Recovering from infidelity

by Lisa
(New York)

It has been about 9 months since I found out there was "another woman" in my husband and my relationship (we have been married for nearly 12 years). While my husband denies any sexual relationship, he did frequently go out to bars with her, and even traveled with her, taking her to dinner with his work colleagues and staying overnight in a hotel with her. (He travels a lot for work, which put an additional strain on the marriage). He initially denied everything, but when I confronted him with what I knew (work people eventually told me, though my instinct "told" me long before). We went through the usual anger, tears and accusations, he told me he loved me but wasn't "in love with me" and so on.

Anyways, we decided to make it work. He cut off all communication with her. He is being kind, buys me flowers and we are having sex again. He has apologised for what happened, was patient with my initial distrust as he travelled again and has promised he will never do anything like this again. I really want this to work, I love him and believe marriage can survive if we are mature and work it. The trouble is, I am having nightmares now about him cheating on me again. In my dreams I am angry, I sometimes hit him, I demand full disclosure and he admits this has been going on for years. Sometime in my dreams he is totally heartless and doesn't care, and we break up. In waking life I do suspect he has been in someway unfaithful before, but he denies it. I know dwelling on problems won't fix them, and I don't want to ruin our chances of happiness by rehashing this over and over. But I guess I feel I am the one who shoulders most of the the burden of recovery; he seems, now he is forgiven, that the past is the past and we should move on. I know he dislikes emotional confrontation, despite being a strong leader in other areas of his life. In addition, one of the people who told me details has also been cheated on by her partner who my husband works with, she feels all the men of this work are cheaters and she seems to not want to let me move on, as if now we have both been cheated on we are "allies." I can't ignore this person as she is part of my life, but I also feel her suspicion and anger are toxic. Please help! I am an otherwise balanced and happy person, but I don't know how to really recover and move on from this.

Ben's Answer:

Even though your husband seems to have let it go and "moved on," doesn't mean that your feelings aren't still valid and important to talk about. He doesn't like emotional confrontation - but you didn't ask him to be unfaithful. It's not that you need to continue to be in conflict with your husband, because, as you are aware - these feelings are yours. The feelings that are making themselves known through your dreams - anger, fear, mistrust, resentment, betrayal.

Your friend obviously is not helping matters. I think it is very important for you to assert yourself with her and with kindness, tell her that you don't want to be her ally in pain and anger. Misery loves company as they say.

I think it's important to continue having an open line of communication with your husband, and he will just have to continue to be patient with you as you learn to trust and be open to him again. No way around that.

It would also be very helpful to doEFT/Meridian Tapping for yourself - and treat this as a trauma, like any other. The shock of finding out, the feelings of betrayal, the anger, hurt and imagination running wild - these are not unlike trauma symptoms. Meridian Tapping can usually help to permanently release these intense thoughts and emotions, and usually pretty quickly. The important thing is to not run from your negative feelings, but face them head on. This happens naturally and easily when you use the Tapping process.

It takes courage, maturity and commitment to do what you are doing. I wish you the very best.

-Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Meridian Tapping Therapist

New eBook: Meridian Tapping and Mindfulness for Depression - pre-sale discount available now.

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