When I discovered that my husband had an affair, I was absolutely devastated. The betrayal was so painful and yet, I felt judged, blamed and ashamed.
I suffered strong, debilitating emotions that were difficult to express and handle. People didn't know how to help me and existing material was written by psychologists or long after the suffering point of finding out. No one talked about how it truly felt, or how to tangibly overcome the pain of divorcing when your spouse has already found someone else. I needed a way to heal and find myself again. I also had a strong conviction to forgive my husband and find love again.
Yes - I was partially responsible for my marriage ending and my husband having an affair. But it was also not my fault nor was it right of him. People fall out of love - it happens. But too many people stay in a marriage for kids or a mortgage and forget about love. Love is what matters. And when it's gone - problems creep in.
This book delves deeply and openly into how a good marriage can go so wrong. I share my raw feelings upon discovering the affair and the insight I gained as I analyzed, questioned, understood and healed. I give you honest and true ways to overcome the affair; to sincerely forgive your spouse; and to fully heal and improve yourself for a new relationship.
This book will help you see yourself, your spouse and your marriage in a new light. Whether you've had an affair, been cheated on or just in a marriage that lacks some luster - this book will change your perspective on marriage, affairs and divorcing.
Why I wrote this book:
• Everyone whose spouse had an affair felt shame.
• Marriage is a shared responsibility; but I didn't understand how the affair was also my fault.
• When I was really devastated, most people didn't know how to help me.
• Society scrutinizes and judges affairs incorrectly; Life changes people, and people fall out of love. It's no one's fault.
• A lot of people are not in love with their spouse anymore, but don't know what
• Divorce is unnecessarily adversarial and confusing.
• I was disrupting the lives of my children and choosing to leave anyway.
• I had a good marriage. I needed to figure out what happened to not repeat the cycle.
• I wanted to heal fully; not live in anger.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Divorcing, Understanding, Healing
After an Affair
By Evelyn George
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Evelyn George
All rights reserved.
It does get better as time goes on. And sometimes the only solace is that it can't get any worse. But finding out that your partner had an affair feels like being assaulted with every negative emotion all at once. This section describes all the negative feelings, raw emotions and jumbled thoughts I felt after finding out my husband had an affair. I hope by sharing this vulnerable glimpse, that you will understand how truly devastating an affair is; and how difficult it is to deal with. At first I felt these emotions all mashed together on a constant basis. Like – not an hour went by when I didn't think about it and feel one of these stressful emotions. As time went by, they dissipated and spread out. Some just needed time and a good cry to release; others needed therapy. And some of these feelings required an effortful change in perspective, while others required that I change how I lived my life. But the feelings during the first 6 months were truly horrible. And the whole first year was an emotional roller coaster.
** This section only discusses the feelings, but there are ways to heal each one described later.
The Endless Cycle of Horrible Feelings
The whole world as I knew it was obliterated. Separating is scary and overwhelming but when you are separating because of an affair, it is devastating. In some ways it is like your spouse just died. The affair creates a swift and painful amputation from someone that you had relied on for X number of years. I no longer wanted anything to do with him, and yet we had to sort out major details like how to split up our house, kids, money. And yet, I no longer knew him. I no longer trusted him. I hated him. It felt like someone had sucked out a piece of my insides. I would sob and hyperventilate. I would spend hours sitting in angry thoughts. I didn't eat, didn't wash my hair, I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't think straight and everything was an effort. I wished for sleep but got no comfort from my churning mind. I was devastated at how my marriage was being blown to bits by my very own husband! Had my whole marriage been a sham? The image of my nice, loyal husband, KABOOM – Gone! The support from my partner of 13 years, KABOOM - Gone! Life as I knew it, KABOOM – Gone!
There was no time to prepare or go slowly. My (and your) spouse just changed everything. Not only is your life changing about home, roles, finances, and becoming single again, but everything you thought and believed about someone you loved has just been reduced to ash.
