Readers Weigh In On Processing Trauma From Cheating
Dear Readers: A number of you wrote to me in response to "Still Recovering," the woman who was not yet over her husband's affair from seven years earlier. You offered a range of different perspectives gained from personal experiences with infidelity. Below are two good examples that may be of use to "Still Recovering" and to any reader who is struggling with infidelity in a relationship. For a more in-depth dive into the subject, you can also order "How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" -- the book I released last year -- on Amazon.
Dear Annie: Our family went through some tough times a few years back, which ultimately led to my husband being unfaithful. When I found out, I packed his things and told him I never wanted to see him again. I even served him divorce papers in front of his new girlfriend. We were separated for six months before we realized that we were really good together, and we both were at fault for why we drifted apart in the first place. I was not loving and attentive due to issues involving the children, and I put my husband's needs last.
I decided to forgive him only after I saw him take responsibility for his infidelity, show true remorse for the actions that completely destroyed me, make an attempt to repair our relationship and make a continued effort to never repeat his mistake.
It is not always easy. I think about that part of our life from time to time. But the day I decided to continue working on our marriage was the day I was no longer allowed to hold that time against him. You accept your partner for all their faults and shouldn't hold their feet to the fire if they're making conscious efforts to move past their ugliest behaviors. Hold them accountable in the moment, but remember it's just a moment. -- Happier With Him Around
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to "Still Recovering," whose husband had an affair that left her traumatized. Regular talk therapy can certainly be helpful, but I would suggest she look into a therapist trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. This therapy is designed specifically for trauma and the tendency to ruminate over those traumatic events. I have two friends who have experienced EMDR, one for infidelity and another for the loss of a spouse, and both experienced dramatic relief within six to eight sessions. While the memories are still present, they no longer hold the emotional pain they once did. There are many books from established scientists on the subject, and you can also learn more and find a therapist at the website www.emdria.org.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.