Managing Anger after Discovering Infidelity
Some people react angrily when they learn of a partner's infidelity.
Others respond calmly. Most people find that they swing between the two
extremes in the days, weeks and, sometimes, months following the
discovery of a partner's infidelity.
The aftermath of infidelity is often a confusing and difficult time for both partners. Here are some strategies to manage your emotions now, for a better chance at repairing the relationship later:â€¨
Discuss some details about the affair soon after you find out, but
wait to have a full discussion until both of you have calmed down.
Walk away from an escalating argument. Once you say something, you can
never take it back. Agree to resume the conversation later.â€¨
Obsessive thinking is a normal response to trauma, but it's not
healthy to verbalize everything you are thinking. Each time you start
obsessing over unanswered questions, write them down in a journal or
When you are feeling calm and balanced, set up a time to discuss your
most pressing questions with your partner in a controlled setting.â€¨
Schedule worry times for yourself. Agree that you will allow yourself
to think about the affair, and other disturbing thoughts about it and
your partner during these times--perhaps one hour a day.â€¨
Practice thought-control at other times when you feel yourself
obsessing. When you're having unwanted or overwhelming thoughts, force
yourself to think of something else, like an event you're looking
forward to or a good friend.â€¨
How can a couple deal with lingering loyalty to the affair partner?
After an affair is revealed, the partner who's been having another
relationship may feel conflicted about cutting off contact with the
person. This feeling of attachment is complicated by the fact that
affair partners often work together or otherwise see each other on a
regular basis. â€¨
Lingering loyalty or connection to the affair partner feels
outrageous and hurtful to the betrayed partner--and rightfully so. If
you've agreed to stay together and work on your relationship, it's
essential to re-establish trust and end all contact with the affair
partner. However, both partners play a role in easing back into their
relationship and allowing the affair relationship to fade away in
The partner who had the affair should recognize that comparing the
affair relationship to the primary relationship is unfair. You're
comparing an exciting, secret relationship that has no constraints to a
real-life, long-term relationship. They can't compete and the affair
would likely lose its luster once it became part of daily life.
The partner who was betrayed should realize the affair wasn't planned.
No one ever imagines a relationship will ultimately cause so much pain
and anguish. This is especially true in cases of emotional infidelity,
which often begins innocently and gradually. As long as there's a clear
commitment to this relationship, give the other partner some time to get
over the normal feelings of attachment to this person they grew close