Dear Arielle & Brian,
Three months ago, I discovered that my husband of six years has been having a year-long affair with a woman he met on a trip to Phoenix where he often travels for business. He has apologized to me and swears he has broken up with this woman. I feel enraged, betrayed, devastated and heartbroken. I truly believed we were soulmates. Now he wants me to simply forgive and forget. He says he has apologized, and I need to get over it. I still love him, but I no longer trust him, and I don’t know what to do. Is it over?
We are so sorry for your pain, and we are sending you a giant cosmic hug. For whatever reason, whether it’s guilt, shame or ignorance, your husband can’t be with your feelings, which is why he is hoping that you will just get over it. We want you to know that the emotions you are experiencing are perfectly normal and natural. While there are no broken bones or black and blue bruises on your physical body, the trauma to your mind, spirit and psyche is the equivalent of having been in a major car accident. It’s important for you to first and foremost find a trusted therapist to help you work through your feelings and guide you through the healing process. Now is not the time to make any life-changing decisions about your marriage, but it is a time for self-love, self-nurturing and reflection. Just as it can take weeks or months for a broken bone to heal, so too will it take time to heal from this betrayal. Give yourself the time to heal and the space you need to express and explore your feelings.
We know of several incidents where one party in a soulmate relationship cheated and they eventually worked their way back into forgiveness, love and joy, but it doesn’t happen overnight. There is no timetable to healing your heart. You said you still love your husband, and it’s important to know that you can still love him — the imperfect human — while not condoning his behavior. Hopefully he will be willing to enter therapy with you and to actively take responsibility for what he has done. Whether he does that or not, we strongly and lovingly suggest that you commit to doing whatever it takes to heal yourself and surround yourself with friends and family who love you and have your best interests at heart.
Arielle & Brian
Email your questions about life, love and relationships to Arielle & Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.