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I recently was in London and visited Platform 9 and 3/4. No magic there but many tourists wanting to make the special photo for Face Book (of course).
London is great, I can imagine the author of the HP books writing in one of the nice pubs. It has that eerie atmosphere needed to create a fantasy world. In particular when rainy and foggy. It would be great, if we could indeed use some of the spells mentioned in the books. I would have no hesitation to ask Hermione to do an incantation to help people with the harmful memories they cannot let go. On the other hand, we do not want to let go of all….as we would not learn. People learn from dealing with the pain.
PAIN is experienced as physical pain and it is overbearing. This is true for all grief. In regards to an affair after which both partners want to work on healing, both may experience the pain with the difference that one (who betrayed) wants the other to let go faster, as it hurts them to see their spouse suffer. This is however, a good thing. Seeing your spouse suffer, and responding helpfully is a huge part of HEALING.
So, no magic.
Many spouses who have had an affair feel lost in how to help their partner and themselves. Please refer to the reconnection post and you might need some help as well.
Talking about PAIN:
The pain you experience is as a loss…as something that could have been and it is not. A partner you love who leaves you. A loved one who betrays your trust (affair, addiction, stealing, gambling, porn….).
After feeling numb and hoping it is not true (known as denial), the pain comes in waves and it pierces your heart. The pain as a result of an affair has that “nasty” connotation attached to it…”she must have deserved it…she was a nagging bitch…or he must have asked for it….”. Most often the betrayed person thinks this as well. Some website authors do blame the victim…Not me.
No one asks to be hurt…(there is this exeption but in that case it is consensual 😉 ).
NO ONE DESERVES THIS PAIN.
Acceptance of a Rather Harsh Reality
But, with hard work….we can all heal. As stated before, we can only heal when we accept what has happened as a reality. I am aware that this is very hard. It involves a lot of good communication and acceptance of a harsh reality is something we rather not do. On the other hand, if we do not accept that it happened in its full “glory” or rather gory….it will keep on popping up and we do not want that. Because once we have accepted that it DID happen and that it WAS BAD, we can learn to move forward to other and better things.
Some authors write about STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN, by creating new memories. I like this as it gives hope and by starting something NEW, you will not stumble over all those triggered bad memories that take you right back to square 1.
Some people destroy old stuff that reminds them of the pain. Others do not. I often suggest caution and giving it some time to think about, but I am definitely in favour of burning all the underwear of your beloved who strayed. Nothing can be more satisfying. And while you are at it, throw away or cut in pieces some of their ugliest pieces of clothing. Some find it very satisfying to burn some of those underpants. When you do it, do it safely, you do not want to explain the fire fighters what you were doing!
With other things (memorabilia) you might want to be careful. Some have value for others and maybe you can later on love the item again in a different way. I am thinking about a gift your spouse gave you while they were having an affair. You might do well with giving it to a person who does not know the story behind it. If it is particularly valuable, give it anonymously. Place a note with it that this is given to them based on being a good person, so they do not think there is a secret admirer at work (yikes).
It is hard to start all over again. Some couples move to another town or province or even country. This is in particular done when the affair has become the topic of town gossip. On the other hand, you might want to stay….as no one (NO ONE) is without regrets of things that they have done and that were wrong. By staying you show people that you have guts and that you both want to work hard to create a good relationship. You bet many can learn from the two of you!
No Hiding from This!
Unfortunately, there is stuff you cannot hide from and therefore accepting the reality of the bad stuff is crucial. It means that you will be able to face triggers and refuse that these throw you back to square one, over and over again. These triggers can be hotels (where all the deception happened), it can be towns where the stuff took place, restaurants, pubs, and this is very ugly…right there in the office or on the remote work-sites. By accepting that your partner did have an affair and that they took their AP to those places, you can learn to see the place as what it is :Just a building! You might need time for this and please take the time, but eventually you can enter these buildings, towns or restaurants without feeling rage and or anxiety. You will never forget….that is unfortunate, but it is also your protection. YOU KNOW and you are much wiser. Never again will you accept deceptive behavior from your spouse again…and they know it too, because you tell them!
