Like an earthquake to a building, infidelity shakes what once was considered a strong foundation. It replaces what was, with what now is: a broken and tarnished version of its former self. In a building disrupted by an earthquake, you’re not confident in the stability of the floors or the roof to remain safe or livable. In a marriage disrupted by infidelity, your similar lack of confidence and trust in your partner makes you feel unsafe in your relationship.
Insecurity is defined as “a lack of confidence”, so no one would be surprised by someone’s insecurity within their marriage following an affair or a bout of infidelity. It’s inevitable to not feel confident with the current state of the relationship. Who’s to say that it won’t happen again? How strong is the relationship if it could succumb to this wreckage in the first place? Many questions are asked, but a number of meaningful answers are often scarce.
If you or someone you know has experienced infidelity, either as the adulterer or the victim, you know how earth shattering it can be to both, the relationship and the individuals involved. It’s important that the person who gets cheated on is informed on how to cope with the insecurity that is likely to follow. For some, it is the first time they’ve had an unfaithful partner. For others, they’ve seen it happen before. In either case, having ways to heal from that insecurity and distrust are essential for the wellness of their relationship and their lives.
1. It starts with you
The hard truth about life is that true happiness doesn’t come from any other source than yourself. The reason is because only you control your actions, your thoughts, and your beliefs. Since this is the only thing that you can truly control in life, your happiness must come from within.
If you’re waiting for someone else to validate you and bring you joy, you’re going to be disappointed. We are selfish beings, and no matter how much love someone has for you, they will come up short from time to time.
Infidelity is a selfish act, no one would argue that. Acknowledge it as such, and use it to understand that it’s time to work on yourself and your own personal happiness. In the future, if the one you love steps out on you, I promise you, it will hurt. But if you have done the work on yourself so that you know what you want out of life, it will hurt less and you will find peace from the mess much sooner.
2. Work on self-care
Practices like meditation and journaling are healthy ways to create some peace of mind in your life.
Meditation is useful because the practice asks you to sit quietly, acknowledge your thoughts as they come, and then let them pass on by as if they are ships in the night. This means that you won’t spend time dwelling on one specific thought (your spouse cheating) and will simply observe your mind at work. Once you’ve meditated enough, you will see the calmness that it provides and will then be able to be mindful throughout your day as well.
Journaling will allow you to take those thoughts that you just observed and expand on them. This is not a place for perfect punctuation, grammar, or spelling. It’s simply dumping your mind on a piece of paper and allowing it to expand. You’ll find that the tension and stress that you’ve kept bottled up will spill out in these journaling sessions, allowing you to move through your day with less weight on your shoulders and more awareness of your true feelings.
3. Do something you love
In marriage, we often find ourselves molding our hobbies and interests together with our partner. Before meeting, each person within a marriage had individual interests. With time, though, married couples tend to come together and have more shared activities and pastimes.
This is excellent for the most part because it allows the marriage to blossom through shared experiences. However, when an affair occurs and the couple is at odds with each other, these shared interests become points of disdain. You can’t listen to that band anymore because it was your husband’s favorite band. You can’t go to that restaurant because your wife loves it. You get the picture.
After infidelity has occurred in your relationship, help deal with insecurity by finding your own passions. This will keep you out of a helpless mental loop of seeing your spouse in everything you do because you are choosing something outside of the relationships norms.
Take a cooking class. Join a new gym. Go back to school. Find something that is meaningful to YOU, so you can continue to separate your worth from your marriage.
Healing the relationship
1. Get the truth out in the open
To relate back to the analogy that started this article, think of a house that has been recently shaken by an earthquake. You can’t rebuild this house from its fragmented pieces. You have to find the causes of the damage and possibly build a new atop of the rubble.
The same can be said for your marriage. If you want to heal and continue your marriage, the truth and nothing but the truth is essential. You need to figure out what caused the affair. You need to ask why. You need to know that it’s over. It needs to be crystal clear before you can begin to heal from all of the pain.
Lack of the facts will only breed more insecurity. It may hurt up front, but you need to figure out what really went on so that you can look to the future with a clear picture of the past.
2. See a marriage counselor
Getting the truth on the table is important, but try to do so in a safe space like a therapist’s office. They will help guide that conversation so that it doesn’t take too many ugly twists and turns. Rely on their expertise to help your relationship mend in the healthiest way possible.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.