This was by far the emotion that left the deepest scar. Of all the things that this affair did to me, this was the worst. This is the reason I am writing this book. This is the reason I want affairs to stop. I need people to understand that it isn't like having the odd cigarette behind your partners back, or telling them your new coat cost way less than it did. This is serious betrayal. And it hurts.
If you love someone and are having an affair you need to stop it. You are hurting them more than you can fathom. If you love someone but want to have an affair, please end the relationship now before you do. Ifsomeone has cheated on you – I am so sorry.
Betrayal isn't about the fact that your spouse has found someone else. That is frightfully easy to do actually. If you think about it – you interact with probably 20 people a day and many of those people may be attractive or interesting to talk to. But since you are in a monogamous relationship, you have never sent out a signal that you are available. It just turns out that your spouse did. They enjoyed that lingering flirt or attraction and kept going with it. And it could have ended there harmlessly. But it didn't. And when it didn't – everything changed.
Betrayal is about the fact that someone told you they loved you, faithfully and unconditionally and then did something that completely contradicted that.
Betrayal is about the fact that your spouse chose to soil your relationship by giving someone else the best of them and becoming withdrawn and critical of you.
Betrayal is when your spouse lies to you directly when you ask why they seem to be different.
Betrayal is when your spouse knows that you are suffering due to your marriage issues but still chooses not to end the relationship or expose the affair.
Betrayal is when someone knowingly does something that will hurt you.
Betrayal is when someone takes the trust you have given them and uses it to do something they wish at your expense.
Betrayal is when someone knows something is wrong but doesn't tell you. Even when you ask.
The element of deception is a big problem. The affair exposed that my husband had not been honest, forthcoming, or open about his feelings regarding our marriage and how we operated as a couple. This then led to him becoming attracted and pursuing another woman behind my back. As he pursued this, he had to lie about why he put a password on his phone, and why he was travelling more, and why he seemed to be losing weight and more energized. As the relationship progressed to sexual, he had to lie about why he didn't want to have sex and why some of his friends seemed to be avoiding me. It seemed I had now been deceived for over a year. It wasn't just that he had hidden his feelings for someone else that was deceptive. It was the fact that he'd gone to such trouble to pretend that things were OK with me when they weren't. It was the fact that he'd known that I was hurting and bothered by these changes in him, but never gave me the truth. It may seem like these little things would seem like nothing compared to him BEING with someone else. But, it is these series of smaller lies throughout our daily life that have left the longest hurt.
The fact that he never bothered to tell me of his marital malaise was very troubling to me. This was a betrayal on its own. In any relationship, each person has a responsibility to communicate openly and honestly. If something's wrong, you have an obligation to say something. You don't just get to pretend it's not there and go seek that somewhere else. This is not like having different interests, such as you preferring tennis and your spouse preferring basketball, so you play these separately with other people. You and your partner have an obligation to speak the truth and keep the relationship working. When one of you stops, it is a signal that the relationship no longer matters.
The fact that my husband wanted to be with someone else was not something I considered deceptive. Definitely hurtful! Definitely a problem! But the attraction to someone else was a product of something else, and his desire to be with that person is an honest response. Unfortunately he didn't seem to understand that he cannot have those feelings for someone else while remaining married to me. The small and continuous lies that he told to maintain his relationship with me while wanting this other person left big scars. And the fact that he'd never told me that he was unhappy also left big scars. I lost all faith and trust in people. I don't know how I'll trust another person again if my own husband could lie to me so easily. And if I couldn't rely on asking a question and getting an honest answer – then what hope was there in ever solving this problem?
I was crushingly depressed. It was hard to get up and go to work. It took serious coaching to muster through making dinner and homework and bedtime for the kids. Everything was an effort. I was drained. I cried at everything. And I knew I looked empty, tired and lost. I had one friend show up one day and later told me how terribly sad I looked. I have been various shades of depressed all my life but this was the darkest shade of grey I have ever been, so dark that I felt it would never go away. There were days I felt suicidal. Not because I hated life or felt pity or despair – but because I felt so utterly void of happiness and peace. Every minute was difficult to get through. Every single one. Sleep offered little comfort, and alcohol numbed it for a bit but at the expense of a different darkness the next day. My brain couldn't think of anything positive without that grey shade washing over it. Happy memories brought tears. Angry memories brought tears. There was simply no joy. Everything about life changed. The simple things I took for granted were gone and the path I was on just disappeared.
