I recently heard from a wife who was afraid that she was having an abnormal reaction while dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s affair. While it was her husband who had made the choice to have and then hide the affair, it was the wife who was feeling “dirty, guilty, and disgusted.”
She could not understand why these feelings were coming forth. Intellectually, she knew that this wasn’t her fault. She knew that it was her husband who should feel ashamed and damaged, but she could not seem to help taking these feelings onto herself. She was a bit confused about this and it upset her, but I was able to reassure her that this feelings are actually quite common and that there is a reason for them. Understanding the reasons could potentially help her to overcome them. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Why You Might Feel Dirty And Repulsed When Dealing With (Or After) Your Husband’s Affair: I actually hear these things on a relatively regular basis. Most people intellectually realize that it is their husband who should be experiencing these feelings and doubts, but that isn’t always the way that things work out. It’s my theory that these negative feelings typically happen because true processing and healing has mot yet began to take place.
You’re typically at the point when you are still reeling, are still so angry you could spit nails, and recoil every time that you think of him attempting to touch you when he’s done the same with some other stranger who you perceive as quite detestable. Yes, these reactions are negative and difficult, but I can assure you that they are absolutely normal and understandable. They don’t say anything about you other than the fact that you are dealing with a very difficult situation.
It’s so tempting to place some of the blame onto yourself. Many of us do this. In the depths of our mind and in the backs of our hearts, we begin to wonder if maybe we should have given him more of the right type of attention. We wonder how we could have been so naive and so unobservant to allow this to happen. We wonder if, had we been a better wife, if we could have escaped this whole thing. These thoughts are common and understandable, but they are a dead end street (and they are also the beginning of the guilt.)
The past is the past. You can not change it, no matter how much you dwell on it. It is going to be your actions today that define what happens in the future. Your reactions to the past are understandable, but they very rarely do anything to help your today’s and your tomorrows.
Feeling Disgusted At The Sight Of Your Husband After The Affair: As I said, “dirty” feelings or feelings of disgust are quite common. This is true for many reasons. On the one hand, you’re furious and outraged by your husband’s betrayal. Anyone would be. This does not mean that you are wrong or flawed in any way. And on the other hand, you just can’t stop thinking about this. When you look at him, it’s quite possible that all you can do is imagine him as a liar and a fraud. Women often ask me if these feelings are ever going to go away. That really depends.
If you can work to determine the contributing factors and address them over time (while you are building yourself up and not blaming yourself,) then eventually you begin to view this in a more objective, and less personal, manner. Very eventually, you begin to look at it as almost a third party once you are able to create and develop some distance. If this seems impossible to you now, know that this really does just take time and small steps. And, it’s often quite gradual so that you often can’t see and feel it happening at the time.
It’s also important to note that many women tell me they feel this disgust when they try to be intimate or affectionate too soon, when they really can’t exhibit genuine feelings. They’re going through the motions or participating because they think that they should or because they desperately want for things to be better, but once they begin to feel these negative feelings, they will sometimes wonder if their relationship is destined to fail, as everything seems to be falling apart at the seams.
What’s usually happening is that you’re trying to force things and move forward before you are ready. It’s important to understand that an affair is a big blow to a marriage. Many things need to happen before you can comfortably proceed. And, you’ll often know when you’re overstepping or rushing because your discomfort will tell you. When you feel this disgust and “dirtiness” what this is telling you is that you need to hold off, that there is more work to do, that there are issues that need to be brought up and healed, but they have not yet been resolved.
There is absolutely no time line to healing. It is going to be a different time frame for each person. It helps if both parties are open, honest, and willing. Sometimes, people do not reach this place at the same time. But, you can help yourself by speaking up, being honest, and asking for exactly what you need. People often just hope that their spouse “will just know.” This leaves so much to chance. As unfair as it can feel that you have to take the initiative, doing so will often give you a better result much sooner.