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Surviving Affairs

3 Things To Do When You Can't Stop Your Anger After Your Partner's Affair

By Susie and Otto Collins

Celia knows that she should be over her anger about her husband Alex's affair by now. She made her decision to take him back and give their marriage a second try.

Every single day she tells herself that it's long past the time for her to get over her fury about being cheated on.

But she hasn't yet.

When she gets angry, she counts to 10. She reminds herself of all of the reasons why she still loves Alex. She tries to steer her mind to happier times they've shared. She thinks about the great family they've created together.

None of this really works. None of these techniques, and others she's tried, seem to diminish that fact that she's still hurt and
outraged that Alex deceived her and betrayed her trust in such a horrible way.

Despite her best efforts to contain her anger, Celia is often resentful, cold and withdrawn when she's alone with Alex.  Sometimes, when she can't take the build up any longer, she lets him have it with yelling and shouting.

Because Alex still feels guilt about his affair, he tends to just sit there and let her call him names and scream at him. Neither of them is happy, yet neither of them wants to end their marriage.

They both hope that they can move past this one day.

If your partner cheated, you may be in a similar situation. You've chosen to stay in your love relationship or marriage and you want to move past the infidelity and repair the damage to your relationship.

As desperately as you might want to save your marriage and start to move closer to your partner again, your anger is still there.

Like Celia, you may try different strategies to calm down, let go of your rage and forgive your mate... but this seems impossible to do (and keep doing).

We're here to reassure you that it's not impossible to release your anger and rebuild trust after infidelity. Here are 3 things you can do that will help...

#1: Give yourself permission to be angry.
If your mind is made up that you don't want to lose your partner or your relationship, your impulse might be to shove down any angry feelings you have.

It might even seem, to you, that you've got to
only "focus on the positives" in order to heal the pain and disconnection.

There is certainly great benefit that can come from focusing in on the positives in any difficult situation. However, when you're feeling angry but pretending that you're not, this is NOT being
positive. It's also NOT going to help you or your relationship.

It's important for you to give yourself permission to be angry if that's what you feel. Know that the more willing you are to allow yourself to be authentic and genuine-- even when it's uncomfortable and possibly contentious-- the easier it will be for your anger to release and for you and your partner to rebuild trust.

If you've been taught that it's not okay for you to be angry, acknowledge those ingrained beliefs.

Perhaps you grew up in a house where the adults argued and fought one another. Or, maybe you were brought up in an environment where nobody was allowed to show anger.

In either extreme, the effects can be detrimental to your well-being and to the health of your relationship too.

Notice what your overall beliefs are about anger and recognize your assumptions-- regarding your anger-- about what it will take to repair your relationship.

If you discover that denying, ignoring or pushing down your angry emotions is a habit for you, be aware of this.

Challenge yourself to safely explore your anger. Know that allowing and moving through your anger is often the quickest and most effective way to experience the ease, healing and ability to forgive
that you desire.

#2: Be responsible with your anger.
When you give yourself permission to be angry, if that's how you feel, this doesn't mean that it's helpful to let it all out on your partner.

Yes, he or she is the one who cheated and this can appear to be the main reason why you're so outraged. To heap angry words on your mate,
to call him or her names or to throw things is only going to drive you two further apart.

Be responsible for your own emotions and be responsible about what you say or do with them.

Being responsible for your own emotions might mean that you acknowledge that these feelings may go beyond the affair.

It could be a huge part of why you feel the way that you feel, but perhaps there are some other things about your life and your relationship that you feel frustrated and upset about.

Maybe some of these things that anger you are habits that you have or are a result of actions you've taken.

Being responsible about what you say or do with your emotions is just as important. It might feel satisfying-- in the moment-- to destroy some object that is special to your partner or to criticize
him or her in a cruel (and possibly inaccurate) way.

The question to ask yourself is this...

Will this expression of my anger benefit or cause further harm to my relationship? If you can provide an honest answer to this question, you will know which impulses to act on and which to let out in
different, non-harming, ways.

#3: Make short- and long-term decisions that will serve you.
The key to anger of any kind is to check in with yourself and make a conscious choice before you say or do anything from anger.

Again, it's so important for you to allow your anger. But, it's just as important for you to make a very deliberate decision about what is the most effective and healing way to express that anger.

Make short- and long-term decisions about what you will do with your anger that serve your goals.

If one of your goals is to rebuild trust in your relationship, for example, it's possible that working individually with a counselor or coach might help you find ways to process and express your anger. A professional can teach you useful techniques.

One technique that's often suggested is to take deep breath or count to 10 when you're angry.

As cliché as this may sound, it can actually
be very powerful. Taking a deep breath in the heat of an angry moment can give you space and clarity and encourage you not to say or do something you'll later regret, but it's not the end of the process.

Regularly giving yourself the opportunity to really be with your anger and to get to know it-- on many different levels-- can be freeing. Instead of pushing it away, move closer to your anger and
let yourself get to know it.

This knowing can be your key to making choices that will serve you now and in the future too.






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Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
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