6 Painful Ways His Cheating Affects You
That No One Ever Talks About
It’s no secret that when an affair happens in a marriage, the odd person out is left to deal with monumental amounts of pain. The guilt of not being enough, the humiliation of being sideswiped and you didn’t even realize it was happening.
While an affair can be an isolated event, the consequences that follow cannot be contained to a few months or even a few years of pain. It’s probably fair to say that every victim of an extramarital affair feels the repercussions for the rest of their lives.
If you haven’t been through it yourself, you just don’t know what it’s like. There is so much more to an affair than you may realize. Here are 6 painful ways his cheating affects you that no one ever talks about:
1. You feel emotionally run over.
When an affair happens, and then ultimately a divorce, life as you know it changes. There is too much happening at once, and you have no control. Suddenly your spouse is gone, and you feel a sense of loss. When he is gone, whether it’s a good thing or not, you will feel the emotional repercussions of losing someone close to you. It’s almost like death, except you know this person is still living away from you. Maybe happier. Just getting up every day becomes hard. It just all doesn’t feel worthwhile anymore.
2. You feel…. gross.
While the affair was going on, your husband was still sleeping with you. So in essence…. Yeah. That. You end up feeling like you more or less shared intimacy with everyone in her past. And since you don’t know her past, and your soon-to-be-ex-husband may not even know or would share it with you if he did, you have no idea what sorts of things are being passed around. Even though you are the innocent party, you could possibly have been exposed to something without your knowledge. So aside from the emotional hurt, you have to prepare for the possibility of physical issues. Going to the doctor and getting screened will be no picnic. It’s just another slap in the face that someone else too your choices away.
3. You are left in the dark.
Most likely you don’t know the “other woman” and never will, or at least you’ll never really talk. You won’t know all the details about how everything played out, what he loves about her so much, and what all they have shared together. Their new life. You’re pretty much left in the dark. It feels lonely and isolating. So if people ask you about things, you feel a void and you aren’t sure what to say. Which makes a sad and hurtful situation even worse. Maybe you don’t want to know “everything” that went on, but at least a general understanding might help you figure out how to let go and move on. But you’ll probably never get that. And you have to live with being left in the dark for the rest of your life.
4. Life stops.
In many ways, your past is not what you thought it was. Maybe things were happy, or maybe they weren’t, but little did you know that underneath it all something was happening. Something big. And at least for a while you had no idea. When that happens, it causes you to question everything you experienced in your marital relationship. Did he really ever love me? Did he mean it when he said this or that? When we made love was he….? So it feels like time stops. Because not only is the past shaky, but so is the future. You had gotten married with the understanding of spending your lives together. You would grow old together and have a family, enjoy grandchildren, travel.
5. Everybody knows about the affair.
When you go to work, church, the store—anywhere that you run into someone you know, then you know that they know. And it’s awkward. What do they say to you? And what do you say to them? The whole “situation” will be the elephant in the room not just now, but for years to come. Everyone will wonder about the particulars, they may gossip about what they have “heard” when really it’s none of their business. Everyone assumes this or that went wrong, and oh my gosh I feel so bad for them, but let’s just talk about them and not be helpful. And here you are, alone in dealing with it, even though you weren’t the one who had the affair.
6. You have trust issues for the rest of your life.
When someone you love so deeply betrays you, it’s only natural that you’ll lost all hope of ever trusting again. Even if you were to meet someone amazing, in the back of your mind is this type of self-talk: “He seems great but I bet so many women like him. It would be easy for him to cheat.” Also you flip that around to yourself and start to tell yourself that you are an easy person to cheat on; you start to believe that it’s YOU who deserves or causes someone to stray. So then staying alone is just easier, because you have trust issues. Maybe staying alone isn’t so bad now, but it certainly wasn’t what you expected when you got married in the first place. But now you are left to deal with it.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with Marriage.com, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy). Follow her on Twitter and Google+.