I get variations on this question on a very regular basis. Almost no one enjoys the feelings and doubts that go hand in hand with dealing with cheating. Many women want to know when (or if) they will start to feel better. I often hear things like "it's been months since I found out about my husband's cheating but I feel just as bad now as I did in the beginning. When is this going to get any better?" Or "how long does it take to start feeling happy again after his affair. It's as if every day is filled with sadness and misery. I don't want to live this way anymore. When will things improve?"
The answer to these questions vary because of the people and the circumstances involved. And, there is no set time frame. Everyone's experience is going to vary. With these things said though, there is often a progression of events that successfully occur before relief and an improvement begins. In the following article, I will discuss some of the things that wives often tell me makes them feel somewhat better after their husband's affair.
Knowing That He's Truly Sorry For Cheating (And Takes Full Responsibility For It) Will Often Make You Feel Somewhat Better: Many people who tell me that they are "stuck" or not making progress after the cheating will also often admit that they don't believe that their partner is really all that sorry. Or, sometimes, they will tell me that their husband is hinting that the affair was in some way all their fault.
These sorts of doubts will sometimes keep you from really moving on. Because if you don't believe that he knows that he's at fault, then you can't really believe that he's going to do everything in his power to make things right or to ensure that this does not happen again. And, the fear that you will never be secure again can lead to your continuing to dwell in negative places. If you don't believe that your husband is truly sorry and won't repeat this, it can be helpful to just bring this up with him in a very direct way. You don't need to do this in an accusatory way. You can just tell him that you need to know that he's truly sorry in order to begin to move on. There's nothing wrong with admitting that you aren't at this place yet.
Having No Doubt In Your Mind That The Cheating Is Over For Good (And That He Won't Cheat Again) Is Often Necessary To Feel "Normal" Again: Many wives tell me things like ‘I just want to get my life back." Or "I just want to feel normal again." These things are difficult to achieve if you don't truly believe that his commitment is with you. It's nearly impossible to recover if you are having to worry that he's still seeing the other woman or that he might be vulnerable to cheating again in the future. If there is any doubt if either of these things are true, then there's potentially more work that needs to be done.
If you need to tell your husband that this is absolutely vital to you, please don't hesitate to do so. Women will often tell me that they don't think it's fair that they need to spell this out for their husband. And, they often hesitate for fear of making things worse. Yes, it would be nice if he would just know what you need on his own, but it's my experience that this isn't always the case. There's nothing wrong with spelling out that the other woman needs to be completely out of the picture and that you need for him to regularly reassure you of this.
And, sometimes you will need to work together both as a couple and as individuals in order to restore the trust and the intimacy. It's very important that you both understand what went wrong and fix all of these issues. If you are not able to do this, then the doubt will remain. The doubt really can steal much of your happiness moving forward. In order to feel better, you often have to relentlessly focus on removing the doubt until it is completely gone for good. This is often a process. Restoring the trust is often not something that can be blindly offered up. It must be earned over a period of time through actions rather than words.
Often, Working On Yourself As An Individual With Make You Feel Somewhat Better Also: Most every one realizes that they need to work on their marriage as a couple after an affair. But, not every one realizes that individual work is also important. Both you and your husband will need to look at yourselves and at any places where you are vulnerable. It often helps to do some restorative work on your self esteem. If you doubt your own attractiveness and right to be happy, then you will often turn this inward.
Very often when women tell me that they just can't move on or feel happy even years after the affair, one of the first questions I ask is if they did any self work. Because you often aren't able to feel joy and peace if deep down you are blaming yourself and worrying that you just aren't good or worthy enough. Self confidence will often help you to realize that you are quite capable of handling what comes your way and so you therefore are not as fearful of allowing yourself to be happy again. Often, people are scared of and then resist positive emotions because they are afraid of losing them all over again. Self work and restoring your self confidence will often free you from this cycle.
So, while I can't give you any definite time frame of when you should start feeling better or being happy again, I can ask you to look at the points I've just made to see if you can identify with any of these issues. I often find that once women are able to move past these things, they are often able to also begin to feel some relief.
I struggled greatly with truly and completely getting over my husband's affair, but I am now happy and whole again. Although I never would've believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/