Based on the popularity of the first article I wrote, "How To Overcome Betrayal Grief After Infidelity" I decided to write part 2 and share 10 more tips for healing your heart.
I'm not surprised at how important overcoming grief after infidelity is for you. It was one of my top struggles after betrayal too.
I believe there are a couple of reasons for this:
First of all, it's possible to get stuck in different parts of the grief journey and find yourself unable to move forward.
For instance, maybe you stay in denial about what happened in your relationship in order to protect yourself from the deep pain that infidelity causes.
Denial is a very normal part of grief - it allows us to avoid being ambushed and overwhelmed by emotional pain. Denial serves an important self-protection purpose and only becomes a problem if you stay stuck there. At some point it's important for you to begin to face the reality of your situation - even if that means you only take baby steps to do it.
It is also possible to get stuck in the bargaining phase.
This is where you try everything possible to change yourself with the hope that he will choose you over being unfaithful. Underlying the bargaining phase is the deep belief that you caused him to be unfaithful, and therefore, it's up to you to fix the problem by fixing yourself. Bargaining is a normal part of grief, just like denial is. But it can become a problem if you are the only one making changes in the relationship, or if you get stuck there and are unable to move forward.
Make changes to better yourself - not as a way to try to control him or the situation. (I know this is easier said than done but it's important.)
Another reason grief is a top struggle for many women after infidelity is because there are so many layers of loss to deal with.
It's as if someone took the relationship, shook it up, threw it in the air, and then allowed it to crash to the floor - shattering the relationship we once knew, into a thousand tiny pieces.
infidelity Betrayal causes the death of the relationship that was formed prior to infidelity.
And this in turn, means dealing with tremendous loss.
Infidelity requires that we put the relationship back together in a totally new way - or decided to move on without the relationship.
No matter which route you decide to take, dealing with grief is a very large part of the personal recovery journey.
Doing the challenging work of grieving + investing in your self-care is worth doing because it will help you grow tremendously as a person.
At the same time, I know that being in the depth of pain and grief can feel like a huge emotional, energy-sapping burden.
In fact, it can feel like grief will never come to an end.
But I promise you, it will.
I look back now and realize it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Knowing what I know now, I only wish I had done it sooner.
In order to support your infidelity grief recovery, let's explore 10 more tips you can use to heal your heart after infidelity betrayal:
Tip 1 | Make a list of 3 losses you are currently dealing with due to his infidelity. then write a "goodbye letter" to each one of the losses. this will help you release some of the pain and grief from your heart.
This is a difficult, yet important step because it will help you face the reality of what happened.
Please make sure, however, that you have plenty of time for self care after you do this exercise.
Some examples of loss after discovering infidelity include:
The loss of the man you thought he was.
The loss of the relationship you thought you had.
The loss of trust in him, and maybe the world in general.
The loss of the man you can share your heart with because now he feels emotionally unsafe.
The loss of the relationship, (if you've made a decision to end it.)
Once you have a list of three losses, write a "goodbye" letter for each loss. The letter is to help you process your grief and is for your eyes only.
After you are done with each letter, focus on releasing the pain and saying goodbye to each loss by tearing each letter up and throwing it away.
Tip 2 | Learn the basics of what happened and why he chose infidelity and then commit to let go and move forward.
It is possible, (and really, really easy,) to get stuck in a phase of researching infidelity and questioning why he did what he did.
Reading books on infidelity and asking him questions are a normal and necessary part of infidelity recovery.
You deserve to know what is happening in your relationship.
Why is the big question you need to have answered.
The reasons why someone chooses infidelity is unique to that individual.
After you have learned the basics of what happened and why, it is time to move forward.
Don't get stuck in a repetitive cycle of questioning him over, and over, and over again.
Write down the answers you get to the questions you have so you can review what you've learned and ask more questions if needed. Have him take a polygraph if that's needed. Get the full truth.
When you are satisfied that all of your questions have been answered and the truth is all out, commit to move forward.
You can not create your future by looking in the rear view mirror forever.
Tip 3 | Notice what you tell yourself about your feelings. Are you supportive and gentle, or harsh and judgemental about the way you feel?
Sometimes, in the course of dealing with grief you may find you have a tendency to "beat yourself up" or make critical judgements about how you feel.
Doing so can cause you to feel worse - because now you are not only grieving, but also fighting with yourself.
Allow grief to be exactly what it is.
Allow your feelings to rise to the surface, wash over you, and then subside naturally - without fighting your feelings, trying to escape them, or making judgements about how you should or shouldn't feel.
Instead of "beating yourself up," say supportive things to yourself such as:
I'm going to be ok.
