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People may tell you, “Time heals all wounds.” Not only is that not helpful, it’s also not true.
Would you agree that nothing can prepare you for the emotional devastation that comes when you find out the one you loved, the one you let into your most intimate places, the one you built your life with has betrayed you? In the wake of discovering that your partner has cheated, you’re probably reeling from a storm of emotions. You’re broken-hearted, grieving, angry, confused and deeply hurt.
If you’re anything like I was after my husband’s affair, your well-meaning friends may have attempted to comfort you by saying, “Time heals all wounds.” Unfortunately, not only is that not helpful, it’s also not true. Time—by itself—will not heal you. It’s what you do with the time that determines whether you will heal, or carry these wounds into your future life and relationships. The reality is that “time cements all wounds” …if you don’t take the essential steps to heal.
I want you to know that no matter what your specific circumstances or what you’re feeling, if you are suffering from the fallout of your partner’s affair and you are ready to heal, there is hope. Healing from the trauma of betrayal and learning to feel genuinely happy and peaceful is not easy to do, but it is absolutely possible.
I know, because I did it.
I’ve helped others do it.
And you can too.
Here are the 7 things you can do to start to feel better now:
Step 1 – SEE from Your Soul’s Perspective
This is an invitation to look at what’s happened in a way that can bring peace-of-mind and release you from suffering. It might feel radical. It can take some time, intention and patience to adopt this higher point of view, but the payoff is powerful. When we become even the tiniest bit willing to look at our situation through the “eyes” of the soul, we start to comprehend “why,” on a deeper level, this betrayal took place.
So, what if, rather than a human with a soul, each of us is a soul having a human experience? From this higher perspective, nothing is random. Everything that happens in your life is custom-designed for your learning and growth. Therefore, challenging events, especially the painful ones, are— from the vantage point of the soul—simply learning opportunities. Opportunities for what? Opportunities to heal your deepest emotional wounds—the thoughts, beliefs and judgments that have held you back since childhood.
This step requires that we accept that there is a spiritual reason for the betrayal. It requires a belief that the Universe/Creator is neither random nor unkind, but rather “has our back” at all times.
Marianne Williamson speaks to this when she writes, “Every relationship, every situation is part of a divinely created and highly specific curriculum for your Soul growth.” If you find Step One to be difficult, that’s okay. You don’t have to believe it. For now, just be willing to accept the possibility that it might be true. That by itself will be a meaningful step toward releasing your pain and suffering.
Step 2 – FEEL and Move through Your Feelings
When our partner cheats, many of us began to work with therapists. Talking about feelings is essential to processing them. When you add the power of your body to literally move through the overwhelming feelings, you can really ramp up your healing.
Here’s a simple, body-centered process you can do right now that takes 30 seconds: Take three, deep diaphragmatic breaths. Taking three, deep breaths will help you calm and bring more peace to a stressful situation. Conscious breathing instantly lowers your heart rate and respiration, and diffuses your fight or flight response. When I added body-centered processes like breathing, yoga, and dance (among others) – my healing took off.
Step 3 – THINK Better Thoughts
Do you know what’s fueling almost all your pain?
Feeling better starts when you uncover the negative, inner dialogue that fuels your upset, and re-write the false stories you made up about yourself, as a result of being betrayed. Uncovering and updating beliefs about yourself is some of the most transformative work you can do.
I worked with a woman in her thirties whose marriage was ending because of her husband’s affair. As a result of this painful experience, she had decided: I am boring, I am no longer desirable, I am too difficult, I am unattractive, I’m too old. And this was the short list. These thoughts brought her intense pain. When we began to challenge each of her beliefs, she started to feel better immediately. Over time we worked to up-level her beliefs to: I am interesting (to the right man), I am desirable, there is plenty of time for me to find love again, etc. Peace soon followed.
Step 4 – HEAL Your Relationship…with Yourself and Them
You must you heal the relationship with your partner, whether you stay or go. Why? Because, even if the physical relationship ends, you are going to have a relationship with your partner forever…in your mind.
The cumulative thoughts and feelings you have about a person create your inner experience of that person. And whether they are in your life every day, or never to be seen again – we “hold” a space for each person in our thoughts. And these thoughts create our feelings. Though it can be challenging, you do have the power to change your thoughts. You have a choice about what you will experience every time you think about a particular person. It takes practice, but it is possible.
Step 5 – RECLAIM Your Power
No matter how you felt about yourself before the affair, when your lover betrays you, it often feels like your world’s been rocked. You’ve been dropped to your knees and stripped of your power. To fully recover, you need to understand exactly how you gave your power away—before the affair and after—and how to get it back. When you do this work, your healing takes you beyond recovery to a new level of empowerment.
People give their power away in relationships when they 1) invest too much of their time and energy in the relationship and neglect themselves (codependency), 2) don’t’ speak their truth, 3) don’t set boundaries and 4) project their own issues onto others. The list of the ways we give our power away (many of them socially approved of) can be long. For this reason, this is some of the most freeing work you can do around the betrayal.
Step 6 – RELEASE: When Forgiving Seems Impossible
I read every book I could find on the topic of forgiveness. Most of them ended up my recycle bin. They didn’t bring the peace-of-mind I so wanted. In the Heal from the Affair program, you start by learning what is driving your unforgiveness: your judgments.
Releasing these judgments (of yourself and others) becomes essential if you truly want to move beyond the pain of betrayal. Unlike traditional forgiveness, I recommend you start with self-forgiveness before you consider forgiving another. Being willing to forgive yourself for all the ways you are judging yourself is a powerful first step towards true forgiveness.
Step 7 – FIND the Deeper Wound
Yes, being cheated on is exceedingly painful, but I, like many others, experienced unhealthy levels of suffering. It impacted every area of my life for years (my work, my relationships with children and my health). My big turnaround started when I discovered my “wound behind the wound.”
As is often the case, my husband’s affair had activated an old childhood wound; one that had long been buried. Only when we make our previously obscured hurts conscious, do we have any hope of healing them and transcending the pain.
It will take Patience and Persistence
Many of these steps may sound unattainable right now, but, whether or not your relationship survives, you can fully recover from the devastating effects of betrayal and move on to create a better life. Getting the right support—from someone who has been where you are, and is where you want to be—can help you ease the pain and restore your peace-of-mind…much more quickly that just waiting for time to heal you.
Please know this: it is possible.
These 7 steps are what you will learn as part of the “Heal from the Affair” 7-week course. Click here to learn more.