Horrible, uncontrollable anger is often a component of the process. This happens even to people who never used name-calling, screaming and yelling and wanting to lash out before the affair. When people do not want to hurt the other, they often turn to the home, walls, furniture, valuables, or to themselves. SELF HARMING is often reported when trying to come to turns with the reality of the betrayal. Here again, the pain is so raw as the betrayal is done by someone who is suppose to love, respect and protect you. Both partners may fall into a cycle of self-abuse. The betrayed spouse might continuously make comments about the affair and the spouse who did it might feel out of control as there seems no end to the anger and grief. When couples get into this cycle they will benefit from seeking help. Seeking help does not necessarily need to come from a trained professional. Some people feel better when talking with a trusted friend or family member. But, please be very picky who you confide in. If you have children in the home, regardless of their age, it is important to do the work somewhere else. Your children should not be part of this.
Marriage Therapy Resorts?
OK I am open to suggestions. I have heard about some nice “marriage enrichment” resorts, but so far I am not impressed with the content on offer. I do know they are pricey. I just wonder who runs these resorts and what their training is. The couples who reported to have attended did not feel that the most important issues were addressed and most state that although they had some good weeks afterwards, they soon fell back into the old pattern. I also heard about some “ego state therapy” and although this can be helpful, I wonder about its appropriateness in resorts.
Is there a time line?
No, there is not! The only thing I can state is that gradually on there should be some progress. The infamous: two steps forward and one back and sometimes even a slide back to the bottom of the hill is not uncommon. It is like writing a dissertation for your PhD and trying to get ethics board and committee approval, only a lot more painful in a purely physical sense. I like the metaphor of the boulder rolling up a steep hill. We all know that it is nearly impossible, in particular when, in the story, Zeus prevented Sisyphus to succeed. Sisyphus, according to Greek mythology was the king of Ephyra and he was punished for his despicable behavior by Zeus. An appropriate punishment? If the boulder symbolizes a relationship and if the top of the mountain allows for a fragile but beautiful resting place, it seems a great metaphor for a marriage. It is fragile and needs nurturing and it can be destroyed, but it can also be the most satisfying accomplishment of your life.
A NEW BODY!
There is this thing people tell each other that the best “revenge” is to show that you are doing well! Some people take that very far. I have seen women who go to extreme weight loss but don’t end there, they use cosmetic surgery and hope to show the world (and him) that they are “so over it” and doing better than ever.
“HO STOP THERE”, is this indeed what you are showing the world (or indeed them who betrayed you) that you are doing better?
A focus on YOU, on your health is important, to change yourself in some sort of “plastic girl” or steroid enhanced super toy”, will not make you happy EVER. If you change yourself, because you believe that your partner betrayed you because you are no longer attractive…think about this…..often this is not the reason of the affair. In fact, the “third persons” are more often than not NOT GOOD LOOKING AT ALL! In fact, they often look cheap, vulgar and fake.
Going to the gym is fine, great! Don’t get me wrong, if you do this for yourself and you focus on becoming healthy in all sorts of ways…please sign up for the classes and go for it. If you do this as a sort of revenge action, you will get hurt guaranteed! Of course, your spouse might find you more attractive when you look fit, but this is not what saves your marriage….what saves your marriage is you working on your confidence and on communication.
…and an important reminder, think about who you are and who you want to be. You do not want to resemble the bimbo with the fake everything who tried to steal your husband, or the “over confident” “gentle guy who takes on a “mentor” role for the naive and very married female (the male predator). As this male has so much time at hand, he is very likely not gainfully employed. No wonder he can work out!
Did you ever read what you can do with your body as long as you pay?…To me those females look butchered. They are not pretty and certainly not elegant :). You can’t buy elegance! These individuals won’t age gracefully…they will look not only old, but odd when they age. Aging is beautiful. Look well after yourself and your loved ones and you will be beautiful inside and out!
So all of you who are deeply hurt…look in the mirror…go naked and tell yourself what you like about your body. If you are a mom and you have some extra skin on your lower abdomen, be proud of it. You gave birth and your body was capable to do that. Your tummy stretched and stretched and of course, there will be some signs of that. Be very proud of that! If you breastfed your babies and your boobs stretched and stretched…you will have some fine lines (stretch marks) on the sides of your boobs. Be proud of those!
After that, get into that shower moisturize your beautiful body and dress in your nice and comfy clothes and tell yourself what you like about your mind. Last, but not least, focus on the people who love and respect you. The others…..they have problems :)!