Affair healing Blog
After listening to a podcast interview with Guy Winch, the author of Emotional First Aid, I ordered and read his book. While it does not focus specifically on affair recovery, most of the problems addressed in the book are commonly experienced in the affair healing process. In each chapter, the author (a practicing psychologist) discusses an emotional wound using real-life examples and then offers practical research-based remedies.
Each of these emotional wounds is covered in a chapter of the book: Rejection, Loneliness, Loss & Trauma, Guilt, Rumination, Failure, and Low Self-Esteem. Anyone struggling to heal from wounds of infidelity would benefit from the instruction and remedies presented by the author.
Here are a few quotes from Emotional First Aid:
When psychologists asked people to compare the pain of rejection to physical pains they had experienced, they rated their emotional pain as equal in severity to that associated with natural childbirth and cancer treatments!
Loss and trauma inflict three psychological wounds, each of which represents a different set of bones that need to be reset. First, loss and trauma can create such havoc in our lives that they threaten our self-perceptions, our roles, and our very sense of identity. Second, tragic events often challenge our fundamental assumptions about the world and our place in it, such that we struggle to make sense of the events or to integrate them into the larger framework of our belief systems. Third, many of us find it difficult to remain connected to the people and activities we used to find meaningful…
One of the reasons rumination is so difficult to treat is its self-reinforcing nature. Ruminating about problems tends to make us even more upset about them, and the more upset we are, the stronger the urge to ruminate becomes.
People using self-distanced perspectives reported thinking about their painful experiences significantly less often, and they felt less emotional pain when they did ruminate about them than people who used self-immersed perspectives. These findings held true for both depressive and anger ruminations.
Following an affair, the recovery of the marriage is not the only option. But partners who decide to heal together will take different steps toward that goal.
The vertical pairing of the steps listed below depicts how partners are connected to each other’s experiences and actions. Discovery should be met with disclosure. One partner’s trauma should lead to the other’s remorse which, in turn, can shorten the traumatic ordeal. Empathy should be offered to pain. Honesty needs to be met with acceptance. Atonement encourages forgiveness, and both partners must take the vulnerable risks necessary to reestablish trust.
If either partner fails to take the necessary steps, the journey stops. If they remain stuck, then complete relationship healing cannot occur.
Having already reviewed the steps of the Involved Partner, let's consider what steps the Injured Partner must take if a couple chooses to heal their marriage...
"I'm ready to give up this hurt..."
A few nights ago, I came across another documentary that relates to affair healing issues. In her self-filmed documentary, A Way to Forgiveness, Erin takes a 550-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain in an attempt to find healing from the hurt of her impending divorce.
Here's what she says in the beginning of the film as she prepares for the trip: "I'm ready to stop crying every day. I'm ready to not collapse as I walk through the house. I just fall to the ground and sob from the pain. I'm ready to give up this hurt. I'm ready to, hopefully, find find a way to forgive the person who I trusted the most and ended up betraying me. I'm ready to pack my bags and just walk. I'm ready."
Last weekend, a clicked on a documentary that showed up on recommended watch list, expecting to be inspired by a story of one man's triumph over adversity. Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story.
We usually expect our marriage to last a lifetime. What starts with promises of faithfulness and endurance, we believe, will survive any challenge "for better or for worse." Most marriages do; some even thrive. But many die in ways never anticipated.
When the death of a marriage is a mutual choice between two partners, grieving its loss may be a short-term process. The decision to end their relationship often follows a period of prolonged suffering, making divorce feel like relief. Similar to a funeral, partners make the appropriate arrangements, pay their final respects, bury the marriage, and move on with their lives.
But a marriage killed by betrayal is not so easily mourned.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.