Affair rage is real.

It is so painful and devastating. You have every reason and every right to feel angry. But what you do with that anger is very important.

Some people will say, it’s ok, just feel your feelings and feel them for as long as you want, treat your partner however you want, rage all you want, you’re entitled to your anger.

Yes, you absolutely are entitled to your anger, but your anger can hurt you and your relationship.

Anger has devastating effects on your brain and body. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. Anger reduces your ability to think clearly and reduces your functional IQ. Chronic anger causes high blood pressure, heart problems, and weakened immune systems

Anger will also damage your relationship in the long run if you do not learn how to express your anger constructively. If you just say and do what you want when you want, you will injure your partner. Your partner can tolerate some of this, but if it goes on for too long, they will break down or leave.

You might be thinking… that’s not fair, they hurt me when they cheated, so I have the right to hurt them! I understand, I do, and you’re right… nothing about this is fair.

But we have to lean on the science here: the research from Dr. John Gottman on anger and relationships tells us that relationships with high levels of criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness are very likely to fail.

So if you want to heal your relationship after an affair, you have to find healthy ways to manage and communicate your anger.

More on this in a minute, let's begin by understanding anger more fully.

Anger is a blister that protects you from feeling something deeper and…. ultimately, it causes more pain.

So what is anger really?

Anger is one of the six “basic emotions”  as identified in Ekman's Atlas of Emotions. The six emotions are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise.

Anger is complex and it’s what we think of as a protective emotion.

Anger activates you to fight and protect yourself. It also protects you from feeling the more painful deep feelings underneath. And those are exactly the feelings we need to target if we want to heal.

When you’re angry, you often think about revenge and harming the person that hurt you. If you do this, will you actually be helping yourself or your relationship? No. You will be injuring the person you need to help you heal.

You want and need your partner to be transparent, kind, loving, reassuring, validating, honest, open, and explain their thoughts and behaviors. Will they be able to do this if you are being mean to them? No, they will not feel safe enough.

Now, I am not saying that you should not express your feelings... I am saying that you should be kind and mindful of how you talk to your partner and how you treat them.

I am also not saying that you should suppress your anger, rather that you need to find healthy ways to express yourself. Remember than an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

So now let's talk about exactly how to manage you anger after an affair:

1. The first thing to do is to allow yourself to feel your anger:

  • Sit in a chair
  • Ask yourself, “What is hurting me?”
  • Think about the pain
  • Let the feelings come up
  • Feel the feelings…. know that they are a wave, they will come in and they will go out, just like the tide
  • Allow yourself to cry, scream… grab a towel and pull on it with all your might, do a wall push up… just experience this
  • Then notice it is fading, start deep breathing or box breathing… keep going until it has faded more
  • Hug yourself and rock while soothing yourself. One arm tucked under your armpit, one arm on your outer arm.

Do this as often as you need to. Then rest and do some self-care: relaxing music, nap, bath, somatic stretching.

2.    The second thing to do is exercise.

  • In our surveys of over 5500 people who were affected by affairs, nearly all said exercise helped regulate their mood and helped them recover.
  • I encourage you to get at least 15 minutes of exercise per day, more if you can. And if this seems daunting, feel free to break it up into three sessions of 5 minutes.


3.    The third thing to do is express yourself and get those feelings out.

  • Journal about it - just write for as long as you want about exactly how you're feeling and why. You can even write an email to your partner (that you don't send) saying everything you wish you could say.
  • Talk to 1-2 friends about it
  • Join a support group - there are several online
  • Talk to your therapist about it

4.    The fourth thing to do is talk constructively to your partner about it.

  • Make appointments to talk to your partner- talking about feelings all the time is not good for you or your partner.
  • Talk about how you feel without shaming or blaming.
  • Talk about behaviors, not a person’s character. For example, "The choice you made to lie to me about the affair was very hurtful and made me feel unsafe," versus "You are a liar, just like your father, and you're a POS and I know I shouldn't have trusted you!"
  • Express yourself fully, with kindness and compassion.

Remember you are trying to save your relationship and you cannot do that if you demonize your partner.

It’s not fair, I fully acknowledge that, but if I could go back in time and give your partner advice before they did what they did… I would tell them not to hurt you either.

I can’t go back and do that... but I can help you prevent any further injury.

I am on your team and I have been where you are, I do really understand and I want the best for both of you.




Dr. K's NEW Book on Infidelity Recovery

The Courage to Stay - How To Heal From an Affair & Save Your Marriage


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