Coleen, my husband had an affair with a mutual friend a couple of years ago. At the time, I was shocked and very hurt – I cried night after night – but I still loved him and was desperate to try to make our marriage work.
He ended things with the other woman and neither of us has any contact with her any more. Oddly, things were OK at first, in fact, everything was better, including sex. It was like we’d just met and couldn’t get enough of each other. I was so happy we had another shot.
I was convinced I’d be able to forgive and move on because I really wanted it, but now, two years down the line, I find myself getting irrationally angry over quite trivial things and I know it’s because I’m resentful about his affair. But instead of confronting it I get angry about the fact he hasn’t taken the bins out or he’s forgotten to fill the car up with petrol.
I don’t know why it’s more of a problem now than it was when I first discovered the affair, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m starting to worry that it’s just not possible to get over his betrayal.
I’d love your opinion.
I know exactly what you mean – I felt the same after discovering an affair and things were great initially. I was so happy we were “back together” and probably subconsciously trying to prove that we could be happy sexually. Then down the line, I began thinking about the affair more and find he’d irritate me a lot.
So, I think that while you might have dealt with things in a physical sense, you didn’t deal with the emotional fallout. I think you’d benefit from counselling, so you can express how you feel. You could do this on your own, then he can join in the sessions.
Break-ups and affairs remind me a lot of grief – you go through similar stages of working through the trauma. For example, the first year after losing my mum I almost felt happy because she wasn’t suffering and the trauma was over, but it hit me in year two when I remembered how she used to be instead of those last years of her life.
If you haven’t dealt with the emotional scars, that’s what you need to deal with now.
It will be painful, but it could also help repair your marriage in a more fundamental and lasting way.