Learning your partner had an affair is absolutely devastating. On top of the unspeakable pain from the sexual betrayal are the lies – either through words or by their silence. It is common for people to feel completely lost once they discover they’ve been betrayed. Most people have no clue where to turn or what to do. It all starts with some health self-reflection and self-examination. Not sure how? Here’s some questions to ask after an affair.
3 questions to ask after an affair
1. How Should I Respond?
Once the affair has been discovered, it’s normal to feel completely out of control both mentally and emotionally. It might be hard for you to think clearly and focus on daily tasks. So it’s critical that you avoid making any rash decisions that you might later regret. Impulsive judgments and decision can delay the healing process and cause further complications down the road.
The best course of action is to slow down and think about what has happened and take note of your feelings before making any decisions. As you reflect, you’ll be able to make an informed decision rather than a rash decision in the height of an emotional storm.
2. Is This PTSD?
After learning your partner had an affair, it’s quite common for some people to experience symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sadly, most people think PTSD is only happens in individuals returning from combat or who have survived a life-threatening event. However, the reality is PTSD can be experienced by individuals who are surviving an affair as well.
Symptoms of PTSD include (but are not limited to):
- Reliving the event (ruminating, obsessing, etc.)
- Avoidance of people, places and activities previously enjoyed
- Negative mood and cognitions (e.g. I’m not good enough)
- Heightened emotions and reactivity (e.g. anxiety, hypervigilance)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s probably best to find a well-trained therapist you like and trust who has experience and success helping individuals who have been betrayed in this way.
3. Do I Feel Differently About Myself?
After discovering your partner’s betrayal, you may begin to question yourself. You may find yourself saying things like, “What did I do to push them away?” Or, “What is wrong with me?”
Even the most self-confident people can be reduced to self-doubters who question everything after infidelity. In an instant, you may shift from feeling safe and secure to anxious and fearful. Internalizing the situation or blaming yourself is common, although it is not very helpful to your overall well-being and can even further the traumatization and worsen symptoms associated with the trauma.
If you are dealing with a betrayal, asking yourself these three questions will begin the healing process.
Life is short and relationships are tough. Dealing with the aftermath of an affair can be overwhelming and create a mess of your life. Find an awesome therapist you like and trust to help you sort things so you can move forward.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in Greater New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.