Surviving the affair

Surviving an Affair by Willard F. Jr. Harley, Dr. Jennifer Harley Chalmers - Ebook

Ebook279 pages4 hours

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

Infidelity is common, occurring in over half of all marriages. And it is one of life's most painful experiences for everyone involved--the betrayed spouse, the children, the extended family members, and even the lover and wayward spouse. With all that sadness, why do people have affairs? And once trust is broken, how can a couple reconcile?

In Surviving an Affair, Drs. Harley and Chalmers describe the most common types of affairs, the reasons they begin and end, the best way to end them, and the best way to restore a marriage after an affair. But most importantly, they help readers survive the ordeal by providing them with step-by-step guidance that minimizes suffering and offers hope for rebuilding a loving and trusting marital relationship.

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Willard F. Jr. Harley

Willard F. Harley, Jr. is a nationally acclaimed clinical psychologist, a marriage counselor, and the bestselling author of numerous books, including His Needs, Her Needs; Five Steps to Romantic Love; Surviving an Affair; Draw Close; and He Wins, She Wins. Harley's much-loved book, His Needs, Her Needs, is also available with a video curriculum for churches and small groups. His popular website,, offers practical solutions to almost any marital problem.

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Surviving an Affair - Willard F. Jr. Harley

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You Can Survive This Affair

If you are a victim of infidelity, you have been on the emotional roller-coaster ride of your life. Most couples caught up in the tragedy of an affair tell us that they have never felt such intense emotions. They are overwhelmed by anger, depression, fear, guilt, loneliness, and shame.

A betrayed spouse will ask, How could my spouse do this to me—cheating on me, lying to me over and over again? I can never trust my spouse again. I have so much anger and resentment it scares me. My feelings go way beyond hurt—I can’t even put into words the pain I’m feeling.

A wayward spouse often says, I used to beg my spouse for more attention but I never beg anymore—my lover gives me all the attention I need. But I don’t know if the attention I’m getting is worth the price. One moment I’m sure I’ve done the right thing. Then I look into the faces of my spouse and children and I’m not sure anymore. I don’t want to give up my family, but if I give up my lover I’ll be losing the best thing that ever happened to me. What should I do? I’m an emotional wreck!

When a couple feels such strong emotions, many question if marital reconciliation is possible. How can we ever recover from such pain? And even if we recover, can we live with the memory of betrayal? Can we ever trust each other again? Can we ever love each other again?

As marriage counselors we have been asked these questions thousands of times and have been able to respond with a definite yes. Let us assure you that if you put into practice what we recommend in this book, the prognosis for the future of your marriage is very good.

In the pages that follow, we use I to refer to either of us as we describe our experiences and counsel.

It’s Hard to Believe That Marital Recovery Is Possible after an Affair

When I first counseled spouses who were trapped in an affair, I thought I would be preparing them for divorce. But to my surprise, again and again I saw opportunities to save marriages. Infidelity did not necessarily cause either the betrayed spouse or the wayward spouse to want a divorce. Often what they both wanted was to escape the pain of their mistake and create a thriving marriage.

So that became my mission—to help couples recover from the disaster of an affair and create a fulfilling marriage that would prevent any future affairs. Unfortunately, my early attempts to save these marriages failed because I wasn’t listening.

In case after case, the unfaithful spouse told me that they had lost their love in marriage and had found it in another relationship. They felt that they had to choose between a passion-filled affair and a loveless marriage. Initially, I ignored the obvious—helping them to create a passion-filled marriage—and instead focused on communication training that did little to create the passion they had experienced in the affair.

The betrayed spouse was equally pessimistic about creating a passion-filled marriage. After going through the worst experience of their life, they certainly were not feeling very passionate. It was all they could do to just hang on for the sake of their children.

Eventually, I came to understand that if I were to save these marriages, I would need to help couples recreate the passion they once had for each other. Once they were in love, the horror of the affair would fade away and the risk of divorce would end.

