You just realized that your spouse has been unfaithful. The news of the infidelity has hit you like a ton of bricks. Your marriage is now thrown into a state of crisis that may destroy it. On the other hand, you both may be able to work through it and end up better than ever.You may have hope that your marriage can survive your spouse cheating on you, but you still fill sick inside when you think about the affair.It is natural to want to know why your partner cheated, but there is no simple answer to why someone becomes unfaithful. It could be a symptom of other problems in your marriage, it could relate to something in your spouse’s past, or it could be totally unrelated to you or to your marriage. You may never truly know why it happened.
There are things you can do to get beyond the hurt, forgive your unfaithful spouse, and save your marriage.
- Do not make any major decisions about ending your marriage now just because your spouse has been unfaithful. This is the time to do some reflection on your marriage to see what other issues other than this infidelity need to be recognized and dealt with.
- Understand that feelings are neither right or wrong. Accept that your feelings of rage, uncertainty, shock, agitation, fear, pain, depression and confusion about having an unfaithful spouse are normal. You will be on a roller coaster of emotions for a few months and possibly even up to a year or two afterwards.
- Do your best to take care of yourself. You may have some physical reactions to the infidelity such as nausea, diarrhea, sleep problems (too little or too much), shakiness, difficulty concentrating and not wanting to eat or overeating.
- Balance is the key to getting through this experience of coping with infidelity.Force yourself to eat healthy foods, to stay on a schedule, to sleep regular hours, to get some exercise each day, to drink plenty of water, and to have some fun.
- Ask all the questions you want.Talk with your spouse about the infidelity. However, you may have to accept that your spouse may not know why the infidelity took place or may not want to reveal this to you.
- Seek counseling. Do not try to get through coping with unfaithfulness alone! However, don’t shout from the highest mountain to all you know that your spouse is an unfaithful jerk. Carefully choose whom you will share this information with. Knowing the type of infidelity sometimes makes understanding it easier and counseling can help get answers to questions. Was it a one-night stand or an affair? Did it come during or after a life crisis? Is a sexual addiction a possibility? Was it an act of retaliation? Did the cheating occur to end the marriage? Regardless, this may be the most important time to seek professional help.
- Your children need to know that you are going to be okay. You can’t hide the fact that you are going through serious stress or trauma. Being honest with your children might be the best approach depending upon their age, but don’t weigh them down with details. Also, don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
- Try not to get into the blaming game over who or what caused the infidelity.It’s just wasted energy. That includes blaming the third-party. It will not change anything. Also, think twice before you tell your family or your spouse’s family about the infidelity. Family members can often hold grudges a long time.
- Get practical. Look at your finances, housing situation, transportation, etc. If you do decide to end your marriage, make sure you have thought out where you will live, if you have enough money to pay for your essentials, etc. If you are unsure this is the right decision, seek counseling as well to guide you.
Infidelity is one of the more difficult challenges a marriage can face. It doesn’t always mean it’s the end. It’s critical for both you and your spouse to carefully consider what changes you are both willing to make in order to get past it.