I have been asked a number of times in women’s groups, women’s recovery groups and group counseling to share my story. I was listening in one of these groups the other night where I was a speaker and I hear the same things over and over and I want to share them here.
I am doing this because when we share the same feelings in a similar experience we no longer feel alone, isolated, or well… just plain crazy. When your spouse cheats on you, many of the following can happen to you:
- You might feel dizzy, disoriented, and the world which was safe suddenly seems frightening, overwhelming and foreign.
- You might cry, shake, shiver and feel sick on and off for a while.
- You might have nightmares, wake up crying in your sleep, or wake up and feel good only for a moment, then reality sets in.
- You might be afraid of your spouse – want to rage and hide at the same time.
- You might not know what to say to people. Some people tell everything. Other people don’t want anyone to know.
- You might want to not know anything about the affair or you might want to know everything.
- You might wonder if everything was a lie.
- You might feel as if you will never love or trust again.
- You might feel angry at the affair partner and not your spouse, both of them, or just your spouse.
- You might have a hard time comprehending what was going on and where you were and why you did not know or suspect.
- You might eat a lot or eat nothing at all. Foods have a lot of memories attached and special dinners and meals can be very painful.
- You might turn into a super-spy, checking every receipt, phone bill and email.
- You might feel humiliated and embarrassed, even though this was your spouse’s choice and find it hard to go out of the house or to be with friends and family.
- You might feel angry, numb, sad, frustrated, hopeless, depressed, relieved, floored, shocked at any time, at any place, and these feelings can roll all-in together or come in waves or not at all.
- You might have a hard time making new friends and dating or putting your marriage back together.
- You might wonder what they said about you, if they laughed about you and made fun of you during the affair.
- You might feel this is all your fault. You weren’t thin, pretty, smart, loving, attractive, sexy or whatever enough. You might be told this by your spouse so you can take the blame that belongs to them.
- You might feel like you want to die, that life will never be the same and it wont, or that you want to go live where no one knows you.
- You might look at your children and feel you failed them because your spouse had an affair.
- You might not know what to do, where to turn or even know who you are anymore.
These were some of the common themes I heard that night. I know I felt a lot of them. I think they feel worse or stronger the longer you were married and the more you valued your marriage and family. I don’t think I missed one of these over the past few years since my marriage ended after my ex-husband had multiple affairs. I think it’s really important that someone puts these down in writing, so other people can read them and understand that they are not alone in what happens after the affair.
Bouncing with Style is not just about picking yourself up, it’s understanding what has happened to you and how it affected you. Part of that is learning that we are never alone in our human experiences. You just have to reach out to others going through or having gone through the same thing to Bounce with Style.