When spouses are in love with each other, they never divorce. Never! So it certainly makes sense to teach spouses how to fall in love and stay in love with each other. And that’s what my program of recovery achieves. If you follow it, I guarantee that you will be in love with each other. And when you are in love, you will not even consider a divorce.

Ever since I began helping these tormented couples fall in love with each other and protect their marriage from any future affair, I’ve witnessed the recovery of thousands of marriages. But the path that leads to recovery is very narrow, and unless couples follow that path, the tragedy of an affair can permanently cripple a marriage and often leads to the further tragedy of divorce.

If you are a wayward spouse or a betrayed spouse, you may be undecided as to what to do next. One moment you want to divorce your spouse, and the next you want to try to reconcile. That’s the way most people in your situation feel because there are advantages and disadvantages to both choices. Divorce carries with it the destruction of a family and the loss of a spouse you may still care for, yet reconciliation means you will be living with the scars of betrayal and the risk of another affair. Your emotional reactions may be so strong that you simply cannot make the choice right now.

Even if you have decided that marital reconciliation is impossible, or if it’s only you or only your spouse who wants to survive the affair and restore your marriage, I would like you to consider my strategy for recovery. It has proven successful for thousands of couples in hundreds of cultures around the world, and once you understand its objectives, you may be willing to try it. My plan is that narrow path that gets you beyond the affair, helps you make your marriage better than it’s ever been, and protects you from future affairs.

You Can Do Better than Survive—Your Marriage Can Thrive

There is hope for the recovery of your marriage, and thousands of couples have proven it. When you complete my program for reconciliation, you will have the marriage you have always wanted—one that is filled with love and compatibility.

But before I tell you about my plan for recovery, you need to know some of the common characteristics of affairs. I want to tell you about Jon and Sue. Their situation may be different from yours, but it illustrates some of the basic elements of most affairs. Like so many couples, Jon and Sue thought it could never happen to them.


It Could Never Happen to Me!

Jon and Sue were about to celebrate their eighth anniversary and had good reason to celebrate. They had two healthy daughters and a beautiful home, and Jon had just been promoted to a new position that increased his salary by almost 50 percent. That extra income allowed Sue to cut back on her hours at work so that she could spend more time with their children.

Sue was content with her life. She enjoyed the comfortable home and other luxuries that Jon’s income was able to provide. She worked as a part-time special education teacher, allowing her time to do what she loved most—raising her children. But when it came to her relationship with Jon, the romance was gone. Sometimes she daydreamed about the times they had spent talking to each other, showing their affection for each other, and making love with passion and excitement. But with his new job there was no time for that. Besides, Sue’s life was enjoyable in so many other ways that she thought she could overlook the loss of Jon’s companionship.

Jon was also content. He loved his wife and children and was proud of the quality of life he was able to provide them. His new job was enjoyable and challenging, although it required most of his time. He wanted to spend more time with Sue and his children, but he and Sue had both agreed that their time to be together would come after he was more established in his career.

Jon was an achiever, and Sue loved that trait in a man. In fact, she had married him partly because she knew he was ambitious and would provide well for her and their children. She had encouraged him to accept the responsibilities that led to his advancement. Sue wanted Jon to reach his highest potential but she didn’t understand that the time he spent away from her prevented him from reaching his potential as her husband.

On the evening of their anniversary celebration, Sue and Jon exchanged cards and gifts that expressed their love for each other. Then they went to dinner at their favorite restaurant, where Jon had asked Sue to marry him.

But something wasn’t right. Sue felt uncomfortable talking to Jon. Their conversation about their children, his work, her work, and even about their plans for the future all seemed contrived and forced. She felt so distant from Jon that it was as if she hardly knew him.

