What Are the Common Feelings of a Betrayed Spouse After the Discovery of the Affair?
By Kajay Williams
An affair can feel like the worst possible thing to ever happen to a relationship. Discovery of an affair can leave you feeling totally isolated and alone and it can also make you question everything you ever thought about your spouse and your relationship. But the truth is, after the discovery of an affair, there are some common feelings that most betrayed spouses will experience. Here are some of them.
Anger is one of the most common feelings of a betrayed spouse. It’s also a very reasonable emotion to feel after the discovery of an affair as your spouse treated you very unfairly. Anger can be mixed up with all sorts of thoughts and emotions, such as “Why has this happened to me? This is so unfair”. Anger is a common emotion, but it is also common for anger to develop into something more – aggression, or feelings of aggression.
The betrayed spouse may harbor secret fantasies of confronting their spouse’s lover, and they may even fantasize about being violent towards them. In extreme scenarios, the betrayed spouse may actually cross the line from fantasy to reality.
The betrayed spouse may also just generally feel angry in everyday life, even when they are not directly thinking about their spouse. They might find themselves becoming angry and frustrated towards their children, towards their friends or even towards complete strangers.
It’s common to feel fearful and anxious after the discovery of a spouse’s affair, as your whole world has been turned upside down. A marriage can feel like one of the safest places in the world – when you and your spouse are happy, it can feel like nothing can break you. Your life feels safe.
When you discover that your spouse has had an affair, it can make you question everything about your marriage and it can make you feel incredibly insecure – and fearful of what is going to happen next. When your safe place – i.e., your marriage, no longer feels safe, it is entirely normal to feel fearful or anxious.
You might think that it is the betrayer that would feel guilty following the discovery of the affair, but oftentimes, it is the betrayed spouse that feels guilt. This is because they tend to blame themselves for the affair and they feel guilt because they believe that it is their fault that their spouse strayed.
A betrayed spouse might think that they should have spent more time with their spouse, that they should have put more effort into the relationship, that they should have made themselves more attractive – but the truth is, it is not the betrayed spouse that should harbor these feelings of guilt. Despite any possible shortcomings in the relationship, the betrayed spouse didn’t go out and have an affair, potentially putting their marriage in jeopardy – their spouse did.
Confusion and Doubt
Because the discovery of an affair can throw your whole life into disarray, it’s entirely normal to feel confused and doubtful as to what the future holds. You might have no idea what you want from your relationship or from the future, and you might be very confused as to your feelings towards your spouse. You may sway between feelings of love for your spouse – wanting to remember what your marriage used to be like before the affair – and even feelings of hate for your spouse.
This mishmash of emotions can leave you feeling very confused and uncertain of your future. Doubts are also very common – the betrayed spouse may feel doubtful of their spouse’s apologies or declarations of love, but they may also feel doubts as to whether or not they want to continue on in their relationship with their spouse.
Unable to Interact with Your Spouse
It can be difficult to know how to act with your spouse after the discovery of an affair, especially if you are still in that stage where you are unsure of whether or not to continue with your relationship. You might even feel completely unable to interact with your spouse – for example, physical contact such as kissing, hugging or even holding hands could feel completely off-limits, strange or even unsafe. It might make you cringe if your spouse tries to lean in for a kiss.
You might feel like you’re contradicting yourself if you do things for your spouse such as make them dinner or wash their clothes, and this can make it difficult to interact with your spouse in any way. In social situations, it might be difficult to know how to act around your partner – the situation might call for you to be your usual loving selves, but you might want to stay as far away from your spouse as possible.
Because an affair is a traumatic experience, it can jumble up your feelings and make you completely unsure as to what you actually feel. You might have lots of different feelings – they may be all jumbled up, and you might sway from feeling very sad to feeling very angry to feeling vengeful. You might feel like you can’t trust anyone, and you might feel overwhelmed with emotion. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might actually have no feelings at all.
You might feel completely numb and you might find it difficult to articulate your feelings at all. Research has shown that those who have gone through a trauma – which an affair most definitely is – often go through times where they have no emotions at all and they feel completely numb to everything going on around them.
The discovery of an affair will lead to lots of different emotions – many of them intense and at times, overwhelmingly negative emotions. This is entirely normal – but it’s worth mentioning that as you start to move on from the affair, to whatever conclusion, these emotions will start to pass. They won’t all go away at once, but over time, you’ll start to let go of these negative emotions – and you can truly start to move on.
What To Do If Your Spouse Is Having An Affair?
Time To Act: There is hope.
An affair may be the best thing to happen to a marriage or relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, experts say that many couples survive infidelity and are able to rebuild a stronger, better and more fulfilling marriage after the betrayal.
Whether you suspect your partner or spouse is cheating on you or whether you have just discovered your spouse’s affair or whether you are wondering if you want to save your marriage or opt for separation after an affair or whether you want to redefine the boundaries of your relationship or marriage to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, I can help you.
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