Does an eye for an eye mean an affair for an affair? Avoid relationship revenge after infidelity.
If your world has been rocked by an emotional affair or by infidelity, it can be devastating and heartbreaking. It can also be a natural response to want to get even and do to the other what has been done to you.
Rather than following the ways of the Romans - which didn't quite work out for them, by the way - it's healthier to refrain from getting even and work on getting better. Whether you caused it or were the unfortunate casualty of a painful affair, it's important to work on yourself and deciding if there is a relationship worth saving.
- Seek help. Schedule a visit with a counselor, go to group therapy or visit the bookstore for recovery self-help books. The sooner you begin the path of moving out of the pain, the faster you will begin healing.
- Trust a friend. This is not the time to put a post on Facebook and announce to the world what you are going through. Choose a friend or two that you can trust and confide in while you begin to put the pieces together. The less that know the better right now. If you do end up reconciling, it's less people to inform and answer to - and far less judgment.
- Cry, scream, laugh, feel. Allow yourself to go through every emotion possible. By purging this from your body, you are helping your soul make room for something better to come into your life.
- Let time pass. How you feel today will not be how you feel in 90 days and it will feel different 90 days later, and so on. Let time work its magic of filling in the necessities of every day life that will keep you keeping on. Taking out the trash may seem like a struggle today, but eventually muscle memory kicks in. You begin moving on again, sometimes deliberately, other times in auto-pilot.
- Process before prosecuting. The severity of the circumstances can only be determined by you. You are the only judge and juror in your relationship. It is up to you to decide if you can or can not accept what has happened.
- Forgive. Hate the sin, not the sinner. Forgiveness is not acceptance or allowance of what has happened. Forgiveness is freeing yourself from restricting your heart. This is an act of healing for you, not for any one else. It may take time, but in order to be the best you again, this is the most important gift you can give to yourself.
- Be kind to yourself. Try not to beat yourself up over what you could have done differently or how it could have been stopped. It has happened. Acceptance of it now being part of your life is actually easier than trying to reverse time and fix it. You can't go backwards. You can only use today to begin again. Be your new best friend rather than your own worst enemy. The hurt will be there. Don't let unnecessary thoughts make it worse than it already is.
- Accept an apology. Accepting an apology is not the same as accepting the action. By accepting an apology that is sincere and then backed by remorseful behavior, you are moving towards a place of forgiveness.
To keep your relationship karma in check follow this list of helpful don'ts. Bring balance to a bad situation by doing what's best for you. Avoid spiraling or conspiring to get even. Instead, focus on getting better.
- Seek revenge. Having an affair of your own is quite possibly the worst thing you can do at this time. Two wrongs do not make a right. Adding any more outside parties to an already overpopulated relationship adds more fuel to a raging fire. Don't give away yourself to try to save yourself from heartbreak. You will only feel more empty in the end.
- Be afraid to leave. If you need to spend time away from the relationship, make the arrangements to do so. Stay with a friend or family member for a couple of weeks, check into a hotel for a long weekend or go on a 4 day cruise. If you need to be by yourself to find yourself, go and don't look back.
- Avoid it. Acting as if it never happened is not healthy. Turning to alcohol, food or drugs for comfort is dangerous. Denial will lead you down a very rough river. Burying your emotions will create a volcano that erupts in other areas of your life. You may become distant with friends, depressed or unapathetic to life in general because you are hiding the true pain you are feeling.
- Take full responsibility. Unless you are the one who had the affair, don't shoulder the blame for why this happened. If there was a breakdown in the relationship, own your part of it. But if this was an out of the blue encounter, don't fault yourself for another person's horrible and hurtful mistake.
- Ruminate. Constantly revisiting the day you found out, rehashing the details and asking questions that lead to hurtful answers only makes things worse for yourself. In as much as you think you want or need to know everything, you don't. Allow yourself a short list of "need to know" answers and the rest, let it just fall away. Every question leads to "just one more question". You will never be completely satisfied. Know when to say when. Your heart and brain can only take so much.
- Blame or judge your past for the present. Science tell us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The law of karma states what comes around goes around. Don't let these philosophies tempt you to dissect everything you have every done to lead you to this 'payback'. Don't forget all the good you have ever done because something bad has happened.
- Think you are going crazy. It may feel like it at times, but you are not going crazy. You are going through a painful and life changing experience. There are no rights or wrongs on how to get through it. Infidelity has been likened to experiencing a death. Go through the stages, as many times as you need to in order to keep healing.
- Stay stuck. Create a mantra for yourself that you can say to yourself when you become overwhelmed or overcome with grief. It can be as simple as "This too shall will pass" or as personal as "My life is more than this moment". Use a phrase that will propel you from the past you are dwelling in and back to the present where you are living.
Once an affair has been exposed, you can choose to walk away from the relationship or work through it. By choosing healthy and constructive ways to deal with the betrayal, you are allowing yourself an opportunity to heal. Don't slow down your recovery time by letting the hurt get the best of you. There is no time limit on how long it will take to get better or for the pain to go away. But you will recover if you move forward one positive step at a time.