When they returned home, Jon expected to end the evening making love to Sue, but to his astonishment, she was not interested. Jon and Sue had agreed from the beginning of their marriage that sex was never to be a ritual. It was to be an expression of their true feelings, something they did when they both felt a sexual passion for each other. But though Sue and Jon had been out together on their anniversary, Sue still felt lonely and certainly not passionate. When she told Jon she wasn’t interested in sex, he went to sleep very disappointed.

The next day Sue felt guilty about the way their anniversary had ended and called her husband three times to tell him how bad she felt. She blamed it all on having been in a bad mood that week and tried to assure Jon that it wasn’t anything he had done to upset her. But she was at a loss to know what was causing the problem or what to do about it. The passion was simply gone.

So instead of admitting her lack of feeling for Jon, Sue made love to him the next night, even though she did it because of guilt, not passion. What’s worse, she pretended to enjoy the experience as much as she had in the past. She decided that it was unrealistic to have sex with Jon only when she felt passionate.

Sue didn’t tell Jon how she now felt about sex. So he assumed that whatever was bothering her on their anniversary had ended and everything was back to normal again. In fact, after their anniversary Sue saw to it that they made love more often than before, which made Jon very happy.

Sue, though, began to feel restless and bored with her life. When a friend suggested that she volunteer for the Lake Restoration Committee, she jumped at the opportunity. Sue and Jon were both concerned about the way development was affecting the quality of the lake that bordered their community. The committee met monthly and Sue enjoyed being part of a group that was doing such important work. She became friends with several of the committee members and developed a particularly good friendship with Greg.

It was so easy for Sue to talk with Greg at the meetings. They usually sat together and he was always very friendly and cheerful. He listened attentively to her ideas, rarely interrupted her, and discussed issues with her in a respectful and supportive way. In fact, he usually came to her defense when others disagreed with her opinions.

Between meetings Greg often called Sue at home to discuss committee business, and once in a while they would meet for lunch. The more she got to know Greg, the more she looked forward to his calls and their lunch dates.

Greg had been divorced for three years and had custody of his two boys, who were five and seven, close to the ages of Sue’s children. Sue admired him for the good job he did caring for his children without the help of a wife. But she also felt sorry for him bearing all of the burden himself, so she offered to help him care for his boys if he was ever stuck.

At first, Sue told Jon about her friendship with Greg. When she had lunch with Greg or watched his children in an emergency, Jon knew about it. Jon had lunch with women from work once in a while, so he could not see a problem with Sue having lunch with a man. Besides, he trusted Sue. He believed that she would never be unfaithful to him. And Sue would never have imagined that she could be unfaithful to Jon.

But as Sue’s friendship with Greg deepened, she became increasingly secretive about it. She knew that if she were completely honest about how much time she was spending with Greg, Jon would become alarmed and encourage her to put a stop to it. She told herself she had a right to a friendship with a man, and that she could handle it. Besides, Jon didn’t usually ask her what she did during the day, so she seldom had to lie. She simply didn’t talk about her growing secret life.

Within a few months of Sue and Jon’s anniversary dinner, Greg had become more than just a friend to Sue. She had fallen in love with him, and Greg was in love with her. Sue could not remember ever feeling so attracted to a man, not even to Jon. Greg made her feel beautiful, interesting, desirable, and alive.

The secret life, however, could not remain a secret forever. It came crashing into the open when Jon decided to surprise Sue by returning home two days early from one of his many business trips. Sue had arranged to have the children spend the night with her parents so she could be alone. Jon quietly entered the house and went to his bedroom with flowers and candy in his arms. There he found Sue—and Greg! Greg grabbed his clothes and ran out of the house, leaving Sue alone to try to explain what had happened.

The Dangerous Illusion: It Could Never Happen to Me

In their eight years of marriage, neither Jon nor Sue ever thought they would be the victims of infidelity until it actually happened. They had friends who had been unfaithful to a spouse, but Sue and Jon felt they could never betray each other’s trust that way and they believed their moral standards set them apart from those who yield to the temptation of an affair.

