I am sometimes contacted by women whose husbands have cheated on them. They are frustrated and tell me that they really do want to save their marriages, still love their husbands, and want to reestablish trust. However, no matter what they do, they can’t seem to get over their anger and resentment about the affair. I often hear things like “although my husband says and does all of the right things, I still resent him and his cheating. My anger pushes him further away and makes everything worse, but I don’t know how to stop it.” Or, “I feel like punishing him all of the time because I’m angry, but I know our marriage won’t survive if he’s never forgiven and I can’t get over this.” There’s no doubt this is a difficult situation, but I know it’s possible to get over this resentment as I have done it. In this article, I’ll share tips and advice on how to lesson and the resentment and anger following the affair.
Know That Time And Trustworthy, Reassuring Behavior By Your Husband Are Necessary: The old saying “time heals all wounds” is not really that comforting here, but there is some truth to it. Not every day after an affair is going to be a pleasant one, but as more time passes, the amount of angst and pure palpable pain will start to lessen some. Some days are always better than others and some days you may feel receptive and forgiving while the next day you’ll feel angry and punishing. These swings are totally normal.
But, in the best case scenario, over time, your husband should be doing the right things to help you heal. Over time, you’ll start to see that he’s exactly where he says he is and he’s with who he should be. He’ll show you patience, reassurance, and affection as you move through the healing process, and he takes full responsibility. It really helps if a husband gives you limitless access to his email and cell phone records. You may chose not to use them, but you know that he has nothing to hide.
Over time, as you begin to see that you’re getting what you need, the resentment will start to abate. But to really keep it at bay, you’ll have to create a new reality.
Bringing About Emotions Other Than Resentment: In the meantime though, there are a few coping mechanisms that I can share. When the feelings of anger and resentment surface, pause for a minute and see if you can identify their cause. Is it possible that you are not getting all of your needs met? Do you need more affection, reassurance, or patience from your husband? If so, tell him. Because the resentment won’t abate until you get your needs met.
When this resentment starts to rear it’s ugly head, see it as the negative saboteur that it truly is. Tell yourself that every one makes mistakes and remind yourself of all of the times your husband stood by you, rocked a colicky baby, nursed you when you were sick, or listened to you when no one else would. An affair is an awful offense. I will never tell you that it is not. But, every one makes bad choices. Yes, this was a very bad one, but I’d be willing to bet that this man has other redeeming qualities that are worth a consideration.
Often, it helps to immediately busy yourself with something else until the thoughts leave your mind. My favorite way to do this was working out. It made me feel physically strong, it got my mind off of things, and I eventually lost some weight which ultimately helped my self esteem.
Making Your Marriage Better Than Ever Is A Very Effective Way To Stop The Resentment About The Affair: One big problem that I see in marriages affected by infidelity is that the person who was cheated on continues to walk around like the walking wounded while the person who cheated becomes the guy who’s so guilty he walks around with slumped shoulders and doesn’t make eye contract with anyone.
Both of these people are miserable and no one is having much fun. Needless to say, if you are continuously experiences negative feelings and experiences, you’re more likely to see the bad in most anything and it’s easier to hold onto your anger. So, to begin to break this cycle, you have to start breaking the negative feelings and experiences.
One way to do this is to try to have lighthearted fun with your partner (no intimacy if both parties aren’t comfortable). I’m talking about a walk in the park, an arcade, a ride to a lake. This outing isn’t meant to elicit any deep discussions or intimate moments. It’s just meant to show you that the two of you can interact with one another and have positive feelings and interactions again.
If these interactions are successful and frequent, the positive feelings with feed on one another and will edge both parties toward better communication, being open about their feelings and the marriage, and being on the same side.
The best case scenario is that the work you do on the marriage and open communication gives way to a marriage that is stronger, more fun, and more intimate. Because when both parties are happy, fulfilled, having fun ,and having their needs met, neither are clinging to, (or resentful about) the past, because they are looking to the future with hope and anticipation.