When you began your affair did you ever imagine that you would someday find yourself reading an article on surviving infidelity and depression?
Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that the thing that started out to be so amazingly wonderous would lead you down this dark path to where you find yourself today?
The thing about infidelity is that it’s a mass of contradictions. When you are with your person you are high as a kite. You are madly in love and the sex is great. And then, when you aren’t with this person, you feel like shit. Your self-worth is in the toilet and you are wracked with guilt.
And what comes with the guilt? Depression.
Fortunately, there are strategies for surviving infidelity and depression.
#1 – Keep your mind busy.
I have a married client who was having an affair with a married man, a stay at home dad she had known for years but with whom she had just started a sexual relationship.
From the moment the affair began, she was obsessed with this man and how alive he made her feel. Her marriage was not a happy one, and she didn’t really like her stay at home mom life, so this affair was the perfect escape from her hum drum existence.
Unfortunately, this obsession only got worse the longer the affair lasted. She would think about him morning, noon and night. She didn’t sleep and was distracted from her chores and her kids and keeping the family train on track.
The obsession was eating her alive and, man, she was depressed.
We knew that she needed to do something that would take her mind off her guy, even for a bit. She decided that she would give yoga a try. And it WORKED!
For my client, to spend even just 1.5 hours a day at a yoga class, focusing on the breath and challenging poses instead of her guy, was enough of a break for her to reduce the obsession. Her mind got to rest which was a huge relief for her.
She still couldn’t let go of him but her mind quieted and he consumed less of her head space. It also helped to ease her depression, if only for a bit.
#2 – Keep your friends close.
This same client, because she was so obsessed with being available whenever her guy was available, slowly but surely cut out her relationships with her friends.
Whereas before her affair she would go for walks with her friends or go to the movies or get involved in committees, now my client did nothing but sit around the house, alone, trying to get things done, wondering where her guy was and when she was going to see him again.
Because she didn’t see her friends, and hadn’t told any of them about her affair, she really started to sink into a depression. No longer did she have her support system to help her make it through the day. She didn’t have friends to process things with and she no longer laughed with them as they walked in the woods.
It is important that, no matter what kind of relationship you are in, that you keep your friends. Relationships come and go but your friends will always be there to help you through.
You won’t be stuck dealing with your depression by yourself.
So, go pick up the phone and call someone RIGHT NOW!
#3 – Keep working towards your goals.
For my client, before she started her affair, she had big goals. Her kids were old enough to be in school full day and she wanted to rekindle her previously successful real estate career.
To that end, she got re-licensed and reached out to her old boss. He was thrilled to have her back because she had been a high achiever before her kids were born.
So, my client tried to go back to work. She tried to get herself going the way she used to. To network for clients. To get listings. To put herself out there and succeed.
But, not matter how she tried, she just couldn’t.
My client was so obsessed with her affair that she wasn’t able to put herself out there to succeed. As a result, her depression deepened because not only was she having an affair that she was obsessed with but she could seem to get her own life back even a smidge.
So, if you are trying to survive infidelity and depression, make sure you work your hardest to not let your life goals fall by the wayside. Continue your upwards trajectory so that your self-esteem doesn’t get lost along the way.
#4 – Keep your body fit.
After a year of having an affair, my client had lost twenty pounds. She didn’t eat or sleep or take care of herself. She was a quivering mess of nerves. Her depression had deepened.
Then she started doing yoga to quiet her mind and it really helped. After a few months she noticed that her body was getting stronger. She gained some of the weight back and was feeling healthier.
When she looked in the mirror and saw that she no longer looked like a skeleton but somewhat resembled her old self, her depression eased a bit. A small light at the end of the tunnel for her but a light nonetheless.
So, if you are struggling depression caused by your affair, make sure that you take care of yourself and keep your body strong. Make sure you sleep and eat well and get at least 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heartbeat.
Nothing fights depression like the dopamine that is created by a little aerobic exercise!
#5 – Keep working towards letting go.
The number one best strategy for surviving infidelity and depression is also the hardest one. Can you guess what it is? Yep, it’s letting go of your guy.
When my client began her affair, she assumed it would be a one-time thing. Twice, max. But her affair went on and on and on. For 3 years in fact. And for that entire time, she struggled to let go of her love and move on.
She would tell him they were done and they would be, for anywhere from a week to 6 months. And during those brief periods she got her life back. She would see her friends, find her drive, calm her thoughts and no longer be depressed.
But, every time, they would fall back into their relationship and she found herself right back where she started – depressed.
So, keep trying to break things off with your guy. It’s one of the hardest things you will ever have to do but it is possible!
When you do, you will have your life back. How great would that be?
Surviving infidelity and depression is not an easy feat. It might even be the hardest thing that you ever do. But you CAN DO IT!
Very rarely do we seek out infidelity – usually it appears just when our life seems bleakest, when our marriage is struggling and we have lost some of ourselves. Unfortunately, once infidelity gets it’s claws in you, it’s hard to break free.
But there are ways to manage your depression along the way. Keep your mind busy, your friends close, your ambition high, and your body toned. And don’t EVER stop trying to break away from your lover. I know that you love him but anyone who is wreaking this much havoc in your life is just not good for you!
My client did it. Her life today is great. She left her marriage but she has a new life, with a new man. She is healthy and happy and living a life that is true to herself and to her beliefs.
You can have that too! I promise.
Is your infidelity wreaking havoc on your emotional health?
Let me help, NOW, before it makes everything worse!
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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.