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Constructive Anger?

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tess0908 posted 1/9/2014 14:56 PM

My husbands affair was in September. He reunited with an old co-worker at a party, and ended up at her house making out. He then continued a relationship with her for the following 25 days. I found out through some investigation about the affair 15 days after it started, and it took another 10 days after that for him to end it. Those 10 days were HELL. We even both sought the advice of lawyers. He did not have sex with her, but did finger her the night they first hooked up, he was preparing to have sex with her (bought Viagra and condoms), and would kiss her and embrace her at their following meetups. He only ended it because I called her, and "chose" me by what I believe to be default (we have 3 kids, one of which was a newborn).

There are 5 stages of grief: Denial and Isolation, Bargaining, Depression, Anger, and Acceptance. I went through the first 3 in the proceeding 3 months.

The bargaining occurred before the affair ended. I begged for him to give the marriage a chance, promising to change myself for him.

In October he reacted with anger towards me, and lacked remorse for his actions. He said he was sorry for hurting me, but not for the actions of the affair. That was not good enough for me. I needed him to be sorry for the affair itself. He minimalized his actions, rationalized them, blame shifted, and gas lighted me. I went though denial and isolation, plus depression. (I denied the extent of the affair, for at first he said it was merely emotional, but then he kept adding details until ultimately fingering her.)

November was better, although he continued to justify his behavior and made it clear that he would never feel remorse.

December was a little better, with me still experiencing depression.Mid December he again announced he thought that we would not be where we were today of he had not done what he did, his excuse for not being able to express remorse. Anger started by the end of December.

On New Years Eve he announced he had evolved, and suddenly felt remorse. I do not believe him. I have felt he has done nothing for reconciliation (I bought him a book to help me heal that he didn't read for a month when it would have taken him 90 minutes; emails about marriage were not opened but thrown in the trash; marital counseling homework went undone; etc.) Then, all of a sudden he feels bad and wants to turn things around. It was also at this time that I found out that he penetrated her, albeit with his hand. I was nave to this before.

I have been unleashing some serious anger in the past couple of weeks. It's like I can't help myself. Something triggers me and I freak out. I go over and over how awful he has been towards me, how he's been apathetic to my recovery, how he's done nothing but blame me and scar me even further.

I want this to work. I hope he is sincere in his "effort" to reconcile, saying he will do whatever it takes to help me heal. I know that I will ultimately push him away if I continue with my outbursts.

Which leads me to my question: Is there such thing as constructive anger after infidelity? Is there a better way to express my anger, or deal with it? I'm exhausted, and I know he is, too.

Gotmegood posted 1/9/2014 15:07 PM

Not being a therapist, I feel unable to give you a constructive answer to your question. I can, however, validate your feelings of anger. I think anger is absolutely unavoidable when living through this particular trauma.
I would suggest to you that since you had this very delayed remorse from your WH, you are protecting yourself by questioning the veracity of his sudden change of heart. If I were you I would try to be less worried about YOU driving him away with your angry outbursts, and more concerned with watching to see if he is truly ALL IN in terms of repenting for his major eff-up, and if he can consistently and with compassion help you heal. Good luck my friend!

steadfast1973 posted 1/9/2014 15:45 PM

Don't call him names? You are entitled to this anger. He did this, not you. He's tired of it? These are the consequences to the choices he made. Choices that affect your life as much as his, and that he kept from you. I felt like you after dday1. I didn't want to push him away more. So I hid my anger. And... Helped him rugsweep. I retracted my line in the sand, because I was afraid to lose him. And i got dday2.

Not every one makes it through to R. You have to be willing to lose him, in order to R. Otherwise you put up with things you shouldn't, ignore things that need to be addressed, Start hiding your feelings, and accepting a broken marriage.

sudra posted 1/9/2014 17:25 PM

I think there is some constructive anger, especially if you have felt more like a hurt victim. It can be empowering. Obviously it can go too far.

I alternated between hurt and anger. It was as if the anger took over when the hurt became too much, and then the hurt came back when the anger became too overwhelming.

Often anger is a cover emotion but not always entirely. You were treated badly by his cheating and his behavior afterwards. Anger at some point is normal. Just don't let it get out of control and try to find the underlying emotion.

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