The day you find out your partner has cheated on you can be one of the worst days in life. Naturally, you may want to know why and how the person you love could do this to you. Often the answer is complex. Your partner’s reason for infidelity may stem from something in the past, it may be a reaction to something that has happened recently, or it may have been merely a fleeting moment of terrible judgment. Regardless, you’ll undoubtedly feel many complicated and ever-changing emotions as you navigate your partner’s betrayal. Moving past infidelity is not easy, but it is possible. Read on for some simple tips and support that can help you move forward in this trying time.
Allow yourself to feel
In the days, weeks, and months following your partner’s infidelity, you’re sure to experience an overwhelming variety of feelings. This rollercoaster of emotions can be a lot to handle, but rest assured that it’s totally normal. You may experience shock, sadness, anger, depression, confusion, and fear all in the span of an hour. Know that this is normal and permit yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way during this time.
Avoid the temptation to seek revenge
When being hurt, you may be tempted to seek revenge. It can temporarily feel so satisfying to trash talk your partner to your friends and family or even to blast him or her on social media. Beware, however, that when you are ready to make up or break up and move on with your future vengeful decisions, especially any statements made publicly can end up making things even more complicated.
While it’s alright, and sometimes necessary, to confide in a close friend, be sure to choose someone you trust who has a vested interest in helping you make the best decision for yourself. Choose your confidant wisely and let that friend know if you genuinely want advice or if you’d just prefer a listening ear.
You’re going through one of the hardest times in your life. It can be easy to fall into depression and not care for yourself. You may want to lay on your couch in the same pajamas for days on end, eating ice cream out of the container and binge-watching soap operas. Don’t do it. Your partner has just served a massive blow to your self-esteem, so it’s a better time than ever to build yourself up.
Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend going through the same situation. Take care of yourself. As simple as it may seem, sleeping regular hours, exercising daily, and eating a healthy diet can play a massive part in your ability to move forward in your life after a betrayal.
Don’t point the finger
It can be tempting to play the blame game and put the responsibility on your partner, the third party, or even to turn the blame inward onto yourself. However, in these situations, blaming anyone in particular is rarely helpful. Instead, everyone should take responsibility for their own choices in the relationship and treat information honestly and openly. Remember, the motives behind infidelity are often complicated, and you may never fully unearth them.
Protect your kids from the drama
If you have children, it can be tempting to try to “get them on your side.” Remember, whatever is going on between you and your partner is for adult ears only. It’s unwise to involve your kids in these things. Even if you choose to end your relationship with your partner, it’s in your kids’ best interest to present a unanimous decision and keep the details private.
Get professional help
Navigating an affair is a serious business, and without professional help, it can be easy to fall into patterns of anxiety or depression. It’s wise to seek help from a mental health professional both as an individual and a couple (if you choose to salvage your relationship). If you’d prefer to seek help virtually, services like Lifehelp App can provide the help you need on your schedule without you ever needing to leave your home.
If the end of your marriage is in sight, it’s wise to be calmly practical. Begin thinking about where you’re going to live, what a reasonable custody agreement would be, how you will cover living expenses, and who you will choose to represent you in the divorce proceedings. If you decide to stay in your relationship and move forward with your partner despite the unfaithfulness, it’s essential to have a conversation about STDs. You may both want to be tested to ensure that no further complications enter your relationship.
Move one step at a time
An affair is one of the hardest things a relationship will ever face. Cut yourself some slack and take things slowly. Some days will be better than others. As you work through things one step at a time, the next steps will slowly become more explicit. Allow yourself plenty of time and space to process everything that has happened and where you and your partner stand before making any decisions that will impact the future of your relationship.