If you’re dealing with the discovery that your spouse has been unfaithful, you’re going to want a few coping strategies in your back-pocket. I used to work with couples who were at the end of their rope dealing with marital infidelity and it was by far one of the most difficult periods in their lives. This is because the trust between partners is broken, which can be a huge obstacle to overcome.
After experiencing betrayal, you might experience a range of emotions and later have to sort through a number of complicated feelings. Consider these eight tips for moving forward after betrayal:
Never seek revenge
When betrayed by your partner, you may feel a variety of intense, negative emotions. At first, the urge to punish your mate by trash-talking the person or having an affair yourself may seem like a way to restore justice. However, engaging in such behaviors can only delay healthy coping and resolution.
Consider the perspective of your family members. They may have strong opinions about whether or not you should leave your marriage, but no one else really understands what goes on in another person's marriage. While you are considering how you want to proceed, it may be best to keep details about the state of your marriage private.
Accept Your Feelings
Shock, agitation, fear, pain, depression, and confusion are normal reactions to infidelity, although the intensity and duration of these feelings vary from person to person. It takes time to get beyond the pain of having had an unfaithful mate. The mixture of feelings and the sense of mistrust can last for a long time even when a couple is trying to rebuild their marriage after an affair. You may need counseling services in order for both you and your spouse to understand what has happened and how you can work through it.
Try to Take Care of Yourself
The body's response to stress can be manifested in a variety of ways, such as nausea, diarrhea, sleep problems, shakiness, difficulty concentrating, not wanting to eat, or overeating. After the initial shock has passed, try your best to eat healthy food, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and have fun.
Avoid the Blame Game
It is unwise to focus on blame when involved in the dissolution of a relationship. It will not change anything and it is only wasted energy. If you find yourself playing the victim, try to control your behavior so that it does not spiral out of control.
Do not involve your children
People in relationships should not involve their children in their decisions about whether to stay together. Even if you have decided to end your marriage, talking about an extramarital affair will only make your children uncomfortable and upset, which is not fair to them.
You are not alone. Before making any decisions about your marriage, seek a couple's counselor to help you gain insight into what exactly happened. The counselor can help you ask questions and share feelings with your partner without losing your cool.
A therapist can help you communicate better and sort out feelings of guilt and shame. If you decide to end the marriage, you'll know that you tried your best to make it work.
If you believe that your partner's affair is going to lead to the end of your marriage, think about practical matters, such as where you will live, if you have enough money to pay for your essentials, and if you have kids, the type of custody arrangement that you want. You may also want to ask your partner to be tested for STDs and to get yourself tested as well.
Take It One Day at a Time
Infidelity can be devastating to a marriage, but it doesn't always mean the relationship should end. A couple will work through the aftermath of infidelity over time, and eventually, they'll be able to move forward.