Spouses who have not experienced an affair firsthand are usually very trusting. They don’t believe that infidelity could ever infect their marriage. I often hear, My spouse could never be unfaithful—she has my utmost trust, and He has such strong moral convictions that an affair is unthinkable.

When a spouse has an affair, it usually comes as a complete surprise even to him or her. That person often reports, I had always regarded those who had affairs as selfish, misguided fools with no discipline whatsoever. I could not have imagined having an affair myself.

But infidelity is something that doesn’t just happen on TV dramas. It happens in most marriages. Most marriages, you may ask? Yes, unfortunately, most marriages.

As common as an affair is in marriage, it is always devastating to almost everyone involved. It’s one of the most painful experiences that the betrayed spouse will ever be forced to endure, and it is traumatic for the children. Friends and members of the extended family usually suffer as well. But what most people don’t realize is that the wayward spouse and the lover are also hurt by the experience. They almost always suffer from acute depression, often with thoughts of suicide. With all of the sadness and suffering, why do so many people have an affair?

The answer is that, for the moment, it seems to be the right thing to do. Men and women are easily carried away by their emotions, making the worst mistakes of their lives.

One would think that at least the people with strong religious convictions and moral commitments would have special protection from extramarital affairs. Yet I have counseled hundreds of people with these convictions who were not able to resist unfaithfulness. Just observing the many religious leaders who have succumbed to the temptation of infidelity proves to me that under certain conditions infidelity is irresistible.

The truth is that infidelity doesn’t necessarily develop out of a bankrupt moral values system. Instead, personal values change to accommodate the affair. What had been inconceivable prior to an affair can actually seem reasonable and even morally right during an affair. Many people who have always believed in being faithful in marriage find that their values do not protect them when they are faced with the temptation of an affair.

It became clear to me early in my counseling experience that affairs were much more common than I had ever imagined. Now, after years of marriage counseling, I have come to realize that almost everyone, given the right conditions, would have an affair.

Sue’s Side of the Story

I never thought I would be unfaithful to Jon. I had always looked at people who had affairs as moral weaklings. But my view has changed. Now I understand how important it is to be with the one you love, even if your friends and family don’t approve. And I have a new appreciation for others who have affairs.

I broke my vow of fidelity and feel very guilty about it. Jon wants to work things out and get our marriage back on track, but I would rather die than leave Greg. I now believe my marriage to Jon was a mistake because I didn’t understand what love really is. I never would have married Jon if I had known Greg first. We will be soul mates for the rest of our lives.

I feel guilty and ashamed of what I’ve done, and even what I’m thinking, but nevertheless my feelings for Greg are powerful and undeniable. I’ve tried to forget about him but I can’t do it. Greg rekindled feelings in me that have been dormant for a long time. I find myself thinking about him often and wish I could always be with him.

Jon is a good man and doesn’t deserve what I’ve done to him. I know he loves me. But I cannot remain married to a man I don’t love, even though a divorce would probably be hard on our children. If I were to lose Greg, I would lose my soul and my spirit. He has become a part of me, a part I cannot abandon or ignore. Even if I never see Greg again, he will be in my heart for the rest of my life.

Most unfaithful spouses see an affair as enlightenment. They did not know what they were missing until the affair revealed it to them. In many cases a spouse is feeling depressed and unfulfilled, and the affair changes that. What had been missing in his or her life is found, and it’s a wonderful relief. What years of therapy can’t achieve is instantly accomplished whenever the lover is present—happiness and fulfillment.

But in some cases a spouse is not depressed prior to an affair. Sue, for example, was content with her life. The only sign of her vulnerability was that she no longer felt like making love to her husband. Her passion was gone, leaving a void that Greg willingly filled.

Sue did not develop a friendship with Greg because she wanted him as her lover. She simply needed a friend. And she never intended for their friendship to develop into an affair. She trusted herself to be faithful to Jon. But Greg did such a good job caring for her that he met her important emotional needs and she fell in love with him.

