5 Surprising Emotions From an Affair
What feelings come to mind when you think about the possibility of your spouse or significant other cheating on you? I am sure just even having that thought makes your blood boil or your stomach turn. Rightfully so, because the thought of your partner betraying you elicits anger, sadness and possibly even fear. There is nothing positive about the unfaithfulness of a partner; though there are some surprising emotions that can be experienced.
Let’s explore five surprising emotions one can feel when they have found out their partner has been unfaithful. Additionally, here's a worksheet to help you work through your emotions.
1. Shame/ Humiliation
You would think that the person who committed infidelity would be the one feeling shame or humiliation but the victim in the situation very well can experience this emotion. You may find yourself replaying your entire relationship and seeking answers as to why this happened. Questioning where you went wrong and seeking proof as to how it “must be your fault.” Also, the shame of having family and friends find out can be very overwhelming. To feel humiliated that your marriage was not as strong as you might have portrayed it to be.
Often times people misinterpret emptiness as sadness. But emptiness is really the absence of feelings. You feel void. Nothing is present. Hollow. This is the psychological mechanism of protecting your mental wellbeing from the shock of the reality of what your partner has done.
This, I feel, is the most shocking of the five emotions for people. The thought of wanting to be possessive of someone who has just betrayed you seems completely backward. But it is not unlikely if you feel the need to draw your partner closer and want to claim them as your’s; not as a piece of property to take ownership but a stake in the commitment you had both made. Feelings of wanting them back and not wanting to let others take them away.
You can feel irritated, thinking “they are stupid” for throwing the marriage away by engaging in such a negligent act. Annoyed that they were so foolish and careless. Feeling disappointed in their lack of judgment and annoyed that you trusted them to be more committed to your relationship.
This is felt because maybe you had a feeling that something wasn't right but you weren't sure. You felt like something was going on but couldn’t put your finger on it but then when you found out, you were able to put a name to it, process it and work towards a resolution. Some people might even be relieved because they feel they now have a justified reason to finally leave an otherwise unhappy marriage, often found among religious couples.
No matter what emotions you are experiencing, it is important to let yourself feel them. Give yourself permission to do so and tell yourself that it's okay. Don't push it away because that does not do you any good. Those emotions are still there and they need to be processed. Give yourself room to feel and process these emotions; however, don't let yourself dwell. It's healthy to either journal or talk to someone like your spouse or a professional when you feel you are dwelling and getting stuck.
Click here for a worksheet to help yourself begin the process of expressing your feelings. As always, if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you!