“What Happens Next?” Dealing with the aftermath of infidelity
Recently USA Today published an article regarding South Carolina’s Governor Sanford’s wife, Jenny Sanford, and her intentions to “forgive” her husband. Mrs. Sanford called the affair “inexcusable” but said she would forgive her husband and stated, “ I hope he can make good on those intentions (to save the marriage) and for the sake of our boys.” For many, like Jenny Sanford, this is a terribly difficult decision to make and even more difficult to work through. So many times women who are in this type of relationship turmoil undergo extreme emotional struggles with themselves. Constantly questioning their own actions, appearance, etc. and many times blaming themselves for what has happened are just a few of the issues plaguing their minds.
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance in which Americans have been exposed to politicians’ extramarital affairs. Other notable instances that come to mind would include the affair between North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Rielle Hunter which was revealed in 2006 and also noted in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/us/politics/09edwards.html?_r=1
Silda Wall Spitzer, wife of New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer is all too familiar due to her husband’s similar situation. The New York Governor admitted to meeting with a prostitute in a hotel room. He gave a statement while his loyal wife stood by his side. How tragic and humiliating this situation is for anyone, but to then be ridiculed by the media while attempting to push through without tears is unbelievable. Reuters calls this an example of another wife in a “Stand by Your Man Moment”. http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN1051206220080311
Mrs. Spitzer’s stoicism and composure can also be compared to another female political figure that faced the wrath of the media during a similar situation, and known for “standing by her man”, Hillary Clinton. Both women faced the situation in the spotlight and stayed beside their husbands, and also their children. Both Clinton and Spitzer have been noted in “enabling” the secrets and lies their husbands have due to political campaigns and images to be upheld. There were apparently a long string of women within the Clinton’s marriage. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article3185449.ece
All of these women possess the qualities that many women strive to attain, such as strength, loyalty, and willingness to forgive. These women faced emotional turmoil with masked faces covering their tears and pain from the public eye. Although they are the pictures of grace, they are women just like anyone with emotions and reactions that are very normal and justified in these circumstances. These feelings are real and natural and it is important to recognize what to do with those feelings in the aftermath of heartbreak and infidelity.
Fifty-seven percent of men admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had. http://www.infidelityfacts.com/infidelity-statistics.html So it goes without saying that many women have experienced the same or similar emotions that these political women have. It is by having support and working through your emotions and feelings that women can begin to heal and rebuild their self-esteem and self-worth after such a situation has occurred. Emotional infidelity, compared to just physical infidelity, can inflict as much, if not more, hurt, pain and suffering. And to make matters worse, most infidelity involves both physical and emotional betrayal. http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/quizzes/public/infidelity_statistics.html .
Remember that it is normal to feel betrayed, to feel hurt, and to feel pain; but in the midst of the turmoil we should remember not to turn to alcohol or other drugs in an attempt to numb the pain. Instead try to focus on the positive. Using these political figures as an example, they are attempting to move past the situation that has happened and salvage what they can of their relationship with their spouse. They do have a family and children that will be affected by any and all decisions that come about from this event. However, if there is no way to salvage the relationship, take time for yourself. Do not make rash decisions and seek a counselor or therapist to discuss your feelings and emotions. Many women bottle their feelings up to keep their children from witnessing them and becoming more upset. Here are some suggestions for activities and forms of therapy to help you cope:
1. Find a therapist you feel comfortable speaking with about how you are feeling and ask if they can even be available outside of normal business hours by telephone if you need to contact them.
2. Surround yourself with people who love you. Ask for help and support from family and friends. Don’t be afraid of what they may think, these individuals truly love you and know that it is not your fault.
3. Take some time off. Going away for a while helps you gain clarity and strength. Many of the women that come to Brookhaven Retreat are doing just that. Taking a “time out” from the noise and stress in their daily life to regroup and refocus their personal lives. You can view the website of Brookhaven Retreat at http://www.brookhavenretreat.com.
Overcoming betrayal can be a long and painful process. The road will not be easy. It will not be quick, but it is a road we all must take in order to have peace within our life again. In the aftermath of the cheating, the lies, the hurt we must channel our strengths and keep “the upper hand”. You can view Elizabeth Edwards as a strong example of someone who is a master at channeling strength. In the midst of battling cancer and her husband’s infidelity, she continued to push forward and is known for being a renowned philanthropist. She has since penned memoirs of her life and experiences while remaining a respected public figure. Silda Wall Spitzer is doing the same and moving on as an investor recruiter for Metropolitan Capital Advisors and making her Harvard Alma Mater proud. Hillary Clinton, a Yale graduate and accomplished attorney, stood up and was a pillar of strength for many women to look to when she ran for president of the United States in 2008. Hillary is currently serving as our Secretary of State.
These women found that getting out in the midst of other women and being an example was a way to cope with their struggles. Talking is very therapeutic. Speak to someone about how you feel. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. You are not alone. Get out there and channel that pent up energy into something positive for yourself and other women.
To find out more about taking time for yourself and how there are other amazing women who are asking for help and regaining their strength through Brookhaven Retreat you can also go to the Brookhaven Retreat Blog at http://www.brookhavenretreat.com/blog.
About Brookhaven Retreat
Brookhaven Retreat is a unique, voluntary residential treatment facility specially designed to help women overcome emotional trauma or addiction challenges. The fully accredited and certified dual-diagnosis center is America’s premier treatment center for emotional trauma and addiction and offers female-specific treatment. Located on 48 beautiful acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, it offers modern, holistic care with compassion and respect from a highly trained expert staff of licensed therapists, physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses. Visit www.brookhavenretreat.com for more information.