What made Sue’s relationship with Greg seem so right was that it was unplanned. It just happened. That’s why Sue felt that Greg was meant to be her lover, because she had not done anything to encourage it. They simply found each other and when they did, they each thought they had found their soul mate.

Jon’s Side of the Story

Jon, of course, was blown away by what he saw when he returned from his trip. He had no

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The Stages of Surviving An Affair

Relationships can be complicated. At the very least, they’re complex because people are complex. And at no time is that more evident than when a married couple is in the throes of surviving an affair. This includes opposing sides of the betrayal, and a possible re-negotiation of commitment to the marriage.

Infidelity used to be largely a man’s game. And wives were often tolerant while suffering in silence, mainly because they had to be. Wives of yesteryear often relied financially on their husbands, keeping them trapped in these types of unhealthy marriages.

But the surge of women entering the workforce from the 1960s on, coupled with the feminist movement, changed things.

Gradually, the dynamics of relationships, marriage, and even infidelity began to shift. Women were now on the same playing field as men, at least physically, and they were exposed to the same “opportunities.”

Statistics on affairs vary, in part because research relies largely on self-disclosure. But they all huddle close enough to drive home an important trend: Infidelity is no longer just a man’s game. (Check out, “The Cheating Wife Phenomenon”.)

One study found that 15% of women and 25% of men had cheated on their spouses. And that number doesn’t include “emotional affairs” that don’t involve physical cheating.

Whether you are the betrayed or the betrayer, can you put the pieces of your marriage back together? And, if so, how?

First of all, the short answer is yes. Infidelity is survivable. Couples prove that every day.

But how they survive it—and how their marriages look on the other side—well, that’s really why you’re here, right?

If you are the betrayed, you will undoubtedly spend a lot of time lamenting “should you stay or should you go?”

Even if you are the cheating spouse, you may anguish over the same question, but for different reasons.

After the initial shock of discovery or disclosure calms, there is the opportunity for clarity. And no good decision is ever made without clarity.

If you have hopes of your marriage surviving an affair, be prepared to go through a series of stages—difficult, painful, excavating, exhausting stages.

  • Discovery or disclosure

    There is always that unforgettable moment. A cheater gets lazy with the lies, a spouse gets suspicious or accidentally stumbles upon evidence, or there’s a confession.

    Whether you’re the one left in shock or the one left in shame, this moment is the beginning of a long road ahead.

  • Emotional overwhelm

    If you’re the betrayed spouse, and even if you’ve been giving a cold shoulder to your suspicions, learning the truth is emotional.

    You will feel to a degree that may seem unforgivable. Shock, devastation, sadness, hurt, anger, loss—they will all flood in and jockey for position.

Consider reading, “How to Survive Divorce. Especially if It’s Not What You Want.”

The important takeaway of this stage, at least for the sake of surviving an affair, is that now is not the time to make any major decisions.

  • Stopping the affair

    One thing absolutely must happen if your marriage is going to survive this infidelity: The affair has to stop. Completely. No “kind-of,” “just friends,” or “sneaking around.” The ultimatum must happen.

    As logical as this may sound, it’s not necessarily a no-brainer for the cheating spouse.

    Depending on the degree of involvement with the affair partner, a “one-night stand” cut-off may not be so simple.

    After all, the affair partner is a person, too, despite the indiscretion. And the cheating spouse may be vested in that relationship beyond just the sex.

    But your marriage can’t proceed with healing unless there is the confidence of no other relationship existing in the background.

  • Grief

    It’s an inevitable passage through any loss, and it doesn’t ask permission. Grief will happen, whether or not you welcome it.

    As difficult as it is to believe, your grief and all that you are experiencing in terms of emotions will be easier to survive if you recognize, acknowledge, and embrace them.

    Why is that important to know upfront?

