You're trying to move forward, but they're all still MAD!
It's estimated that affairs affect 40 to 70 percent of all marriages. During this devastating time, people often disclose the affair to friends and family in search of necessary support.
You're devastated and tell your friends and family. That's OK because you do need the support, but once your relationship is on the mend, your friends and family are the ones who can't get over it. (Heck, some some of us are still mad at Bill for cheating on Hillary.)
Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but my advice would be — If you have any inclination that your relationship may stay intact, only disclose your partner's adultery to people who aren’t too emotionally invested in the relationship. The less invested they are, the more objective they can be. Objectivity is what you need in a crisis like that anyway. It provides you with the most support.
Yes, you may feel like you want someone to cry and get angry with, but making that your close friends and family will not serve you in the long run.
But, if the deed is already done, your friends and family already know and they're not moving are when you and your spouse are, here’s what you need to do:
1. Tell them you and your partner are working things out.
It’s not fair that you initially spilled all the juicy details and now you want to be tight-lipped and say that everything is 'fine.' Let the people involved know about the therapy you're receiving (You did get couples therapy, right?). Give them some insight into your process, the revelations experienced and the changes made.
Doing this helps them understand your decision to stay. You owe them that much for going through this emotional roller coaster with you. For close family members or friends, you should share this information together, as a couple.
2. Let them know it's not up for discussion anymore.
After you involved them in the process, it's OK to let them know that you're both in a place where you're moving forward and no longer talking about the affair as a couple. Thank your loved ones sincerely for their support during this struggle and let them know that you won’t be talking about it with them anymore either.
3. Give yourself (and them) space and time to think.
If their anger and resentment is severe, this may be time to distance yourself from that relationship for a while.
The reality is — an affair affects more than the two involved. You may have inadvertently ripped off an affair wound in their lives, which is causing them to take your affair so personally.
Most people eventually move on when they see that you're thriving.
Have the difficult conversation and explain how their feelings are affecting you. Let them know you truly appreciate their care for you, but that you're doing well and need them to recognize that. If they'd like some time and space away from you (and your spouse) to process their own emotions, that's OK.
When they feel more accepting of your current relationship, you can reconnect.
Healing from an affair is a difficult time for all involved. Although you need to focus on self-care, you also have to help those who helped you.
Dr. Zoe Shaw is a relationship expert and consults with clients from all over the world. Check her out at www.drzoeshaw.com