Will I trust again? Part II

In the previous post, we covered how complicated it is to peel through the layers of confusion and deception when you first discover your partner’s betrayal. You aren’t prepared for how much time it will take to come out of the fog. You should consider seeking counsel from a specialized therapist and/or join a support group of other women who have been through the same type of betrayal. [Details of resources that can help you at the end of this post.] A counselor will walk you through the stages of grief and offer insight about what measures you can take to ensure that you’re healing and taking steps for your own safety. (Some women have to go through the process of taking HIV and STD tests. Given that you might have not shared what you are going through with many (or any), having a counselor to support you through that process is reassuring.) A support group will have women who are going through the same trauma, so you won’t have to go it alone. Again, if you aren’t sharing your situation with family or friends, this can be a really isolating time. Women in your same situation can offer comfort and hope.
This journey is not easy. The effort that you invest in your own healing will go a long way, whether you stay or not. You will have hard, emotional work to do within yourself, which doesn’t seem fair since you didn’t ask for this. But you are worth the work, no matter how long or hard it is. Process and feel your anger because it will come. Stuffing your anger will only set you back. It will reveal itself in other ways (sarcasm, shaming, putting up walls) and have a negative effect on your health and relationships. Having a group to process all the emotions with is really helpful because they will hold you accountable to processing it in healthy ways. Releasing your anger is exhausting but will get you to the other side eventually. Journal. Read books on the subject. Cry. Scream into a pillow. Run on a treadmill. Join a high-intensity workout class and channel your anger in your health. Whatever it takes, feel it, experience it. Get through it.
With work and a lot of time, you will wake up one day and this will not be the very first thing you think about. You will believe in your own abilities again—to love, to trust, to discern safe people from those who will hurt you. You will realize that you did not create this addiction, or enable it, or deserve it. You will want to help others who are going through this mess. Don’t give up. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Courage, dear heart.” You will find your strength and your hope restored again.
[Specialized sexual addiction counselors have training for not only sexual addiction but helping partners through the pain of this addiction. Search your area for counselors who have the acronyms of CSRT (Certified Sexual Recovery Therapist) or SRT (Sexual Recovery Therapist). S-Anon, COSA, and Pure Desire offer support groups for partners. Click on the link to find a meeting near you.]

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