    Because grief isn’t linear. It gives the stage to whatever needs the spotlight at the moment: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

Grief may not be what you think it is. Learn more. Read “Divorce Grief and 3 Myths.”   

Some theories include pain and guilt before anger and depression, loneliness, and reflection after.

The relevance of grief to surviving an affair? You are saying goodbye to your marriage as you remembered it and hoped it would be.

  • Discussing the affair and your marriage

    This is the long, drawn-out, painful, exhausting stage of surviving an affair, and it’s best done with professional guidance.

    There will be the obvious need for the cheater to answer slews of questions.

    There will also be the need for the betrayed spouse to balance what is necessary to know and what is really about wanting to know.

    The importance of this stage isn’t limited to discussion of the affair, however. This is the time when you will be dissecting your marriage, too.

    While there is never a good excuse that gives license to cheating, affairs don’t exist in a vacuum.

    If you are going to go forward with and safeguard your marriage, you will both have to be fearless in examining your marriage.

    How and where was it vulnerable? What negatives have you brought to it? What positives have you withheld?

    Both of you are going to have to step up and take responsibility for your marriage – past, present, and future.

    A therapist, husband-wife therapist team, or a coach that specializes in marriage and infidelity can be a lifeline throughout your post-affair process. You really shouldn’t DIY such a critical journey.

  • Acceptance

    After the shock has worn off and you are entrenched in the work of repair, you will move into acceptance.

    This isn’t about accepting infidelity as “OK.”

    It’s simply about accepting the fact that your marriage, like millions of others, has experienced it.

    And the relationship you are working on now will be “new,” as it will reflect the choices, lessons, and pain of this experience.

  • Reconnection.

    When you reach this point in surviving an affair, you may look back and marvel at what your relationship has accomplished.

    This is the stage of truly living again.

    You have already accepted that your marriage will never be the same as it was before the affair.

    But you have done the work and earned the right to say, “That’s a good thing.”

Surviving an affair isn’t simple or formulaic, despite the stages presented to help you through it.

It also isn’t easy. At all.

To the contrary.

And not all couples survive it…or should.

Only you and your spouse truly know if there is something worth fighting for…

…and something worth forgiving.


Choose not to go it alone.

Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner with them through the emotional and oftentimes complicated experience of divorce. SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists and support strategies for you—and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.

Moving: how to survive stress? | PSYCHOLOGIES

79 020

AntistressKnow Yourself

“When I left the notary's office, having sold my apartment, I was suddenly overcome with fear, almost panic. Why did I do all this? What have I done? I wanted to scream: “Give me back my house!” recalls 35-year-old Natalia. “But until recently, I was flying on wings from the mere thought that my little son and I would finally move from a cramped one-room apartment to a more spacious apartment!”

According to a study by the TNS Sofres International Market Research Institute, 70% of us experience major stress when moving. Especially women - 82% of them admit that they went through it with difficulty. nine0003

We often think that it’s all about the power of habit, which makes it so difficult to leave your home, yard, neighborhood . A house is a settled, fenced area, it is imbued with our spirit, memories. All this is our history. It's a shell where we hide when we feel safe. Parting with her, we feel very uncomfortable.” nine0003

Psychologist Alexandra Suchkova adds: “People are generally afraid of change — be it a change of job, place of residence, or new relationships. Any new situation increases the degree of uncertainty, and hence anxiety: how will everything turn out now? That's why moving is so exhausting. But when we make a decision, a new potential appears in life. This is a sign of the desire to live, to change, to move forward.

