An Affair Recovery Timeline
Question: It has been 3 years since I discovered my husbands infidelity with further disclosure in the past 5 months. It has been a roller coaster. I still have strong times of mistrust and anger. I feel I can’t move forward. How do I know if these feelings are a sign of unforgivenes and are unhealthy, or are they normal?
Anne: It is a roller coaster. If one were to graph the healing from affairs journey, it would not be a straight line from devastated to happy again. It would have many ups and downs. As time goes on those downs become fewer and farther between, and slowly they diminish in their intensity.
Five months after disclosure it would be unrealistic for you to have forgiven or to be doing better than you are. What you are experiencing is normal.
The betrayed person begins their healing from the day they get full disclsore. The fact that an affair ended much earlier makes no difference. Their healing starts when they find out the full truth. Further disclosures after the initial disclosure sets the journey backwards. (So it is best for the unfaithful to be fully truthful from the beginning.)
The first 3 – 6 months is a time of post traumatic stress and intense struggle for the betrayed. There needs to be distance between first finding out, and really being able to work on the relationship. During this period, the betrayed needs to be looked after and stabilized. It's a time for triage.
After the first 6 months to a year, that would be for couples who have the right tools, you will still have a lot of sadness, obsessive thoughts, intense emotions, but slowly they become farther and fewer between.
Time alone will not heal you. It must be time plus doing the right things.
The obsessive thoughts that the betrayed struggle with are anxious thoughts spiraling out of control. The ultimate solution is to be fully healed, which usually takes around 2 years, and can take much longer. In the meantime, you need coping strategies. We have a helpful article on this website called “dealing with obsessive thoughts and triggers."
To be doing better at 5 months post disclosure is not realistic.
Question: I recognized that something was off, before the affair was disclosed. I asked my husband for a list of all the things he was unhappy with. I then worked on fixing all these things, only to discover that he was having an affair! How can a person who says he loves his wife, lie to them straight to their face, and be so cold and cruel?
For the answer and more, listen to the audio seminar by clicking on the link above!