Did you know that not expressing your pain to your spouse could increase your risk for serious diseases, such as heart disease and cancer?
As a victim of cheating, what has been unleashed on you is a world of hurt. And one of the hardest conversations you’ll ever have is finding the words to tell your spouse how terribly hurt you are by their affair. The affair has devastated you—emotionally, psychologically – and even physically. You may feel a tremendous amount of stress and pressure.
You need to communicate these feelings and emotions to your spouse—for the sake of your marriage—and for your personal health. In this blog, I’ll give you 3 steps for making this conversation happen.
Bottling up Pain is Bad for Your Health
As the victim, you may struggle to find the words to express this pain. But the number one reason you shouldn’t bottle it up is for your health.
Researchers have long known that this bottling up of feelings and emotions can have damaging effects on your physical health. In fact, studies support that expressing your feelings can actually boost the functioning of your immune system, while not expressing those feelings can lower immune-system functioning. This leaves the door open for illness.
Keeping it all bottled up inside is not worth it for the sake of your health: in this case, both your physical health and your relationship health. Communication is the bedrock of your relationship with your spouse, and being able to have this difficult conversation is a must if you are to move forward.
You deserve to be able to express this in a way that moves both you—and your relationship—forward. To not express this pain means you are taking a chance on sacrificing your long-term health.
The healing of your emotional pain can only begin once you have addressed your needs with your spouse—and communicated to them exactly where you’re coming from: a well of pain.
By focusing on improving communication with your spouse and truly opening up, you can begin to move through the pain and into a deeper, more intimate relationship. This paves the way for you and your spouse to rebuild your marriage once again, but with an even stronger foundation.
And, you can ease the feelings of stress and anxiety you’re experiencing within by releasing this pain and hurt, and taking the pressure off of your immune system in the process.
Communicating Your Post-Affair Pain
Your communication style as a couple may have been less than ideal since your early days of dating. Poor communication skills may have become a habit—and may have led to the breakdown of your marriage. But skills are learned behaviors, which means you and your spouse have the opportunity to unlearn poor skills and replace them with effective ones.
Discussing the pain caused by your spouse’s affair is one of the most critical conversations you could have, and in order to move forward, it’s the place to begin. Here are 3 steps for having this critical conversation:
Step 1: Set up a time and place to talk
To have an effective conversation and be able to pour out your heart and soul, you need to make space and time for it to happen. Imagine trying to have this conversation in the morning as you’re both trying to get out the door to work. Or, while the television or radio is blaring.
The atmosphere is not conducive to the victim’s ability to truly express what they’re feeling, if you’re competing against outside distractions or against the clock. Make the time to sit and talk in a quiet place, free of distractions.
Step 2: Determine the conversation ground rules
In order to have an effective conversation, you need to set some guidelines. This will be a difficult conversation – one that can easily lead to raised voices, defensiveness and interruptions.
Agree with your partner that you are going to give them your perspective, whether they agree with what you are saying or not, and they are to hear you out without interruption. Also agree that your spouse should reflect back what they heard you say. It’s a way to develop both conversational and listening skills that come from a place of respect rather than defensiveness.
Step 3: Agree to be completely honest
This is your time to express all of that pain you are feeling. Make it count by being completely open about what your spouse’s affair has done to you, why it hurts so much, and what the after-effects have been for you. Your spouse may not fully understand what you’re going through, but it’s important you don’t hold back in order to achieve the healthy release that you need.
My best wishes for you as you heal from the pain of infidelity and find a way to effectively communicate this pain.
Have you had the critical conversation with your spouse about the pain you are experiencing?
Have you tried to keep a “strong” front and bottled up your pain?
By not expressing your pain, what effects do you think this has had on your health? On the health of your relationship with your spouse?
Please share your thoughts and experiences about communicating your innermost pain and hurt.