This is an occasion to take stock

Today it is difficult to imagine a person who would never change the roof over his head. If earlier the notorious housing problem forced two or even three generations of the family to coexist together, now young people, barely getting on their feet, tend to live separately, at least in a rented apartment. Marriage, having children, career growth, divorce, remarriage - important milestones in the biography are often accompanied by a change of residence

“A change of residence is the end of one life period and the beginning of a new one,” 40-year-old Yana agrees. “This is an opportunity to redefine, renew and get rid of excess burden. I throw away the clothes that were stale in the closet, the gifts of former lovers…”

These are not always changes for the better. Sometimes a divorce, the loss of a highly paid job, a credit trap can force you to move to a smaller apartment, change the center to a remote area. And this also increases anxiety, our image suffers: since I now live in a cramped and cheap apartment, then my “I” seems to be decreasing. nine0003

However, any move encourages us to seek our own identity: “Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Are you satisfied?

This is always a summing up of intermediate results, and it is very important, says Alexandra Suchkova, to pay close attention to this procedure: “Farewell to the old house provides a precious opportunity to take an “inventory” of the events experienced here, to understand what role we played in them, what we did not so and what we can change in the future. If parting is experienced honestly, being aware of one's feelings, then these reflections can become a psychological resource for solving new problems. nine0003

Agreeing with this, Maria Fedorova adds: “It would be nice to say thank you to yourself, to others, to the house for all the good that was here. And also talk with relatives, compare feelings: what was important for you? And how do you remember it? Such a natural boundary allows us to say something important that we don’t discuss in everyday life, and to understand each other better, to figure out together what we want to change, starting life in a new place.”

Saying goodbye to native walls involuntarily resurrects the experience of past separations, starting from the very first - with the mother's womb, believes Maria Fedorova. And so a change of residence is always traumatic. The situation is aggravated by all the accompanying circumstances: arrogant or unscrupulous realtors, scammers operating in the housing market, who have to be feared. Finally, a string of potential buyers, whose visits are often painful. nine0003

“Our home is a projection of our “I”, this is our protected world. And when strangers come into it, inspect and evaluate it, we perceive it as if they evaluate and criticize us ourselves, ”comments Alexandra Suchkova.

Why do we want to take old unnecessary things with us? The old house is no more, the new one is not yet. This intermediate point is the most difficult. “Any transition is always a test, a step into the unknown,” says Maria Fedorova. - We see our nest ruined, so cozy, beloved, in which so much effort has been invested. And we ruined it ourselves, with our own hands. This gives rise to a sense of guilt, orphanhood. nine0003

At every step we find ourselves in a situation of choice - what things to take with us and what to get rid of. And suddenly we begin to cling to seemingly complete nonsense. Some old concert ticket will suddenly seem like a jewel - reminding you of a romantic love story. Throwing something away means getting rid of some part of your past. Putting old postcards from childhood in a garbage bag is like moving away from those who once sent them to us.

Torn children's books, a shabby teddy bear are witnesses to the continuity of our existence

“I was going to give the neighbors the service left from my grandmother, because I have two more of my own, much more beautiful,” recalls 43-year-old Nina. “But at the last moment, I didn’t dare to part with him. As soon as I realized that now I would lose it forever, it immediately gained value. I wanted to take with me a lot of absolutely, seemingly unnecessary things: my son's school notebooks, a sweater knitted for him 20 years ago by my mother…”

“We tend to have children's magical thinking,” explains Alexandra Suchkova. “We endow objects with a special power, and they become ‘talking’, acquire ‘added value’ in our eyes.” For the same reason, we are relieved to get rid of things that bring back painful memories. nine0003

When it’s time to leave, it turns out that even what used to annoy us in the house turns out to be an important part of our “fortress”: a noxious neighbor, piano scales coming from the upper apartment…

in the effort that will have to be made to create a new living space

We can laugh at superstitions, but nevertheless we are the first to let the cat through the threshold, then we rush to clean the floor of the new apartment for the first time. These ancient rituals are symbolic acts that help to adapt to new conditions. The cat will “secure” the house from evil spirits, water will cleanse the space from the presence of the previous tenants. nine0003

