Making Sense of a Whole New World

Waking up to a whole new world

The news of your spouse having an affair is often shocking. Like any revelation, it has a way of shaking your world. After the initial shock of them having an affair is over, the next major shock concerns the eye-opening process of acknowledging the affair. Once you have a few details about when your spouse was with their paramour, there is a ‘recalibration’ or paradigm shift that occurs. It is like waking up to a new world, only this one is like something from a Tim Burton movie.

This recalibration is when you begin checking dates, times and locations associated with the affair. You discover a whole different world exists separate from the one you lived in. The discovery of this whole different world or different reality takes some time to adjust to. You discover the life you thought you were living is not the life that actually existed. There is an unreal element to this discovery. With the unreal element, you find yourself questioning many things around you. The recalibration has you questioning your whole existence and the existence of others.

News of your spouse’s infidelity can be like waking up to a whole new world

How to make sense of this whole new world

Once you wake up to this new world, the concern soon becomes how to deal with it. What rules exist in this new world? How does this new world operate? Who lives in this new world? It is during this time, you may find yourself driving by places your spouse spent time, looking for some answers. You are not going crazy, this is part of the adjustment process. You can deny that this other world exists, yet no matter how much you say it isn’t there, it doesn’t go away. After you realize that you can not deny its existence, then you have to mentally and emotionally accommodate it. You do not have to like it, but you do have to accept it.

Adjusting to any new world requires some type of routine. You will need to have some stability in this new world. Routines provide some stability. Once you have stability, then you can find out who exists in this world. You can find out who else lives in this world and in your former world. Since all world operate according to some rules, you will need to make sense of the rules this world operates by. Who determines what gets talked about? What can be talked about? What are the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors? Who are you allowed to talk to?

Roles and Structures in this new world

Besides rules, there will be roles and structures that operate in this world as well. The roles address what the behavioral expectations are for men, for women and for children. They address what the roles are for the paramour and your spouse. Roles establish the pecking order and hierarchies that may exist. Someone makes decisions and has power. The roles determine how power is managed in this new world. The structures determine the boundaries of this world. What are the boundaries of this new world? How do these structures keep people in this world? Are the boundaries fixed or do they adjust according to the needs of those in this world?

Knowing the rules, roles and structures will provide you with a road map of the new world. Once you have a mental and emotional road map, you can navigate through this new world. The decisions made by you and your spouse will determine whether this new world is a permanent change or a temporary one. Even when it is temporary, you will still have to deal with it in some way.