Q and A With Dr. Spring: 4 Tips to Heal After the Affair

Affairs are like car wrecks. Everyone involved is shocked, whether they have been injured or are to blame. According to Janis Abrams Spring Ph.D., a researcher of infidelity for over 25 years, it is normal for hurt partners to experience post-traumatic-stress symptoms including hypersensitivity, an inability to concentrate, and a loss of passion. Recently, she provided these four tips to iVillage members whose husbands have cheated, and answered some very personal questions from them, too.

Do you need advice? iVillage’s confidential Betrayed Spouse’s Support Group welcomes you to read or participate in discussion.

1. “It will take a long time to heal. People think that the worst part of being betrayed would be losing trust, but many women who are hurt experience a feeling that is far worse, almost like a total disintegration of themselves. I tell my patients that this turmoil can last at least a year and a half. Since this is such a long time, they say they feel hopeless about healing, and I understand that.

A woman’s progress depends on many factors. If she becomes clinically depressed or blames herself for the affair it will take longer to stop grieving. These are normal feelings though, and any patient who is honest with me says that healing took longer than they admit to others.”

“So how do I stop obsessing about the details of the affair, including the sex?” --from murmaide

“Obsessing is a normal female neurological response to trauma. The first way to stop doing it is to understand that you’re not crazy. Too often, people are ashamed to admit that they can’t stop thinking about the affair, particularly women. Men have an easier time distracting themselves. Women remember the details.

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