“There is no need to drive away sadness and a sense of loss, it is much better to accept them,” says Alexandra Suchkova. “At first it seems that we have destroyed, cut off some memories,” notes Maria Fedorova. - But time will pass, we will use the usual things, look at the photographs we brought with us - and we will find that the memories have remained with us. And it helps to “collect” yourself again. We will build a new coordinate system, “tame” an unfamiliar space, acquire new habits, new acquaintances. These are always new opportunities that open up before us.” nine0003

Sunset projection lamp

Decor elements that create comfort in the apartment will help reduce the impact of stress on your nervous system when moving. Look for unusual light sources, such as a floor lamp that creates sunset light. Golden hour at the touch of a button sounds like a dream!


Text: Galina Chermenskaya Photo source: Getty Images

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Practices how to

1. Train yourself to be happy

The ability to be happy is nothing but a habit. “If you can’t take the positive out of what’s happening and only remember the bad, the neural pathways that are responsible for good news aren’t activated in the brain,” says psychotherapist Philippe Peri, author of How To Stay Sane. "If the brain isn't used to receiving good news, it doesn't have the neural pathways to produce it on its own." nine0003

It turns out that we ourselves program our well-being. Optimism is a matter of practice. You need to consciously look for, notice and remember what pleases, then a good mood will be with you more often than a bad one. One way is to ask positive questions that open, rather than close, the door of opportunity. In almost any situation, you can ask yourself: what is good about this experience? This is a quick way to change your mood and thoughts with gratitude.

2. Bad is as valuable as good

“Perhaps you are afraid that believing in the best will make you vulnerable and attract unhappiness,” continues psychotherapist Philippa Perry. “The key is to train yourself to accept feelings that can hurt, not avoid them.”

Being ashamed or avoiding an experience means getting stuck in some kind of unlived experience

American writer, Nobel laureate in literature Toni Morrison very accurately said about this: “I want to feel what I feel. What belongs to me. Even if it's not a feeling of happiness. Because you are all you have." To be ashamed or to cross out experiences, to run away from them because they hurt, means to get stuck in some kind of unlived experience, depriving yourself of the opportunity to learn an important lesson so that it does not happen again in the future. nine0003

3. Giving up is better than hitting a wall

In an old 1934 book, You Can Master Life, Rev. James Gordon Gilkey gives amazing advice. When you go through a difficult life experience, the first impulse is to try to explain, to find the reason why what happened happened. Usually this only provokes confusion, despair and self-pity.

Most difficult situations in life cannot be explained - they can only be endured, overpowered and gradually forgotten. As soon as we give up trying to find a reasonable explanation, the tension inside gives way to silence, and it helps to find a way out. nine0003

“Why is this so hard for many people? the priest asks. ‒ Because from childhood we were told: to win means to fight and destroy. This is what happens when you are young. Many of the hardships we face in adolescence tend to be short-lived, and a combination of heroic courage, strong will, and perseverance helps overcome them.

But the situation changes with age. We find prison walls in our little world that no hail of blows can destroy. Within these walls, we must spend our day - happily or with hatred in our souls. In the new circumstances, we must consciously change the technique of youth. It is necessary to achieve victory not by attacking the walls, but by accepting them. nine0003

4. Shift your focus from yourself to others

In Christianity, one way to feel better when you're feeling down is to pray for others. It is not necessary to be a religious person to wish something good to a stranger passing by and feel relieved yourself.

All emotions come down to two main ones: love and fear. And they can't exist at the same time.

The author of The Trick of Life in the New York Times writes that it helped him cope with his panic attacks. nine0003

“I sat down on a park bench and began to pray… I prayed for a nanny who was pushing a stroller with a baby in front of her, for a young woman who was jogging next to them in the morning, for a little boy who pedaled a bicycle nearby. I prayed that each of them would always have what I wanted for myself: health, peace of mind, financial stability. By focusing on others, I realized that my problems were no different from the problems of other people, and they stopped putting pressure on me.

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