5 Things To Do When You Feel Guilty & Depressed After Having An Affair

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5 Tips For How To Deal With Depression Symptoms Caused By Guilt About Your Infidelity
Love

When you first began your affair, you certainly didn't think learning how to deal with depression would be part of the equation. But the guilt you feel from cheating has spiraled out of control and your infidelity is now completely taking over your life.

Never in your wildest dreams did you think something that started out to be so amazingly wonderful would lead you down this dark path to where you find yourself today.

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But the thing about infidelity is that it’s a mass of contradictions. When you are with your "other" person, you are high as a kite. You are madly in love and the sex is great.

Then, when you aren't with this person, you feel awful about cheating. Your self-worth is in the toilet and you are wracked with guilt.

And what comes with the guilt caused by infidelity? Depression.

Learning how to deal with depression symptoms caused by your guilt over having an affair is not easy, but these 5 healing steps are the key to surviving infidelity without feeling constantly depressed.

1. Keep your mind busy

A married client was having an affair with a married man. He was a stay-at-home dad she knew 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. The affair was the perfect escape from her humdrum 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 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, spending 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 headspace. It also helped to ease her depression, if only for a bit.

2. Keep your friends close

Because she was so obsessed with being available whenever her guy was available, this same client slowly but surely cut off her relationships with her friends.

Before her affair, she would go for walks with her friends, go to the movies, or get involved in committees. Now, she does 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 started sinking 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.

No matter what kind of relationship you are in, it's important 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

Before she started her affair, my client 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. Networking for clients. Getting listings. Putting herself out there and succeed.

But, no matter how she tried, she just couldn't.

She was so obsessed about 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 obsessive affair, but she couldn't 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.

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4. Keep your body fit

After a year of having an affair, my client lost twenty pounds. She didn't eat, 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 with 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 created by a little aerobic exercise!

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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 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?

Learning how to heal from 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 its 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. Yes, you love him but anyone who is wreaking this much havoc in your life is just not good for you so it's best to break up and move on!

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.

RELATED: 6 Tips For Surviving Infidelity — When You're The Cheater

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate, who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. For more, email her or read her writing, which has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.