I balled my eyes out at love songs or by seeing certain places as I drove by. I couldn't watch TV or movies because there was always some reminder of what I had, what has happened or what I have lost. TV shows where someone is having an affair; movies about falling madly in love or those commercials with some cute '2-parent-2-kid-families' who are all sharing breakfast together. I was furious over the changes I had brought on my kids by separating, and felt like a terrible Mom. I hated myself for having no energy, for forgetting what people had told me, for not being as thoughtful or generous. I had very little to give. I looked awful. I hated lowering my standards in order to cope with things that I used to find effortless. I hated people feeling sorry for me and I hated not being able to tell people what is wrong with me because I don't want to talk about it. It was SO SO SO SO SO SO SO incredibly depressing and frustrating.
I have cried softly and loudly and silently. I have screamed at the universe. I have had to hold my arms around my stomach and fall to the carpet. I have had to place two hands on my chest because I felt like my heart was going to split. I have had such severe anxiety that I've been panicked to catch my breath. I lost a lot of weight. I lost interest in everything and nothing brought me pleasure.
An affair makes you feel insane. The lack of trust and the deception seep into the crevices of your mind and don't let go. They make you feel crazy. If you were already susceptible to a mental illness, there's no doubt an affair will trigger an episode. Even for people who have always been stable and collected, an affair can make you do things you've never done before or even contemplated. You might check old phone records or stalk the lover; snap at people; go wreck something of theirs or have a public fight about it. If you're still with your spouse, you may call them obsessively and if they don't pick up, you become paranoid and anxious and freak out.
Your brain is like a broken record at this point – stuck on the scratch in your perfect and lovely world. The affair creates an obsessive desire to erase the scratch by analyzing the circumstances that created it. The problem with any obsession is that it takes over your life at the expense of everything else. When you feel crazy – you feel incompetent, but you know you're not. You want to stop thinking about the affair but you can't. And the invasive, nasty thoughts make you feel like a bad person. But you're not.
It sucks to be transformed into someone you're not while being completely aware of this unpleasant transformation. It makes you crazy. And crazy takes many forms. I couldn't make a decision or believe anything people said. I withdrew from the entire world and lived in a fog with the auto-pilot on. I couldn't stop chanting 'WHY' in my head. I know people who drank heavily and had sex a bit too dangerously. I know people who decided to change their entire life to get as far away from the affair as possible. Some people become petrified that their spouse had truly spawned into a different human being who will destroy them or disappear or take the kids. And others become enraged with revenge, intent on sabotaging their spouse's relationship or life in some way. Affairs really hurt. They destroy a foundation of stability and trust within ourselves and create such disbelief that we lose our anchored sense of self, leading to crazy behaviors that we neither expect nor desire.
Shame was the hardest for my friends and family to grasp and respond to. Pretend you had been tricked into giving a large sum of money for the promise of something that you didn't get. Would you want to tell people? Or would you feel like a fool for falling for a scam? When I expressed feelings of shame even the therapists had an automatic response that I should not feel this way because I had not done anything wrong. However, their pondering eyes and long pauses told me that they comprehended the conundrum. People seemed to acknowledge a natural response to feel ashamed but were equally perplexed by its illogic. It seemed an invalid emotion for someone who had been wronged, and yet there it was giant and oppressively weighing on me. Apparently by the law of moral justice I should not feel ashamed. And yet I did. My brother was the first person to bravely acknowledge that the shame I felt had some merit. He said many males would conclude I wasn't giving my husband enough sex! Thanks Bro! But he was on the right track. Not about how much sex we were having, but about how there was an automatic reaction to wonder what I had been lacking. This is degrading even as a private exercise let alone having strangers and family ponder it aloud. Was something wrong with me? Had I done something to deserve this?
