Handling the Aftermath of an Affair

What is John Thinking and Feeling? #

Every person handles things differently, but in most cases, this is the greatest emotional pain a man can ever experience. Most likely, John will be detached completely from reality, because this is the greatest betrayal he has ever experienced. He will likely suffer severe PTSD from this for quite some time. To help Jane understand what this feels like, she should imagine that his ability to trust even the most obvious things is probably gone for a while. Imagine putting your foot on the ground, and not being sure that the ground is actually solid. Imagine looking at the sunshine and wondering if maybe it is actually night. He intellectually knows the ground is solid and the day is not night, but for some reason he cannot bring himself to trust that he is right. Imagine what it feels like not actually not know if the most basic things in life really are what you have always known them to be. You cannot help but think you are losing all grasp on reality, and to some degree, you are right. Invariably, not being able to trust anything will cause John to feel as though there is something physically wrong with him. That he probably has some form of brain damage, and he doesn’t know if he will ever heal. He cannot work, he cannot follow a TV show, he probably has difficulty swallowing food. He may wander around, not remembering where he is going. He can easily become a shell of himself.

Most likely, John is also uncontrollably imagining Jane with the other man. He is imagining the ugly details of affair in his mind, over and over. He probably compares himself to the other man, feeling inferior and weak. John may not want any information about the affair from Jane, but he also might want details. If he does want the details, it is likely very hard for Jane to provide them. In part because she may not want to hurt John any more than she already has. In part because she may be too embarrassed to even begin to give details. In part because she probably thinks he will not forgive her if he knows the details.

But it is important for Jane to know why John might be asking or even demanding the details, and why it is probably best for her to provide them, despite how difficult it is. For one thing, the details are probably not as bad as what John is already imagining in his head, and as long as he doesn’t know the reality, whatever he imagines is 100% true to him. John’s mind may be coming up with all sorts of possible details, and as it does, it is real and true to him. For example, if John doesn’t know who the other man is, he may imagine 10 people, and to him, all 10 are the other man.

Another reason is that John desperately needs something to believe and trust, and anything at all Jane is concealing, regardless of the reason, is a lie to John. He needs total honesty in order to start building trust. As mentioned earlier, John has probably lost grip on virtually everything he has ever believed in. So when Jane admits something difficult (in a very loving way), it gives John something to believe. The only path back for someone in this condition is honesty. Every truth he can hold onto can bring him back a little more. But it is essential that Jane doesn’t make up “fake truth” to ease the pain, because actual truth has a way of getting out sooner or later, and John is probably comparing every word Jane has ever said to try to connect to something real. If she lies to him again, no matter how much she thinks it is to help him, it will be a massive blow, setting John back to the beginning, or even worse.

Many men need all of the details because they need to process everything, and all of the details make up a giant puzzle that they are looking at 24/7. They cannot make sense of the world s long as the puzzle is unsolved. Each detail is likely a puzzle piece of John is feeling this. So he may want to know which shoes Jane was wearing on a specific evening. This may seem trivial and petty to Jane, but for John, it is a piece of the puzzle that he needs to solve to start making sense of the world.