Infidelity trauma and grief is one of the most challenging and heartbreaking experiences you will ever face in your marriage or relationship.
Infidelity betrayal causes deep emotional pain, in addition to distrust of our partner, and a total lack of safety in our heart and life.
There is so much heartbreak and grief after discovering infidelity that it can sometimes feel like the pain will never end.
Have you ever felt like that?
I know I have.
And sometimes I felt totally overwhelmed and helpless to end the emotional pain I felt.
That was many years ago, but I still remember how incredibly hard it was to overcome.
Over time, I learned one thing about successful infidelity grief recovery:
What you do with your current situation really does matter. A lot.
In many ways, healing from infidelity grief is very much an active process.
It requires that you take the steps that will help you overcome how you feel so you can feel better about your future.
Time, alone, won't help you overcome infidelity grief - conscious, active healing will.
That is why I'm writing this article for you.
I want you to have some idea of what it takes to overcome infidelity grief.
We are going to explore a 6 step plan that will help you overcome the heartbreak and grief so your heart can heal.
Free to love, to trust, to move forward in your life, and to get past the heartbreak you feel right now.
Healing from infidelity grief is sometimes a slow process because grief tends to move along on it's own time frame.
And that's ok.
Recovery after betrayal isn't suppose to be a race to the finish line.
Infidelity grief recovery is about embracing personal growth, learning, self-discovery, creating a new future, and rebuilding or ending your relationship.
As you can see, there is so much to overcoming infidelity grief recovery.
It often takes 1-3 years to complete the whole process.
Fortunately, you only need to take it one small step and one day at a time.
You can handle that.
There are some things that can help support your recovery and healing:
- First of all, infidelity grief recovery can be achieved faster when you have a partner who truly steps up and takes full responsibility for choosing infidelity, for his actions moving forward, and for ending his affair(s.)
- Secondly, it helps when you have a partner who takes the steps to make full amends for the damage and pain he caused you.
- And thirdly, when you get support for yourself and put full effort into your own recovery.
His actions and honesty, combined with your focus on personal recovery will give you the best chance of overcoming infidelity grief.
In a perfect world, that's how things will go.
But we both know infidelity can be messy.
Recovery is often more like untangling a ball of tangled yarn, than moving forward in a straight path.
Sometimes, (as was my case,) you will have to go it alone because he won't step up.
Either way, your personal recovery is vital.
You may find yourself wondering what YOU can do to free yourself from the deep emotional pain of infidelity grief.
Lets begin our exploration of 6 steps that will help you overcome infidelity grief and heartbreak.
Step 1 | Overcome the initial shock, isolation, and maybe, denial.
Thoughts racing through your mind like "this can't really be happening" or "I can't believe he really did this" are a very normal part of initial infidelity discovery.
You can expect to be in a state of shock, initially.
Finding out about his actions and deception can be a shock to your system as you try to emotionally absorb what you've discovered.
Shock and denial are the way our mind protects us from the reality of a very painful situation. They shield us until we are ready to face what happened.
Anything that feels too difficult to handle will show up in the form of denial.
All of this is ok - unless you stay stuck in denial, long-term.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- Are you able to accept and face the fact that your partner was unfaithful?
- Are you ready to begin investing in your personal recovery and growth?
- If NO, why not?
Step 2 | Manage your anger and use it constructively.
It isn't surprising at all that you would feel a great deal of anger and rage over what he did. Anger after discovering infidelity is a normal and challenging part of dealing with infidelity.
Anger can be used constructively or destructively.
It can empower you, or keep you stuck.
Learning how to manage your anger in tough situations where "venting" is not in your best interest will help.
Here are some tips to help you break out of the anger cycle:
- Identify and write down in your journal, what you really want and need in the situation that makes you feel angry.
- Ask him in a calm manner for what you want and need from him. Keep your request simple and clear. This is how problems are eventually solved.
- Take a "time out" to cool off. As many times as you need.
- Come up with 2-3 solutions for the things that make you angry, rather than simply "venting your anger and spinning your wheels."
- Process your anger by writing an anger letter. Say all the things you need to say in the letter. Do not send it. Just process how you feel and then tear it up when you're done.
Step 3 | Overcome The Infidelity Bargaining Trap.
Bargaining occurs when you feel like you will do anything to change this situation. Bargaining is a normal part of infidelity grief and often feels like you are in a state of complete panic.
Bargaining becomes problematic after infidelity when:
- You take so much responsibility for fixing, controlling, and managing things that he doesn't have to step up and do his part.
- Or you feel like you are not good enough, and therefore, must go on a mission to improve your desirability. Eeekks!
Here are some tips to help you overcome the bargaining stage of infidelity grief:
- Shut down the voice in your head that says you aren't good enough or need to improve your physical appearance to get him to come back to you. Replace that voice with affirmation that his choice to pursue infidelity is not about you.
- Let go of the need to control the situation or force things to go in a certain direction. Try to calm the panic and take it one step and one day at a time.
If you want to continue this relationship, recovery is a joint project where both of you give 100% to relationship repair efforts.
Step 4 | Process the pain of infidelity grief and loss.
Coming to terms with the layers of pain and loss his betrayal caused will open the door to eventual healing and further acceptance of what happened.
When you embrace grief and pain, rather than pushing it away or fighting it, you will find you begin to feel better.
Writing will help you process your feelings and grow from your experience of grief and betrayal.
- You will learn more about yourself.
- You will honor your pain and acknowledge the truth of what happened.
- You will learn where there are problems and come up with solutions to those problems.
Here are some tips to help you grieve infidelity loss:
- Give yourself full permission to grieve.
- Keep grief from overwhelming you by allowing yourself 30 minutes per day to grieve and really feel your feelings.
- Get out and walk for 30 minutes, 3-4 days per week. You will benefit from the peace of mind and the endorphins that are released during your walk.
Step 5 | Acceptance and investment in a new life chapter.
Acceptance occurs when you are ready to begin a new chapter in your life.
Although you have been victimized by his behavior, becoming a victor, rather than feeling like a victim is so important for your recovery.
Acceptance comes later in the recovery process.
Some of the ways you will know you are in the acceptance stage of infidelity grief:
- You are able to let go of victim thoughts and feelings.
- You have self-trust.
- You have learned how to take control of your life so you come from a position of strength and empowerment.
- You are starting to invest in your future rather than looking back, or living in your past.
You don't have control over what happened to you, but you do have control over how you respond to what happened.
"Your emotions are a mirror of your thoughts. When you change your way of thinking, you will change the whole world inside of you."
Here are some tips to help you with acceptance and investment in your future:
- Replace any victim thoughts and feelings that come to mind with hopeful, empowering thoughts, ie . . . "I am so hurt and pissed off by what he did." to "I am a strong, empowered woman. I can overcome this challenge."
- Set recovery goals and action steps for the upcoming week and month.
- Begin the process of relationship repair or relationship ending.
Step 6 | Create an infidelity grief healing plan.
A self-care plan is essential to overcoming infidelity grief.
Setting up a personal plan of action to help you stay on track with every day infidelity recovery will help.
Here are some tips to help you create a daily healing plan:
- Make a list of things you can do and people you can call when you are feeling down.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal.
- Join a support group.
- Make a list of things you can do to make your situation better.
- Set regular times to rest.
- Read recovery books.
- Spend time with the people you love.
- Read daily affirmations.
In this article I've given you recovery tips, plus a general overview of a 6 Step Plan For Overcoming Infidelity Grief And Healing Your Heart.
As you can imagine, there is so much more to overcoming infidelity grief than I can possibly share with you in this article.
I hope you've found the tips I've shared today helpful.