When you married your spouse, you vowed to be true to one another and stand by each other for better or worse. Discovering that your partner has had an affair can shatter your vision of both your partner and your marriage. Navigating this difficult time can be painful and stressful. Here are four things you should do when your spouse cheats:
1. Give yourself time to grieve.
When you first find out about your spouse's infidelity, you might be reeling. It's perfectly natural to feel hurt, scared, confused, and angry in a situation like this. Give yourself permission to experience all your emotions as they arrive. While it might be uncomfortable, feeling and acknowledging your emotions is the first step toward healing. Don't rush yourself through the healing process. Remember that it takes as long as it takes.
2. Decide what you'd like to do next.
You don't need to rush your decision, but you should figure out what you want out of the situation. Ask yourself if you want to continue your marriage or if you'd rather make a clean break. Neither answer is wrong, but by clarifying your goals, you'll be better able to achieve them. Once you know what you want, you can take steps to work toward getting it, whether that's a fresh start or the chance to repair your marriage.
3. Attend marriage counseling.
If you decide to stay with your cheating spouse and try to repair the marriage, you will greatly benefit from marriage counseling. Look for a therapist that specializes in infidelity counseling. They will help you unpack your feelings with your spouse in a safe and supportive environment. Talking through your issues with a therapist can be easier and more productive than doing it alone. Your therapist will be able to direct the conversation and ensure that everyone's feelings are heard.
4. Try to forgive your partner.
Forgiveness can be difficult to achieve, but if you want your marriage to succeed, you'll need to try to forgive your partner. Your marriage can't thrive if you continually hold your partner's past infidelity over their heads. Of course, your spouse needs to apologize and try to make amends. It's reasonable to expect certain changes to their behavior, such as allowing you to look at their call history or messages. However, ultimately you'll need to find it in yourself to forgive so you can both heal and move on.
For more information, you will need to consult with a professional, such as one at Your Family Expert.