Exercisegrace asked for help today, and I wrote a response. After posting my comment, however, I thought that I should turn it into a post so that more of you can see it and offer your own suggestions for coping with infidelity at 5 months out from D-day. Here is our exchange from today:
I think I might have just driven my car straight over the edge. We seem to be reaching critical mass here and i just don’t know what to do. To be fair, he IS trying. To some extent I push his efforts away and punish him. I am just stuck right not in the hurt, pain and anger. I can’t seem to push the affair far enough away from me, even for short bursts, to have an enjoyable day. I know he feels constantly reminded and constantly kicked. That is true to some extent. I should be able to enjoy my life without letting this crap dominant pretty much every waking moment. Can someone please please tell me how to get past this point? If I don’t we are going to end up apart, and I think that would be awful. We both want this to work, we are both willing to try, we both love each other but right now it all seems like too too much.
OH EG – it’s too soon for that! Is he so convinced that you should be able to move forward already?
I was thinking yesterday when you commented about your marriage counselor that he was probably not doing justice to your marriage. It’s hard to find a good counselor for dealing with infidelity. Rick Reynolds at affairrecovery.com is adamant about that. He says you need to find someone who specializes in that. A general psychologist or an LMFT will often use generalized methods that are supposed to work for a variety of issues. The thing is they don’t always work for infidelity.
Focusing on what you want and where you want to go, controlling your thoughts and all that — sure, that all has to done, but it’s too soon to expect that from you. To your injured brain, that is ridiculous. That’s like telling a child, “That’s ok. You burned your hand on the stove yesterday, but go ahead and play there today. It’s not hot today.” It may very well not be hot today, but should you be telling your child that? Will your child immediately trust that it’s not hot? It will take proof and a period of testing it out before your child would trust that. Is it a good idea to do that? No way. We wouldn’t even consider telling a child that it’s ok at any time to play on the stove. Our brain understands infidelity at this same level. Your brain is doing its job of protecting you. It will take time to reprogram it to accept the relationship that caused such harm. Even if you know you love your husband, your brain will do its best to protect you from harm until it is convinced there is no more harm there. That takes a good long while.
Look at Linda from EAJ. She is about three years out from her D-day, and she is again going to counseling. She has lingering issues. Her subconscious brain has not let go of the need for self-protection.
All that said, you do need to get anger under control. Vent it out on things that won’t hurt your relationship. There is a time and place to show him your anger, but daily bashing is not going to help. I told you yesterday about how I vented with music. Right now, I vent with music by Adele. Her music has an anger and hurt in it that just lets me vent it all out. And then I am better. I don’t know if you can relate to her kind of music, but try it. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of her:
Another thing would be to find a new activity that you can do together without the opportunity for blowouts. For my husband and me, that was exercise class. It is good to be something new because it will not have many triggers associated with it. I still had to hold back tears in class for a long time, but not anymore.
I’m just throwing out thoughts that are popping into my head. Every relationship is different, but these are things that I have learned along the way that work for us.
Praying for you, my dear EG -