Since I found out about my ex husband’s affair I have changed. I know I have. I feel like a character in one of those TV dramas, obsessing about everything in my life. There are days when it seems all I can think about is showering to get rid of the smutty feel of being an unknowing part of what he did. Why do I feel that I want to prove I don’t have all those character flaws he was so eager to point out with such obvious satisfaction? Will I ever feel normal again?
You are experiencing the same feelings most women feel in the aftermath of an affair.
It is the first stage of the grief process – anger. The loss of control over the end of a marriage is at the top of the list of life’s major crises.
We turn inward and rage at that personal loss. You had no choice in being the 3rd party to your former husband’s affair.
In the immediate aftermath it is hard to imagine a time when you won’t hurt, you don’t feel ‘smutty’ and you don’t think about the aspects of your divorce every minute of the day. You want to get to a personal place that is ‘better not bitter’.
His opinions about your character are just that – his opinions. He is gone and has no control over you now. Allowing what was said to continue to fester is giving him power he doesn’t deserve.
First task is to get a handle on your emotions. There are various ways but exercise is certainly one of the best. Even if it is only going for a walk and stopping for a coffee or tea at the local bistro, exercise has an immediate positive effect on us physically. Taking control of your life as a single person is a big step.
Shaping a new life takes time and energy. Another way to move forward is to force new thoughts into your head. Plan a project, big or small. It may never come to fruition but plan it anyway. Every new step you take is a step away from the past and a step forward into your future.
A personal journal is a place to pour out anger and hurt without wearing out friends and relatives. A journal never gets tired of hearing the same stories over and over again. It is also an excellent gauge of your progress. You will see your new life sprouting from the words on the pages of that journal.
If it does not feel like you can make this progress on your own then seek out a counselor or trusted friend that will give you the advice you need. Sometimes an objective view can help us turn the corner.
All of your emotions at this time are part of life after divorce. You will get through it with commitment and determination.
We have enormous personal power and that is what will see you through this time. I know from personal experience you can and will get beyond those ‘smutty’ feelings and obsessing about his criticisms.
One day you will be thankful he left because his leaving has given you a future that will be happier and healthier without his negative influence. Be patient and gentle with yourself.
ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.