It’s one of those things that you thought would never happen to you. You’re too good, too careful, or too secure with your relationship so even the slightest suggestion that you or your partner will ever engage in an affair seems to be laughably impossible. When it does happen, it can be a devastating experience.
What did you do wrong? How do you move on? What is the next step to put everything behind you? Is the relationship worth saving? These are common questions that plague the minds of couples going through this. It takes time and effort to recover from the affair and a lot of times, this could change your life entirely.
Drinking, drugs, and depression: How not to deal with an affair
When you discover that your partner is having an affair, the first thought that will surely come to you is to get drunk and wasted. Alcohol and drugs are often used as coping mechanisms in order to forget the pain brought about by the affair. When you drink or do drugs, it’s also a form of rebellion against your partner. At the same time, you feel a false sense of invincibility and self-confidence. You start believing that the only way to fight depression is to turn to drugs or alcohol.
This can also hold true if you are the guilty party having the affair. Being discovered often means everything around you will start crashing down– including the trust of your partner, your family, and your friends. Suddenly, the comfortable double life that you’re living is not so comfortable anymore and you are faced with pressure not only from your partner but also from the third party. This difficult situation could also result in drinking, doing drugs, and being depressed.
Whether you are the one who cheated or the one who was cheated on, using drugs and alcohol will never be the answer. Yes, you will feel depressed. Yes, it will feel like the world is ending. Yes, it will be tough. While drugs and alcohol may provide a temporary reprieve, you’re only putting yourself on a more dangerous path that will be difficult to recover from. The affair itself is hard enough, you don’t need to add to that by risking substance addiction.
To hold on or to let go?
This is probably one of the most important questions when you find yourself dealing with an affair. If you are the one who was cheated on, you have to look deep into your mind and heart whether you want to stay and fight for the relationship.
Will you be able to trust your partner again? Will you be able to forgive and forget? It is easy to say that you can forgive but forgetting is another matter entirely. If you will spend the next ten years suspicious, unhappy, and using the past affair as a weapon against your partner, then you should rethink if both of you will be happy with staying together.
If you want to hold on, it is important that your partner feels the same and is not being forced into that decision. Ask the reason for the affair and see whether it is something you can both work on. Do you think you can save the relationship? Are you willing to work hard trying?
If you are the one who had the affair, you have to be honest with your partner and that means 100% honest – even if it will hurt too much. It is better to be upfront with everything rather than letting your partner slowly discover all the untruths little by little.
If you decide that you want to save your relationship, make sure that you are willing to work towards that and cut all ties with the third-party. Be honest with yourself whether you think your relationship with your partner is salvageable. Otherwise, just let go. It may seem like a selfish move but it is better to let go now than hurt your partner again in the future.
How do you move forward?
Whether you decide to hold on or to let go, healing from an affair is not easy. It’s not something you just forget instantly and you become okay the next day. It will be harder if you’re married and have children who depend on both of you.
In order to start healing, you could try the following recommendations:
Go to couples counseling and individual counseling
Speaking to an objective person can help you sort out your issues. Counseling will also help you come to a decision whether you want to work through your relationship or you want to let go.
Do something positive every day
Instead of feeling depressed all the time, one way to pick yourself up is to take it one day at a time. In this case, take it one positive task at a time. Declutter your home, try out a new fitness class, volunteer at a community event, learn a new recipe… these activities can keep your mind off the affair while at the same time, they can help give you a new purpose.
Get treatment for substance abuse or depression issues
If you find yourself struggling with alcohol, drugs, and depression during the aftermath of the affair, don’t let it spiral out of control. Seek help immediately.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.