Discovering that your partner has cheated on you can be a jolt to your system.
A flood of emotions overwhelm you pain, anger, betrayal, even a desire to exact revenge or to be violent. Everyone handles the news differently, sometimes due to the conditions surrounding the cheating. For example, you may react differently if you knew your relationship was on the rocks for a while compared to if you were in marital or relationship bliss.
Cheating signals that there is a problem in your relationship you need to confront. Sweeping it under the rug won't quell your feelings of anger or betrayal and it won't make your relationship better going forward. Take some time for yourself to do some soul searching. Youll need to ask yourself some difficult questions, such as:
- Do I want to save this relationship?
- Will I be able to forgive and move forward without wanting to hurt my partner in return?
- Do I want to know the details or will this only make matters worse?
- Should I confront the other party and how will this benefit me?
- Can I leave the relationship and how will our children be affected?
- Can couples therapy or marital counselling help us?
- Do I want to commit to going through the process of counseling?
- Is it possible my partner will cheat again?
Of course, some of the answers will depend on your partner. Some partners are not willing to honestly deal with the infidelity or to seek counseling. You'll need to be prepared for this and to have a plan B. Getting past infidelity can take years. It is not an easy process and not one that I recommend going through alone if you're committed to keeping and improving your relationship.
Friends may be able to help you, but often their advice can be colored by their own experiences or biases. For instance, will someone committed to being single for the rest of his or her life be able to give you sound relationship advice? Or, maybe your friend has also been cheated on and never fully recovered from the experience.
Also, when you are at your lowest in the period just after learning about cheating, the last thing you need is someone feeding into your worst thoughts or instincts. Look for someone in your inner circle you can trust to "just listen" and offer support, such as a place to stay on your own for a few days, help pick up the kids or to call your workplace to let them know you won't be in. Otherwise, telephone counseling or individual therapy session with an objective, sympathetic third party can help you cope and recover.
- What can I do to prevent cheating in my relationship?
- What did I learn from encountering cheating in a previous relationship?
- Am I at risk for cheating myself?