Infidelity in marriage is like a tornado. Once it passes over, it leaves a trail of devastation in its wake.
Anxiety is normal after you have experienced a betrayal or a marital conflict. This stress trigger is the body’s natural response to danger. When you feel threatened, your body turns to a fight or flight response and spurs you into action.
Just because anxiety is natural does not mean it is a pleasant experience, especially when you are already dealing with the fallout of your husband’s affair.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible to move on and make your marriage stronger than it was before. If you want to save your marriage, you’ll need to learn how to deal with emotional anxiety after your husband’s affair.
Stress Overtakes You
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, and what is more stressful than infidelity in marriage? In most other cases, anxiety is designed to help give your body the motivation it needs to solve problems. But in some cases, such as the stress that comes from trying to save your marriage, regular anxiety can turn into a problem.
Anxiety associated with infidelity in marriage is often called PISD, or Post Infidelity Stress Disorder. This is not the fear of being cheated on again, but rather, a constant emotional replay of finding out about the affair.
Feeling constantly tense or worried, having your emotional anxiety affect your ability to work or take care of family responsibilities, are overcome by fear that you cannot shake, and expediting panic attacks are all signs that your stress has turned into emotional anxiety.
Upset stomach, shortness of breath, insomnia, headaches, sweating, and a pounding heart are also symptoms of an anxiety attack.
Loss of Trust after Infidelity in Marriage
Trust can be lost with one single action and can take years, even decades, to win back. Without trust, you will never be able to believe your husband is committed to you, you will not believe he is where he says he is, and you will not be able to save your marriage.
After there has been infidelity in marriage, you will need to start talking – all the time. Regular open and honest communication with your husband is the only way you can begin to rebuild your bond. Communicate your feelings of hurt and betrayal and explain what his actions did to you.
Your husband will have to be patient with you during this time, as you may repeat the same concerns and have repeated emotional anxiety outbursts during this time. But it is important to talk to him about it.
Make Your Expectations Clear
During this time you will need to make your expectations clear to your husband. For example, obviously, he will have to end his affair if you are to stay in the relationship. Another expectation might be that you expect him to come home when he says he will be, or state that if he does not answer his phone when you call it may send you into an anxiety attack, wondering who he is with.
Perhaps you want unfiltered access to his social media accounts and smart devices. Whatever your stipulations are for staying, make them known.
Having a counselor involved will be beneficial to both you and your husband during this time of healing. Your marriage counselor will be able to pinpoint troubled areas of your marriage, help you get to the root of your issues, and can help you learn to trust your husband again.
Stop Social Media Stalking
Obsessing over certain details of your husband’s affair, while unhealthy, is completely normal. However, there needs to come a point where you stop your online woman hunt, especially if it is triggering your emotional anxiety.
The truth is, people can have affairs for all sorts of reasons including but not limited to boredom, opportunity, or lack of an emotional or physical connection within the marriage. Instead of focusing on who your husband cheated with and tracking her every move on social media, you need to focus on to how you can save your marriage.
Zero in on what went wrong in your relationship and work on strengthening your relationship so that something like this never happens again.
Rebuilding your Physical Connection
If you really want to save your marriage, you should start by rebuilding your physical connection with your husband. To think of being intimate with someone who betrayed you may disgust or upset you, but restoring the physical and emotional bond you once had is important.
You may not be ready to start a sexual relationship with your husband just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start small.
Practice holding hands and sharing a loving embrace. Hold one another, spoon before bed, touch your feet together when you sit on the couch. These simple gestures will help you start the journey to recovery.
Consider Ending Your Relationship
It is nearly impossible to have a happy relationship if you do not have trust between you. If you find that you are overwhelmed by emotional anxiety after the infidelity and you cannot bring yourself to trust your husband, you may want to consider separating or ending the relationship altogether.
Do not make this decision lightly. Think about the consequences of your actions if you choose to leave. How much are you willing to put up with to stay in the marriage? Can you ever think of being intimate with this person again? Do you hate who you have become since the affair? Has it been a year and you still can’t look at your husband the same way? What would life really be like if you were to break up?
Ultimately, you need to make the decision that is right for you and your mental health.
Infidelity in marriage can have a devastating effect on your mental and physical health. If you truly want to save your marriage, you will need to find the strength to move on and conquer the anxiety that you’re now left with post-affair. You can do this by communicating with your partner, pushing away negative thoughts, and striving to rebuild your physical connection.
My husband has been cheating on me for a few years. Started with porn and led to online chats, sexting, social media sites like Ashley Madison, Craigslist ads, phone sex and one actual physical contact (that I know of) I’ve caught him sending dick pics to some girl on Facebook two days after we got married. To no avail he will deny, deny and once his back is against the wall he gets mad and turns it on me and tells me I’m always thinking he’s cheating…When i was unable to prove to him i know about his escapades , i read about a very good and prolific hacker who goes by (firstname.lastname@example.org). He gave me real-time access to his phone and every app running on it including his email. Then i was able to confirm the fact that he was cheating, i confronted him and he couldn’t say deny anymore! He hurt me emotionally. I got insecure and had trust issues for awhile. I’m 37 and were been together ten years. He made me hate sex and men for a while too…I’m getting to live again, thanks to the hacker!
Dr. Carlo says
Thanks for sharing, and glad you are getting to live again.