Infidelity is a painful wound which, sadly, you as a betrayed wife know first-hand. It is most likely the worst wound we will ever experience in this life. Initially, the unbearable agony of being cheated on is a wound that stays with us every moment of every day.
The first stage after discovery is a very vulnerable and raw part of our healing journey and is full of panic attacks, tears, sleeplessness, sometimes anger, and often an overwhelming feeling that we are not safe. As time goes on, this pain sinks into our skin a little, and we feel a little less raw, just a little...
And sometimes, for a moment or two, we can even forget about the painful wound of being cheated on.
As the days turn into months, we forget about the pain for short times, and we get on with loving our lives again. And then we remember, and the ache starts up all over again. The gaps between enjoying our lives and remembering the wounding do get longer apart as time goes on. But while we are experiencing that pain, at that moment, it feels as if it will never end.
As we get over the first stage of our healing and begin to find more extended periods when we feel good again, we can succumb to the temptation to stop short of getting complete healing. Healing is, after all, a very long and painful journey. At this point, it is easy just to accept that this is our life, and we can stop pursuing total healing. And I get that because it is just so hard and so emotionally exhausting to keep pressing in and touching the wound.
We need to continue our healing our infidelity wounds
However, letting go of our support systems and deciding to stop thinking about or talking about the betrayal, and the pain we are in come at a cost. Triggers, burnout, panic attacks, nightmares, and more. The fact is that time does not heal all wounds, and what we don't feel, we don't heal. The unresolved pain will keep growing within us and can escape as sudden attacks, leaving us feeling like failures in our attempt to move on from the infidelity.
Perhaps the pain erupts out as anger or sudden, unstoppable tears. Maybe panic attacks, sleeplessness, or even breathing difficulties can arrive in our life. And we can get to the end of ourselves being able to cope with the triggers that pop out of nowhere and feel that we can't go on anymore.
It is not your fault that you were cheated on
I am so deeply sad for the many wounds infidelity has caused you and the pain you carry. It is an awful and enormously difficult burden to bear in life. You didn't deserve it, and you didn't cause it. Yet it is you who has to heal from the betrayal woundings.
If we don't keep feeling and processing our pain, we miss out on the healed stage. The stage where we know we are stronger and able to cope with life again. The healed stage where we say we are more robust and learned so much from the grieving experience.
It is the post-transformational stage, and it is worth pressing into. Why? Because we are worth it. Our future self deserves to live life unencumbered by the actions of another—a life where we feel safe to love and trust again.
I still have my moments, fewer and far between now, where I still have to sit with my pain again and process. Yesterday, for instance, I was sad and sorry for myself. I had a moment of grieving my husband's past choices and their impact on my children and me. Other times I am impacted by the fact the my husband's affair partner keeps hanging around, leaving me triggered each time I see her.
Now you always hear me saying "When we press the wound, and it still hurts, that means that more healing is needed."
We have a choice where we take the infidelity pain
I have options for where I will go with the pain of being cheated on and what I will do about it. I need to first acknowledge the apparent sign that the wound hurt when it got pressed. Therefore, I need to face what still requires healing in me. And if I want to fully heal from my husband's betrayal, I need to learn to be open to that healing.
My pain requires me to get curious about it. When I feel pain then I know it's time to look inside myself and find out what's going on. I have to ask myself about what hurts and why? Seeing what needs to heal, grow, and change in my life brings my focus back to me and my needs? Then I can open myself to what my pain is teaching me at this moment?
This self-honesty gives my pain permission to be exposed and to shine a light onto my unhealed wounds. I have to have the courage to go down the wormhole yet again. Fear, insecurity, abandonment, loneliness all alive in that hole.
Yet experience has taught me that they won't entirely consume me, they are just there, and I know that I have a choice at all times. I can face them, or I can climb out and shut the lid on them.
Self-honesty shines a light on my betrayal wounds.
Knowing that I only benefit when I sit with the pain that needs addressing helps me face it. And I always need to remind myself to breathe while I sit in pain; my breath keeps me centered and mindful. Breathing long and slow is a self-care gift I prioritize to keep my body and mind healthy and my stress levels down. I want to let the healing happen without placing undue stress on myself.
What recently surfaced for me was a whole new layer of blame. Primarily blame and finger-pointing at my partner. I felt pain for certain things that he did when he was a person he hated being. And blame that he didn't do the things I wanted him to do after his betrayal came out. I was angry at how long it took him to change, mad for the many things I wish he had done but never did. Things I believed could have made my healing journey more manageable.
And all my anger had stories attached to it, stories where things turned out differently. Magically, I was healed in these stories instead of doing my healing work. These stories were just stories I made up, but, in reality, I had no control over them ever happening.
Unchallenged, these stories pretended to make me feel better and kept me from growing and healing. And another truth about these stories is that they gave my partner control over my healing. They were nothing more than fantasies and escapes from the pain that I needed to face.
And this brought me back again to grieving and acceptance of what is at an even deeper level. When I love and care for myself enough to take the time to explore my pain, it helps point me towards healing the wounds infidelity left in me along with any childhood wounds too. The more I heal, the more of my life I take back.
I grieved my wounds and came closer to accepting what is.
I am in control of healing those wounds that my husband cheating gave me. And I am responsible for processing them if I want to heal and grow beyond those wounds. Sometimes I am discouraged at how deep those wounds are and at how long this healing journey takes. But it will take as long as it will take, and I must accept that. Fighting against the wounds hurts me more.
Meanwhile, I celebrate my growth and that I have dared to face a pain I never asked for and I have grown from.
If you need support in exploring your wounds and pain, please reach out for support. You don't need to travel this painful road alone. I want to offer you a gift of a confidential call to help support you on your journey. Click here to book your free call with me.
Make healing your infidelity wounds a priority
Self-care helps us to form habits that can bring healing to our wounds in very nurturing ways. I have a course on Self Care After Infidelity, which I wrote to support you while you heal the many wounds being cheated on brings. Taking the journey with someone who understands those wounds can be a great support to you.
I have other blog posts about my experiences after being cheated on like When the Other Woman Hangs Around. If you want to keep up with my latest blogs, please sign up to join my newsletter. Also, I love to hear your thoughts too, so please leave me a comment below.