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After Infidelity: Expert Reveals 3 Tips on Coping with Anger

One of the most common emotions people experience in surviving infidelity is anger. This article offers 3 simple and effective techniques to help cope with feelings of anger after discovering an infidelity.


BETHESDA, MD (August 24, 2011) - One of the most common emotions people experience in surviving infidelity is anger.  Psychologist and marital expert Dr. Joe James has revealed 3 tips to help people cope with this reaction. 

According to Dr. James “Its important to first have an understanding of what anger really is. If you look at anger from a purely functional perspective its a protective response to a perceived hurt or threat, be it emotional or physical. And there are few things in life more threatening than surviving infidelity.”

Dr James continues: “Discovering an affair can leave you feeling stressed, depressed or both. Your ”anger“ is more about feeling so overwhelmed that every little thing in their life feels like an enormously challenging burden to be undertaken. Every little thing your partner or others do can feel magnified to the extreme. The TV is too loud, you feel like you are being harassed when the kids want your attention, even an innocent comment from your partner such as ”what do you want to do for dinner?“ can drive you over the edge. You may even have fantasies of killing or hurting your partner or the person s/he was cheating with.”

So, what do you do with all these feelings? Yelling at your partner might seem its probably not going to do much for you or the relationship in the long run. Without going into all the neurological reasons behind it, the bottom line is that the more you yell or take things out on your partner the more primed you are to keep doing it. In other words, yelling usually leads to more yelling.

While there is a time and place for anger Dr. James recommends that the primary focus of the betrayed partner be on ways to help keep you calm and relaxed. “The clearer your head is the more likely you are to deal with things in a productive way and to make the right choices for yourself.”

1) Exercise. The first thing Dr. James suggests is to get plenty of exercise (check with your doctor first to make sure there are no health issues involved). “As much a pain as it might seem try to get some exercise every single day. It’s the best drug available to help keep one calm, focused and sharp. It clears all of the goop out of one’s brain. People always find excuses not to exercise, but try an experiment: compare how you feel before you exercise and how you feel after. Keep that difference in mind. This will help reinforce that exercise is a positive stress reliever.”

2) Get Proper Nutrition The second thing Dr. James recommends is to eat right and take the right vitamin combination. He recommends taking a multivitamin in combination with 1000 mg of Vitamin D, 1200 mg of fish oil and 400 mg of SAM-e with food. These are all natural over the counter herbal supplements that work counteract depression and obsessive thinking. Some people may experience some gastric distress because of the SAM-e. Dr. James also suggests that a betrayed partner who is struggling with depression or obsessive thinking also consider talking to your physician about whether taking an anti-depressant medication for 3 - 6 months to help weather the crisis of discovering an infidelity is appropriate.

3) Fake Smile Technique. Dr. James’ final suggestion for dealing with anger or depression is to practice smiling for fifteen minutes twice a day.  “While the last thing many may feel like doing is smiling but even a fake smile is ok. There is a feedback loop from one’s body to one’s brain and studies have shown that fake smiling for an extended period can cause the brain to think ”I’m smiling so I must be happy“ and can actually lead one to feel happy. This is such a powerful technique that even people who have been depressed their entire lives and have not responded to medication have felt better after fake smiling for a couple weeks.”

While not a magic cure, following these 3 suggestions will help keep a betrayed partner in a more balanced place as s/he works on surviving infidelity.

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