After an affair the jumble of raw emotions you feel can be completely overwhelming. You can experience so many intense feelings in such a short amount of time that you begin to feel lost in the mire of your feelings.
The emotions that you are feeling are part of the grieving process. It’s very important that you take the time to grieve what you’ve lost because of your spouse’s affair. If you attempt to shortcut your grieving process, you end up suffering longer than you need to in the long run. Grief isn’t something that you can cover up and ignore and move on. You will start to have physical side effects and/or your attitude will reflect your unresolved grief whether you mean for it to or not.
Sadness is one of the most difficult phases of grief to endure. Obviously, no one enjoys the feeling of being sad. But sometimes people are resistant to feeling sad for other reasons. You may resist sadness because:
- sadness was not an acceptable emotion to display in your family of origin.
- you feel like a burden to others if you don’t appear happy and content.
- sadness seems ungodly to you.
- you are afraid to allow yourself to enter sadness because you don’t know how you would leave it.
- you feel partial blame for the situation, so sadness seems indulgent to you.
- you fear judgment from other people.
- you have no experience with letting yourself be sad, so it feels foreign to you.
- sadness seems unproductive to you.
But sadness is a perfectly acceptable response when something terrible happens. An affair is terrible. An affair is the death of the way you believed your relationship to be. You have the right to experience the full range of grief, including sadness.
There is no shame in sadness. If you believe you are weak to feel sadness, then you are wrong. If other people judge you for being sad, then they are wrong. Sadness is merely an emotion that accompanies grief, just like anger, denial and bargaining. It isn’t moral or immoral. It is an emotion. Do not deny yourself from feeling sad because of false assumptions you have.
It’s beneficial for you to feel sad. It’s even healthy to sit in the sadness for a while. Let your mind and body process all that has happened. You need closure to the sad event that has happened to you. Mourning what happened will help you close out this event in your mind and spirit.
Your sadness can even be beneficial for your unfaithful spouse to witness. Sometimes I hear betrayed spouses complain that their unfaithful spouse just doesn’t seem to “get it” how big of a deal the affair was. Often, these betrayed spouses have no problem showing the grieving emotion of anger. But they discount the power of sadness. Perhaps witnessing your tears, low spirits, lack of energy, and other physical symptoms of sadness day after day would be a wake-up call to your unfaithful spouse.
Sadness can last a long time. It’s no use trying to rush through your sadness. You are different from anyone else and so you shouldn’t try to compare the length of time someone else got over their sadness to how long it’s taking you to get over it. It’s better to be sure that you have completely healed and worked through being sad.
Though you can’t rush through the emotion of sadness, you can help yourself process it in helpful ways.
Journal your thoughts and feelings. Write down anything that your mind is thinking. You may wish to write a letter to your spouse asking him how he could do this to you. You may wish to write a letter to the affair partner asking her why she did this to your family. I’m not saying that you should send the letters. Writing them is for your benefit.
Write your feelings to yourself. You may want to write out the ways you blame yourself. You may want to congratulate yourself on being a good wife (and mom), and remind yourself how you didn’t deserve any of this pain. Whatever you choose to write will help you process the grief.
Keeping your daily routine can be really helpful to you when you’re feeling sad. It’s tempting to just curl up in bed and cry all day. But if you maintain your daily activities, you will be forced to keep moving and interacting with other people. Both of those things are good for you during grief.
Affair recovery coaching and grief counseling are two different things. The coaching will give you answers and solutions for recovering from the affair. It will keep you moving forward and being productive towards healing. But if you find yourself lingering in a sad state for longer than you’d like, pursue counseling with a qualified professional.
Though friends can help you process grief for a time, they tend to lose their patience. Furthermore, though they are well-meaning, they are just as likely to say things that will exacerbate your grief as relieve it. No one likes to see their friends be sad for long, so they are very likely to try to provide you with quick solutions rather than sit with you in your pain.
The support of other people who “get it” can also be really helpful to you. Who understands your pain like other betrayed spouses? Find supportive people that have a positive outlook on healing and going through the process of recovering. Find people that have already walked down that road and can provide you with hope. Hope is a great salve for sadness.
You are always welcome in our online group for healing and support. https://www.facebook.com/groups/AffairRecoveryCoaching/
You have the right to grieve however you need to, and it may be different for you than for anyone else. One of the results of recovering from a trauma such as an affair is an increased self-awareness. Letting yourself grieve and working your way through that emotion will give you a new perspective about yourself. Sadness doesn’t have to lead to despair. It can be a gateway to a deeper understanding of yourself and your life.
If you would like more clarity and understanding of your post-affair situation, be sure to book a free clarity call with Andy and Becky today.