I read somewhere that recovery from an affair or any kind of trauma is like a spiral, and I’ve mentioned this here before. It has hit me again like a rock and I’d like to talk about it some more.
I like this analogy. It has been my experience thus far at 19 months out. Recovery is like a spiral in that you keep going back over the same things over and over, cycling around and around through the same phases and emotions and pains. Sometimes you spin so fast that it becomes a blur and everything seems to bang up against one another, like in a tornado. Each time, though, you swing from one end to the other a little less and the circle gets slightly smaller. You do this over and over, and slowly – ever so slowly sometimes – you move towards the bottom of the spiral. Emotions become less extreme; pain is not quite so excruciating; the phases do not last quite as long. Hopefully a time will come when it is just a dot – a little twinge – that comes up every now and then. Some people say the pain can completely go away. I’m not sure I buy that, but I do buy that it can diminish into a little sting versus the knock-out punch that it is at the beginning.
I think you can stall at a place in the spiral and get stuck, swirling around and around in the same place for a long time. You don’t know how to move yourself down the spiral to heal. This is when counseling can be good if you find the right counselor.
I think you can also get stuck, or even go backwards, when your spouse does not handle his/her side well. It seems the most common issue is not divulging the truth about the affair, or worse yet, new lies about continuing contact. Then there is the stance they often take that it should just be buried and forgotten. In their attempts to get the betrayed spouse to “get over it,” they unwittingly cause the recovery phase to take ever so much longer.
My husband is not handling his side well. I am stuck.