Infidelity and affairs are some of the hardest experiences to overcome in marriage and relationships. You need help, support, and encouragement if you have just found out that you are a victim of this type of betrayal. With a Christian counselor’s guidance, you can find the compassion, strength, and wisdom you need to heal and move forward.
Healing After an Affair
Though the pain you are feeling is intense, healing is within your reach after an affair. You didn’t ask for this problem, but God is ready and waiting to heal your deep hurts. These are some steps you can take to recover and heal after being betrayed by an unfaithful spouse or partner. A caring Christian counselor can help you walk through these important steps.
The Power of Prayer
Prayer is a lifeline to God as you heal from the affair. The more you pray, the faster healing will be in your reach. You cannot pray too often because God is infinite and omnipresent. He has promised to be near those with broken hearts and crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18), and he will never leave you or forsake you in your time of need (Heb. 13:5b).
If you have not run to God in prayer before, now is the time to share all your deepest hurts with the One who created you and the One who can redeem you from your struggles. He promises to comfort you and lift you out of your struggles as you pour out your complaints and hurts before him. All day and all night, surrender your feelings in prayer. Each time you pray, you’ll feel a little closer to God.You can take comfort in knowing that God understands how you feel. In the Old Testament, the Bible uses words like “rejected” and “betrayed” to describe God’s response to his people turning against him to worship other gods. Jesus was also rejected by his people, betrayed by one of his disciples, and deserted by his closest friends on the night before his crucifixion. Since God knows how you feel, you can trust him to minister to your needs.
Many people who suffer from the after-effects of infidelity gain healing from recording their prayers in a journal. They can look back and see how God is carrying them through this hard time of their lives. By writing your prayers down, you’ll also see God at work in your situation.
The Importance of Venting
The sin of infidelity stirs up many strong feelings in the one who was betrayed. If you bottle those feelings inside, many other problems could result. Your feelings may leak out slowly in sarcasm, explode in anger, or simmer in frustration.
Any of these methods can cause further relationship problems. They can also cause physical problems such as rapid weight loss or weight gain, lack of concentration, disrupted sleep, memory loss, immune system disorders, gastrointestinal problems, heart problems, and other life-threatening illnesses.
It’s common for victims of affairs to experience a wild range of emotions immediately following the discovery. You may vacillate between shock, anger, hurt, confusion, guilt, fear, depression, and denial, several times in one day. You may want to place the blame on yourself, your spouse, the other person involved in the affair, or on everyone involved. Spilling these emotions onto other people like your children, family, and friends can cause them to pull away from you.
It’s often tempting to numb these feelings with unhealthy behaviors like binging, drinking too much, starting another relationship too soon, or withdrawing in isolation. These common temptations aren’t healthy and stall your progress. However, talking with a counselor and journaling your feelings can relieve the pressure and help you sort out truth from fiction. Venting your feelings in a safe space is an essential part of recovery.
The Need to Slow Down
You may feel completely overwhelmed by all the choices you need to make after you discover an affair. Questions about whether to separate, who to tell, how to manage your finances, and what to do with the children may be pressing down on you. These are all important matters for consideration, but they don’t all need to be addressed at once.
If you make hasty decisions, you could get yourself into more trouble. Resolve to take just one day at a time. Slow down and pray before making any important decisions. Also, ask two or three trusted people to advise you and pray with you first. Your counselor, pastor, and Christian friends can help you make decisions at the right time, so you can maintain your peace.
The Priority of Self-Care
It’s common for victims of affairs to put their own physical and emotional needs lower on their priority lists. But you can recover faster from the shock of infidelity if you prioritize your needs through self-care.
Every day, try to get enough sleep and a little exercise. Resolve to eat right so you don’t become malnourished. Try to keep the regular rhythms of your routines, which soothes the mind. Each day, do one small thing that brings you joy and helps you to relax, whether that’s a hot bath, a walk outside, or something else.
Thriving after an affair requires a great deal of energy. When you care well for yourself, you’ll conserve the energy you need to move forward. This is why self-care is not an option, but a top priority.
The Necessity of Grief
To heal, you’ll need to go through the grieving process, whether you decide to stay with your spouse or not. The grief stages of denial, bargaining, anger, and sadness may cycle through over and over in your thoughts and feelings. As you embrace them rather than resist them, you’ll be one step closer to acceptance, the final grieving stage.You’ll have to let go of your former dreams before you can step into a new, healthier future. The stages of grief will help you do this. The process of grief could take many months or even years. A compassionate Christian counselor can help you walk through the grieving process.
The Healing Process of Talking
Though talking about the affair may be painful, you need a release from the intense emotional strain you feel after suffering as a victim of infidelity. However, it’s important to choose the people you open up to with care. Your friends and family may be too close to the situation to offer you objective advice, and their loyalties may be divided. Your children are also not good candidates for hearing you, since they have their own pain and grief to handle.
A Christian counselor offers a safe, private space for you to process all your painful emotions. In the counseling office, you will face no judgment for your feelings and gain a valuable third-party perspective on them. No criticism or condemnation will be handed down to you in your counselor’s office. Talk therapy has helped many victims of infidelity recover from their pain, and it can help you too.
A Plan for Overcoming Infidelity and Affairs
There are many decisions to make after infidelity and affairs. If you choose to stay in your marriage or relationship, you’ll need to take deliberate steps to rebuild trust. If you choose to part ways, you’ll need advice and help from your pastor and attorney as well as support from a counselor, who can help you heal.
Navigating this situation on your own can be completely overwhelming. However, a caring Christian counselor will serve as a trustworthy guide on the path forward. Whether you choose to stay or go, you’ll gain wisdom and support from your counselor, based on biblical truths. Contact us today for your first free appointment. We’ll help you overcome the trials of facing infidelity and affairs.
“Broken Heart”, Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wedding Rings”, Courtesy of Alyssa Hurley, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Coffee and Conversation”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Barrier”, Courtesy of Eric Ward, Unsplash.com, CC0 License