Have you just discovered that your partner is in love with someone else and are you thinking that surviving emotional infidelity is going to be impossible?
Does some part of you wish that your partner was just having sex with someone else, not having feelings that he once had for you. Do you lie awake at night picturing him sharing intimacies with her, wondering what you are missing.
Do you feel like you are going CRAZY??
Surviving emotional infidelity can be difficult but it is possible. Here are 5 tips for doing so.
#1 – Don’t take it personally.
I am sure that, since you discovered your partner’s emotional infidelity, you have spent a ton of time obsessing about what you could have done differently. If you had just had more sex with him or watched him play softball or listened to him when he talked about work, then maybe he wouldn’t have had to go out and find someone else.
Let me tell you that most emotional affairs are not something that someone goes looking for. They are something that just kind of happens.
A client of mine had been friends with a man for years – just friends – and then one day they ran into each other at the supermarket. Both were depressed and for some reason they confided in each other in a way that they hadn’t confided in their spouses. After that, they continued to share and support each other through their depressive times and before they knew what was happening they found themselves in love with each other.
Of course, emotional affairs don’t happen in a void. There is often some degree of distancing between partners that opens up a space for someone else to enter. But your partner’s affair is NOT YOUR FAULT. It most likely would have happened whether you listened to him complain about work or not.
#2 – Don’t suffer in silence.
For many people, once they find out their partner is having an emotional affair, they clam up.
Instead of addressing the issue with their partner, they retreat into themselves, obsessing about the affair, wondering whether it’s still happening, wondering what’s next for their relationship.
They wait, in silence, hoping it will all pass and go back to the way it used to be.
What they don’t do is talk with their partner about it directly. They don’t talk about why it happened, if it will continue, what needs to be done about the situation or how they each feel about what is going on.
It is important that, if your goal is surviving emotional infidelity, you talk with your partner about what is happening. You can do so alone or with a therapist, if you need help with the conversation. But you need to do it. Soon.
#3 – Get some help processing.
Another thing that you must do, once learning about an emotional affair, is get help processing it.
While friends are a great source of support, they are definitively on your side and might not give you the best advice.
It is important that you seek out the help of a life coach or a therapist to help you through these difficult times. You will be struggling with guilt, shame, anger, sadness, fear and many other emotions and if you don’t deal with them they could fester for a long time and getting past all this will be more difficult for you.
So, reach out for some professional help RIGHT NOW!
#4 – Take care of yourself.
When we are going through emotionally rough times there are two directions we tend to take: we either fall onto the couch with ice cream, binging Netflix, or we push ourselves really hard to get things done. Either one is meant to numb the pain that we are feeling.
I would encourage you to not partake in either extreme but to settle somewhere in the middle – to take care of yourself.
Make sure you get enough sleep every night and if you can’t sleep find something that will help you do so. Melatonin works for me or you could ask your doctor to give you something a little bit stronger. Without enough sleep you will find dealing with what you are dealing with more difficult.
Try to eat balanced meals regularly and indulge in only a reasonable amount of ice cream.
Lastly, make sure you get your heart rate up every day. Take a walk or dance around your apartment. Getting your heart rate up is an excellent way to deal with the stress you are under and the dopamine that your body will generate from the exercise will help smooth out your emotions.
If you take care of yourself instead of sinking into the couch you will find surviving emotional infidelity significantly easier.
#5 – Decide next steps.
As you process your partners emotional infidelity it is important that you start thinking about next steps.
This is not something that you need to do right away. It is important that you work through your feelings about what has happened first. But, when you are ready, it is important that you consider what you want the rest of your life to look like.
Do you see yourself staying with your partner, working through what happened and moving forward? Or do you think it’s time to cut bait and move on with your life so that you can find the happiness you want and deserve?
I have a client who discovered her husband’s emotional infidelity 3 years ago. In spite of his repeated promises that he would end it, her husband continued to have a non-sexual but intimate relationship with this woman. My client suspected it was happening and fought constantly about it with her husband but she continued to live with him.
She became obsessed about the relationship. It interfered with her every day peace of mind, her work and the joy she should have felt at her daughter’s wedding. To this day she is still with him and her life is on hold. Her self-esteem is low and her future unsure.
Don’t let yourself get to this point. Make a decision about what you want your life to look like and make it happen. Life is short. Don’t waste it!
Surviving emotional infidelity probably feels impossible and unlikely to you right now. But, I can promise you that you can and you will survive.
Think about all of the things that have happened in your life that you thought you wouldn’t survive. Did you survive them? Did you learn from them? Are you glad that you went through some of them because they changed the direction of your life?
This emotional infidelity can be the same. It’s another blip in the story that is your life. And you can survive it!
Try not to take it personally, talk to your partner about it, get help from outside sources, take care of yourself and look to the future. All of these things will help you get through this next period of your life intact.
Get started NOW! You can do it!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.