Not many people would have sympathy for the individual responsible for hurting a mate by having an affair regardless if the person were now suffering bouts of depression from the shame and guilt of what transpired, especially the fact that it was someone they love.
Guilt from cheating can consume a person. In reality, the emotional experience deems a “life event,” bringing extreme stress that has the potential for triggering chemical responses within the body. Consequently, these can bring negative emotions that affect overall mood, with some people experiencing eventual depression.
As with any period of sadness or grief, it is always encouraged to feel your feelings instead of internalizing them. The suggestion is it can help with healing for yourself and possibly allow you a better capacity to try to work through the issues with your mate following the infidelity.
How to cope with depression after infidelity
When you cheat on a partner, mutual close friends, family, or anyone near to the situation will have empathy for the victim of the affair more so than feeling bad for you now sensing guilt and shame for what you have done to the one person you love.
What these people can’t fathom is how you can claim to be experiencing depression when you bring the situation upon yourself. Sadly, after doing something that brings with it such a feeling of sorrow for hurting the person who means so much to you, the emotional toll that takes, the stress, creates a release of chemicals that culminate ultimately into depression.
Regardless of why people cheat or engage in affairs, it could likely be something that happens with little thought put into it at the time it occurs; remorse, guilt, shame, and definitely resultant depression are possible.
It is also reasonable to believe that couples can come back together even after something so devastating. But that’s not evident when everything initially comes out. The person who cheated is “drek,” an outsider, the epitome of a cad, if you will until the dust settles or the height of the emotion begins to balance.
It’s not so simple for depression. You can’t simply “snap out of it” or behave normally. It can zap a person’s energy creating an eternity of dark emotions and negative thoughts with challenges in navigating each day’s schedule since there’s a sensation of exhaustion and a feeling of hopelessness.
While no one is excusing what’s happened, you must find a way to forgive yourself for releasing the guilt and shame from cheating on someone in order to find the path to recovery. It isn’t easy, but persistence will be key. Let’s look at a few tips for coping with depression following an affair.
Establish a reasonable thought process
This is one of the most important stages of coping with infidelity. So, consider your reason for why you might have cheated on someone you loved. Let go of what society might believe or societal expectations placed on all of us. You don’t want the regret, shame, and guilt to begin to jeopardize your mental wellness.
For everything we do, there’s a reason. Sometimes we react impulsively in a moment based on heightened emotions and feelings that strike us, as humans, making mistakes.
No one is above mistakes. You need to determine your reason and attempt to work through it personally and then with your partner if that’s possible.
Taking responsibility for the behavior
After assessing the incident and considering your behavior and the reasons behind it, what might have compelled your actions, the remaining objective is to own what you’ve done. The responsibility belongs to you for putting a crack in the partnership, or perhaps worse.
But, it’s vital to remember that punishing yourself as the sole instigator is genuinely unfair. It’s not a good idea to point fingers or indulge in what’s referenced as the “blame game.” In any relationship, there is an assumption of “shared responsibility.”
Despite how you feel at this very moment, something led to feelings of being less than satisfied for there to be even the consideration to step outside the boundaries.
That’s not an excuse to do so, but it was a missed opportunity for communication that was desperately needed between two people in a partnership.
Now we’re faced with what has led you to this point of devastation. But it is essential to recognize there was a problem between two people.
It takes two people to be happy in a relationship and two to have personal issues like unmet needs that lead to a bigger problem, such as infidelity. Don’t take full blame on yourself – that would be unfair. Think about all the marriage problems and how you can fix them without neglecting your responsibility.
Pay attention to your feelings
To cope with feelings of depression after an episode of cheating on someone, you need to recognize that one weak moment didn’t eradicate the good that you have within you.
It’s essential to recognize that while you feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, and regret for that moment, along with sorrow for hurting the one you love, that doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of good now or that you’re a ruined human.
It doesn’t mean giving up and continuing to do things you know are wrong or wallowing in guilt and shame. It only means to stand accountable for what you’ve done, accept it, and try to move beyond that point so that you can attempt to make repairs to your relationship if that’s a possibility.
You’ll never be able to work things through with your partner if you don’t believe you deserve that chance.
Support systems will be available
Regardless of what you’ve done, your support systems will be available to you. People who love us don’t turn away when we make a mistake. Love is unconditional. It will benefit you in your depression to know that you’re not alone; you can reach out when you become anxious or upset will help you to get through those moments.
It might be tough for you to face those you love with the guilt of cheating on your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband. But don’t deprive yourself of being able to confide in these people whose intention is to allow you to let go of your angst and open up with your feelings. You might be surprised when you see things from their perspective.
It’s okay to forgive yourself
Mistakes are part of being human and a large part of life. There’s not a person on the planet who’s perfect, nor would anyone genuinely choose to be; it would create too much pressure.
The only way to navigate through the waves of depression is to attempt to forgive your indiscretion. You might be contending with contempt for yourself. But it’s vital to find your self-worth again and rediscover your confidence through forgiveness.
Until you can heal yourself and work through what’s happened within you, it will be challenging to attempt to fix all the issues with your partner. You might feel like the affair left you broken. But if you offer yourself some compassion, things will begin to improve each day.
Each day we learn something new, or we should at least. All life lessons mean to make us strong, vibrant, mature, and wise individuals who will ultimately grandparent the young ones until they reach their adulthood.
There are a lot of obstacles until you reach that final point where everything just sorts of starts to make sense, and mistakes are few and far between. Until then, you must treat the errors you make along the way as the lessons they are meant to be.
You might develop depression because your mistakes hurt other people. But then focus on healing your mental health and finding a way to heal the relationship if that’s what you want. If not, search for the path meant for your greatest good and progress forward with a healthier mindset.
When you find it challenging to cope with depression following cheating on someone, the first thing to figure out is why you feel so bad. Most often, after having an affair, mates will feel a sense of guilt.
There will generally be shame and, of course, regret. Many will feel sorrow for hurting another person. Still, it’s vital to assess the situation and determine why the incident happened and what’s making you now feel remorse to the point of leading you down the path to depression.
Once you have a clear thought process and can consider the situation without self-blame. Instead, recognizing that while there was no excuse for the behavior, there are always contributing factors within the partnership that lead to mistakes like these.
Looking at circumstances with a clear mindset can help you reach a point where you can eventually forgive yourself. But it’s vital to remember that you don’t need to face any of this alone; lean on your support system.
The people you love will be there for you regardless of the circumstances. It’s surprising in our times of greatest need how those who love us unconditionally can help us look at a dark situation through hopeful eyes.