I will take good care of myself so I can heal.
It's ok for me to feel what I feel. I've been through a lot.
Grief is a normal part of discovering infidelity.
I give myself permission to grieve.
Tip 4 | Trust yourself, trust the recovery process.
Although the roller coaster of emotions you feel after betrayal can be upsetting enough to make you feel like you are going "crazy," in reality, you are not going crazy, you are grieving tremendous losses.
And that comes with a lot of feelings.
It's also possible that you've been traumatized by his actions, his denial about his actions, exposure to infidelity triggers, and a host of other things related to infidelity.
Learning to trust yourself and the process of recovery releases any pressure you might tend to place on yourself.
Believing in yourself and your ability to overcome the challenges of infidelity goes a long way in healing.
Trust yourself. Trust the recovery process.
Tip 5 | Call someone if you are feeling really "down" or suicidal.
Please don't try to deal with this personal / relationship crisis by yourself. No one should ever have to go through something like this all alone.
If you have a friend you can trust, reach out for a talk, go for coffee, go to a movie.
Even if you don't want to disclose all that has happened, just spending some time away from your problems for awhile can help.
Breaks are important.
If you are having suicidal feelings, this is an alarm that you need to pay attention to.
You have some options:
Call a suicide hotline and talk with someone who is trained to listen and help.
Call a therapist and make an appointment.
Make a list of 3 friends and their phone numbers to have available so you can call when you need them.
Make an agreement with yourself that you will not act on your feelings - you will get help instead.
Tip 6 | Use your anger to identify your wants and needs.
Anger is a big part of infidelity grief and is often thought of as a villain feeling.
After all, when we are angry or raging mad, we may act or feel completely out of control.
So often our anger after infidelity is the result of how unfair what happened feels. We know we did not deserve to be treated with disrespect and dishonesty.
Anger has some good, and not so good aspects to it, depending on how it's handled:
Anger can become a problem if it is expressed destructively or abusively, (and that is not ok under any circumstances.)
Anger can point you to what you want and need, allowing you to use anger to advocate for yourself.
Think about a time when you have been really angry as it relates to your partner's infidelity. Now identify the need or want that lies underneath the anger.
Once you've identified the want or need, it's time to ask for it - honestly and calmly.
Tip 7 | Let go of the need for revenge.
Have you ever felt like you'd love for him to suffer the way you have?
Maybe you have the same feelings towards the person he had the affair with.
Here are some things to think about when considering revenge:
Will getting revenge ever feel like enough?
Will getting revenge take away the pain you feel?
I want you to consider the possibility that making your life awesome is the very best revenge you can pursue.
I can tell you this is exactly what I did in my previous marriage.
I began to focus on improving myself every single day and became a strong, beautiful, and self-confident woman.
And you know what? He began to really, really miss the woman he took for granted.
Feeling good about yourself and knowing you deserve to be treated well will help you feel so much better than being sucked into the ongoing drama of revenge.
The best revenge is creating an awesome life and becoming your best self.
Tip 8 | Stay focused on your personal growth.
Investing in yourself is going to pay off in the long run.
Invest in taking good care of yourself.
Invest in eating well and getting some enjoyable exercise.
Invest in learning how to respond assertively to life challenges.
Invest in learning how to rebuild your marriage, (if that is your choice.)
Invest in staying out of drama.
Invest in asking for what you need and want.
Invest in setting boundaries to keep you emotionally safe.
Tip 9 | Treat yourself the way you would a best friend.
Now more than ever, you need to be your very best friend and your own hero.
Now is not the time to abandon yourself.
If your best friend was going through infidelity, what would you say to her and how would you support her?
Make a list of 5 ways you will be your own best friend and hero.
Tip 10 | Embrace the reality of what happened.
Your mind may want you to forget about what happened or deny that it was that bad, or make excuses for why he did what he did.
You may want to drink, eat, work, or shop your way through this crisis rather than face what happened.
This will only prolong your healing.
You can only heal what you feel.
Accepting what happened is a big and important step on the path towards personal recovery. Embrace it.
It takes real work and effort to overcome the pain of infidelity doesn't it?
Being on the other side of infidelity feels good for me personally. At the same time, I've always had such compassion for women who are going through the depths of infidelity pain and grief.
Supporting you is what drives me and gets me up and working each morning.
Supporting you is what wakes me up in the middle of the night as ideas swirl around, working overtime in my mind on upcoming projects.
And the truth is, I feel it is all totally worth it because I've been where you are right now. I know the pain all too well.
I have great hope for a better tomorrow for you.
That's why I'm here and that's why I work towards the goal of supporting you in whatever way I can.
Thank you for reading this blog . . .