I felt such a lot of shame for how the affair exposed the personal world of our marriage to the social world. It meant people wanted to know what had gone wrong in our marriage. It suggested that I wasn't an attentive or loving wife. It declared that my husband had not respected me. It made me a fool that my husband had cheated and lied to me. I was robbed of my husband right before my eyes.
The shame poisoned so many other things. I avoided social situations so that I didn't have to answer the dreaded question about why we were separating. I was terrified of those particularly insensitive people who would ask 'was there another woman?' like it was actually a factual question and not a terribly embarrassing and hurtful one. I didn't make eye contact with anyone or want to engage in social activities. I felt like less of a person and had no confidence. I felt like something was wrong with me, and it was plainly visible to everyone even though I didn't know what it was.
The shame comes from feeling like your partner's affair was because of you. This shame leads to withdrawing and hiding yourself. In the after-math of finding out, I have seen people gain weight, wear layers of clothing or frumpy clothes, drink; move houses and have serious health issues. Shame brings out a self-destructive side that we have to get under control.
It is obvious that getting dumped would make you feel rejected. But it's so embarrassingly pitiful when your partner has already moved on before they bothered to break up with you. It creates a deeper rejection. It's not just the 'we don't seem to click anymore' or 'you don't seem to do it for me anymore' which sucks for anyone's ego. But if you'd been broken up with before the affair, then at least you would have been respected and honored. Instead, your partner basically dumped you without having the courtesy or decency to tell you first.
My feelings of rejection led to some stupid and self-destructive choices to feel better. I drank a lot of wine and tried to throw myself into work. I had a party and invited lots of women in the hopes of feeling like I had lots of friends. I embarrassingly tried to pick up a guy at a gym (which was completely unsuccessful). I applied for new jobs in the hopes that being selected would make me feel chosen (which would have been disastrous considering how badly I performed in those same months). My intent was to move on and get on with life again. But I had not realized that what I was doing was falsely and superficially trying to find validation as a person again. I was trying to erase feeling so rejected. But these acts just made me feel stupid. This was not an authentic way for me to behave or find peace.
The problem with this deep rejection is that it leaves you desperately seeking validation. Being rejected by someone you've trusted and loved creates an emptiness or void. We felt loved but now we don't. We felt desired but now we've been passed over. The feelings of love after years of marriage are not always hot and passionate, but the loss of them feels like sleeping without a pillow. You must do something to stop feeling so empty because otherwise you'll self-destruct. Yet, it seems many ways to appease our ego are also destructive. There is a nastiness with being cheated on that makes you feel desperate to wipe it away, quickly. Be careful in how you seek validation. By looking for it on the outside with cheap sex or superficial rebounds; or numbing the insides with alcohol or food will only make things worse. You have to learn to like and love yourself again – no matter what your spouse is doing or has done.
Excerpted from Divorcing, Understanding, Healing by Evelyn George. Copyright © 2016 Evelyn George. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Affairs Hurt, 1,
The Endless Cycle of Horrible Feelings, 2,
Separated vs. Divorced Legally, 27,
Separated vs. Divorced Socially, 28,
The Problem with Divorcing Badly, 31,
Types of Lawyers, 35,
A Draft Separation Agreement, 40,
Kids and Divorce, 47,
Understanding Society's Lack of Understanding, 74,
Understanding (and Stop Hating) Your Spouse, 80,
Understanding for You, 104,
Understanding Affairs, 118,
Understanding Marriage Breakdown – (the First Cause of Every Affair), 132,
You Have to fix Yourself, 168,
Clean Up Your Crap, 168,
Healing Those Horrible Feelings, 182,
Healing Self Worth, 183,
Healing Rejection, 187,
Healing Shame, 191,
Dealing with Anger, 192,
Healing From Betrayal, 195,
You Must Like Yourself, 202,
Judgement of Affairs, 220,
Finding Love Again, 223,
Soul Mates vs. Love Mates, 224,
Redefine Love, 225,
Trusting In Love Again, 230,
Believe in Love, 233,
Then I Fell in Love, 235,
Love Was Lost.... Redefined.... Found, 238,