Monday, 10 September 2012

My Husband Had an Affair - How Do I Cope?

My Husband Had an Affair - How Do I Cope?

By Katie Lersch

Since I often write about surviving an affair or healing after being cheated on, I am often approached by women and asked how they can cope after they have learned about the affair. My heart really relates to these women because I know exactly how an affair can shake your world to the core. Not only are you dealing with betrayal, shock, and emotional fall out because the person you trusted most in the world with your heart has taken that responsibility lightly, but it's highly likely your self esteem is shaken as much as your marriage. This article will discuss strategies to help you cope with your husband's affair.

Don't Try To Repress Your Feelings Or Worry That You Are Overreacting: (Let Your Feelings Out In Constructive Ways: There is no right or wrong way to handle learning about your husband's affair. Some women go inward and don't want to talk about it for a while. Some women want to know everything and are very demonstrative about EXACTLY how they are feeling and they want their husbands to feel every ounce of the same pain. There is no right or wrong answer here. You have been dealt an incredible blow. And you should not hold your pain inside.

In time, your husband will need to know exactly how you've been hurt and he should be willing to help you heal. Some women can not face this right away. That's perfectly ok. You should not be forced to take any steps until you're ready and comfortable.

However, do not hold your feelings inside. They will eat you alive if you do. Journal. Talk with trusted friends. Or go somewhere isolated and scream your head off. Take whatever CONSTRUCTIVE action that works for you to relieve some of the tension.

Do Not Obsess Over The Other Woman Or How She Compares To You: I know what I am about to tell you is going to sound impossible to accomplish, but please hear me out. Another thing that will absolutely eat you alive is becoming obsessed with the mistress or other woman. I understand you feel you MUST know what she looks like, how old she is, or what she has that you don't.

In truth, none of these things matters as much as you may think right now. There is a well known infidelity study which polled men who cheated. Only a paltry 12% of these men felt that the "other woman" was prettier than their wives. So, if the other woman is not prettier, sexier, younger, nicer, or smarter, etc., then why in the world did he cheat? There are so many reasons, but here is what I think from my own experience and research.

Understand That It's Not About You. It's About Him: When I found out about my husband's affair, he would repeatedly say "Katie, it had nothing to do with you. It's me." I thought this was a big scam and this was his way of sugar coating things. Of course, it was about me. He was just saying that because he was caught.

Turns out, I learned that there was some truth to what the said. Men often cheat because they have lost the positive way they feel about themselves. (Yes, you read that right. Themselves, not you.) I'll explain. When a man is deeply in love, he feels alive, attractive, capable, and powerful.

That's because somewhere a woman who loves him as much as he loves her is lavishing lots of attention, affection, and praise his way. He loves the positive way this makes him feel. Who wouldn't?

Over time though, this same woman has the responsibility of running a home, caring for aging parents or children, and sometimes her own career to worry about. So, the time she is able to invest is less.

Rather than going to his wife and saying "Hey honey, I'm feeling a little left out here," (which is what he should do), he has incredibly bad judgment when his head is turned by (most times it is at work) someone else who is able to elicit all of the positive feelings lost. She is not any prettier, smarter, or sexy, but she knows how to make your husband feel positively about HIMSELF. The affair is less about you - or even her - than you may think.

Focus On Yourself And Doing What Makes You Happy: I know first hand that you probably feel like pulling the covers over your head and staying in bed for a long while. It's OK to do this for a day or two, but after that, you must get moving. I know it will be difficult, but an affair can really beat down your self esteem and you can't let it.

Instead of wallowing in your hurt, get out, see your friends, pursue hobbies and passions that you never had time for before and do whatever it is that will put a smile on your face. Not only will this make you feel better, but it will demonstrate to both your husband and yourself that you have enough self respect to practice extreme self care when you need to do so.

Yes, you're going through a very tough time right now, but it doesn't have to beat you. You can overcome this. And, you can save your marriage if you want to down the road. But right now, you have to focus on being kind to yourself, expressing your feelings in a constructive way, and finding constructive ways to move yourself forward.

I struggled greatly with coping after finding out about my husband's affair, but with time, I was able to heal. Although I never would've believed this two years ago, our marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it. You can read my very personal story on my blog at

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