Love, Heartbreak

Revenge After An Affair Is Bittersweet

Revenge is sometimes said to be sweet. If you're dealing with the anger, outrage and hurt that can occur after your partner had an affair, you may be craving that purported “sweetness.” In fact, the idea of acting out in a revenge-ful way may even seem to make you feel less helpless and more powerful.

But beware, the bitter “aftertaste” that undoubtedly comes with revenge will not point you in the direction you want to go-- and that's toward healing, renewed trust and happiness.

Tracey has promised her partner Mike that she's ended her affair with a family friend, Scott. She's apologized and reassured Mike over and over again that she wants to do whatever it takes to win back his trust and love.

A part of Mike wants nothing more than to believe Tracey and to work with her to rebuild trust and their relationship. But another part of him keeps plotting ways to get back at Tracey and their so-called family friend.

Mike is even seriously considering contacting Scott's wife with the intention of beginning an affair with her. This would certainly make the point to Tracey and Scott how painful being betrayed is.

Allow your feelings to surface and release in non-harmful ways.

The trick with revenge is that no matter how sweet or satisfying it appears to be as you contemplate it or actually carry it out, that satisfaction doesn't last. Ultimately, you are left with those same feelings of anger, helplessness, and hurt.

There are no actions to get back at a cheating partner that will erase those emotions. Before you take another step in your revenge plans, ask yourself if you're willing to live with the consequences on top of still having to deal with your hurt.

You may feel like if you can't take revenge, you need to stuff down your upset and distress. What's bubbling up within you may feel so huge that denying what you are feeling could appear to be the only way to move on.

While choosing not to lash out against those who you feel betrayed by is probably going to be helpful in the long run, holding in your emotions can be just as detrimental as revenge. Not only do those repressed feelings often seep out—sometimes in very inappropriate ways-- but you can also literally become ill because of them.

When you allow whatever you are feeling to surface and then release in non-harmful ways, you are clearing a path. This new path can lead you to the healing and happiness you want. Of course, getting to happiness again may take time and patience. But it's worth it.

Set aside space where you can be alone and undisturbed. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. Don't judge yourself for having the thoughts or feelings that are coming up, but try to keep your attention on your feelings more than your thoughts.

If you need to write down how you are feeling or what words you'd like to say to your partner or another person, then do that. You can choose later whether it would be helpful to actually give what you wrote to the person.

Some people find that moving their bodies is beneficial to letting out and releasing difficult emotions. During your alone time you might put on some music that matches your mood and then dance, stomp or yell how you feel. Be gentle with yourself as you allow this process to unfold.

Stay focused on what you want.

After making the phone call to Scott's wife inviting her to have a revenge affair with him-- which ended quite embarrassingly-- Mike closed himself up in his basement. In college he was in a band and now he's uncovered his neglected drum set. As his energy builds, Mike is remembering what a great release drumming can be. He even yells and cries while pounding away.

After his drumming/emotional release session, Mike feels a new sense of peace. He knows that there are more feelings to work through and decisions to be made, but his head is clearer. It is now obvious to him that a revenge affair would not help any of them-- especially Mike himself. Instead, Mike's thoughts turn to questions about what he wants to do next.

Keep bringing your attention back to yourself and continue to ask yourself what you want.

Do you want to stay in or leave this relationship? Do you need time to make this big decision? What would feel soothing and healing to you right now? If you feel overwhelmed by the questions that emerge in your mind, try to ask different questions that feel less huge.

Mike decides that he needs some time away from Tracey. He wants to just be apart from the people and the places associated with the affair-- at least for a week or two. So he calls his cousin who lives in a nearby state and has a large house to arrange a visit.

When you stay tuned in to what you want at this moment, you are also keeping your attention in this present moment. Often, revenge desires flare up when you obsess about the affair and past events. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your healing right here, right now.

Keep urging yourself toward those thoughts and activities that will bring you ease and soothing. It is there that the sweetness of life can be re-discovered.
Want to rebuild trust in your love relationship or marriage after cheating?  Get trust-building advice in Susie and Otto Collins' free report.

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