the pain and notice thoughts and feelings that are occurring while looking at them in a neutral way. Instead of labeling them, calling them good or bad, you need to adopt the attitude that they are what they are.
  • Devote time and effort to your healing, realizing this process takes time and there is no quick fix. At the same time, be “okay” with that rather than beating yourself up for having to take time to heal.
  • Enlist the help of friends and family who are unconditionally loving
  • Don’t place a deadline on when you should be feeling better since that will cause you to feel overwhelmed and resentful
  • Be proactive in healing
  • Think about the pain as much as you want because suppressing it doesn’t work. It just delays healing. You do not want to be 40 years down the road feeling like you are at square one.
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You have an opportunity to work through the healing process and to come out stronger than you have ever been. You also have the opportunity to create or recreate the marriage you have always dreamed of.

Never forget that you are in control of whether or not you heal and whether or not you suffer; it is all within your control. Please do not allow yourself to get discouraged because healing takes time. Be gentle with yourself, acknowledge your feelings, and honor yourself.

If you feel that you need to be a little more proactive in your healing process, you might want to check out the Affair Recovery Movement.


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