158/444 Healing from Infidelity: Practical Ways to Process Anger #5
When dealing with an affair friends shift. Often times friends that you enjoyed spending great times with all of a sudden don't want to be around you and the tension. Other friends on the fringe now seem to have moved towards you and/or your spouse. A dangerous place is where the close friends have shifted away and the newer friends haven't moved closer.
Isolation waits to pounce. It whispers its rationally believable lies. 'Nobody wants to deal with your pain'. 'Your anger is too volatile for anyone to enjoy being with you'. 'You're a mess and nobody wants to be with a mess'.
In this transition time it is helpful to intentionally seek out a person or two or three to regularly meet with who can handle your pain, your anger, your messiness and who also have a listening ear for God.
In general these should be same-sex friends, especially if meeting on a regular basis. If the affair was with the same gender then careful thought is needed in determining who are safe people to trust with your soul. That isn't to say that women haven't spoken powerfully into my life. Throughout the process men also impacted Ann greatly. But on a regular basis the friends we shared our rawness with were same gender or we were together as a couple.
Don’t withdraw due to shame and guilt over difficulty in your marriage. Shame is an isolating emotion. Two poor ways we handle this are to truly isolate and stay away from others or to live behind a facade where no one really gets close. But the facade is one of the things from an affair that has to go! Honesty is a must. Resist the temptation to distance yourself from others. Friends with maturity can handle you in your messiness.
What traits will these friends have? They'll value authenticity wanting to get the real you not the facade. They'll be able to cry with you in your sorrow. They'll be able to stay with you when you share your anger even if it is loud and a little or a lot over they top. They won't walk on eggshells, but will feel the freedom to crack a joke and laugh heartily with you. Also, these friends will lead with their ears, listening well to your heart. Most importantly, they won't try to fix you through offering cheap advice that comes out of their own uncomfortableness with your pain and anger.
These extra eyes and ears will help you see your relationship more clearly. They can help you sort through your behaviors, feelings and thoughts. They'll sense when it is a good time to talk more about God and spiritual matters and when it is a good time to come in through another door.
As time goes on, you should lean less on your friend and more on your mate. It's a messy, rocky process. These friends can help you stay sane in the crazyness of affair recovery. Even so the greater friendship goal is learning to express your heart, including your anger, with your spouse. This expression comes in a way that builds your marriage not tears it down.