As crushing as it feels, an affair doesn't have to mean the end of the relationship.
When an affair takes place in a marriage or committed relationship, it is almost always a devastating experience for everyone. The first thing to realize is, no matter how much pain, anger, guilt, or confusion you may be feeling right now, you are not alone: What you are feeling is probably very normal.
Here are some of the feelings people often have when they find out their partner had an affair:
- You wonder who you are and what you mean to your partner. You no longer feel special. You wonder if he or she ever really loved you.
- You wonder if you did anything to cause this. You doubt your self-worth and attractiveness.
- Your sense of justice in this world is shattered.
- You seem to have no control over your thoughts, feelings, or actions.
- You have trouble working, sleeping, or eating – or all you do is work, eat, or sleep, so you don't have to think about what happened.
- You feel alone, because you can't decide who you can tell about this. You don't want friends and family to hate your parter. You are embarrassed.
- You don't want to see your partner ever again, or you feel like anxiously clinging to him or her.
- You may have the urge to go out and have an affair yourself.
If you are the one who cheated, you are likely also going through a variety of strong and confusing feelings:
- Whether you decided to tell your partner or they found out accidentally, you are likely to feel a certain amount of relief as well as exhaustion, especially if you put a lot of energy into keeping the secret.
- While a part of you may feel better now that things are in the open, another part of you may feel terribly guilty. You genuinely care about your partner and hate the fact that you hurt them.
- You wonder if you should lie to your partner to protect them from the full extent of the truth.
- You feel nervous or terrified about the future, anger at yourself or at no one in particular. There is often an overwhelming feeling of shame and disgust.
- You wonder who you have become. If you cared about the person you had the affair with, there is some guilt and concern about them, too.
- You may experience an overwhelming feeling of isolation, as few people will express empathy for your situation.
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