The following are scenarios that you may find yourself in when trying to survive infidelity, along with my opinions on what you can do. Know that I am just like you, I am not a PHD, not a self proclaimed relationship guru, and not a marriage counselor; I am none of those, I am just like you, someone who has gone through infidelity. I survived infidelity and, although it took longer than it should, flourished.
It took me months to take any sort of action to prove to myself that my husband was having an affair, and two years to get over the fact that I was cheated on by my now ex-husband. I KNOW exactly what you are going through and how horrible it feels; it’s so horrible you feel like you are in a nightmare and want to wake up, this is why most people become delusional during the early stages of infidelity because they expect the problem to fix itself (wake up). It’s the darkest hours of your life finding out someone you love and trust above all else has betrayed you.
But trust me, after all of this has passed, you will become a stronger person. You don’t believe that now, but after a year has passed, with the right mindset, you will become emotionally stronger with better judgment and control of your life. Same goes for your marriage, if you choose to remain married; your marriage and bond with your spouse together will get stronger in time, you will gradually regain the lost trust, and get the feeling of security back. A marriage counselor will quicken the process for both.
Once I got rid of my negativity, I did start dating again, and I did eventually get married again. I changed my whole “the sky is falling down” attitude that I’ve had since I found out about the affair, and started to think AND do positive. There’s such a horrible media created stereotype that women who are in their late thirties will have a harder time finding a man that wants to be with them. If you’ve been with your spouse since you were in your early twenties, then broke up when you were older, you shouldn’t have that fear of being alone. You will be able to find someone that truly deserves you, all you need to do is go out there to create the opportunity. Holing up and being depressed will never get you anything, and should be avoided at all costs.
One of the most important things that you should know is that trying to survive infidelity alone will increase the difficulty of the whole process, you NEED to vent, be it anonymously online, a friend or family member, an infidelity support group, or a professional marriage counselor. I highly recommend marriage counselors, and you have zero excuses to not seek help because there are online marriage counseling courses available to you if you can’t afford one of your local counselors. A typical marriage counselor in America costs around $100-200+ an hour, online marriage counseling costs $200-300 for a whole course, and extra for one on one coaching sessions. If you are low on cash, finish an online marriage counseling course first, then seek online one on one marriage coaching. I hope this article will help you deal with infidelity better than I did.
Beginning Of Infidelity
You’ve observed the typical signs of a cheating spouse, you start thinking that you may have infidelity problems, but still doubt it because you know your husband or wife loves you. More signs appear, and you decide to do some spying. You find proof that points towards an affair. At first you refuse to believe it because it’s your spouse, they would never ever do that. But as you observe more and more signs, find more and more proof, you start to accept that it could be a reality. Your spouse could be cheating on you, being intimate with someone else behind your back. Your world stops, and your heart drops on the floor shattering into a billion pieces. You see images of your spouse with someone else, being intimate together, laughing together, doing all the things you used to do, and lying to you about it. You contemplate whether or not you should continue living and you fall into a deep dark depressed state.
This may not be true for you, but that certainly was me, I was so gutted I locked myself up in the bathroom as soon as I found proof of an affair and cried my eyes out. I wanted to end my life. If you have never gone through infidelity, this may seem exaggerated to you, but trust me, it’s not even close. To describe the feeling of finding out that your spouse is having an affair, I would have to compare it to being locked up in an escape proof box. That is slowly sinking to the deepest depths of the ocean. Slowly getting crushed by the pressure. Even if you escape the box, you’ll still be killed by the pressure. If you don’t escape the box, you get crushed along with it. If you somehow survive the pressure and escape from the box, you will drown because you can’t hold your breath long enough to resurface. That’s almost as painful as first finding out you have infidelity problems.
The common reactions of people first discovering infidelity are usually either shock, disbelief, hate, or all of the above at the same time. I say this based on my own experience, and that of the hundreds of people that I’ve talked to and emailed. The only thing that tops the questions “how do I save my marriage?” is “how can I get revenge?”. The best revenge is acting like you aren’t affected and moving on as quickly as you possibly can. You don’t want to waste anymore of your life on them. Letting your ex-spouse end up with the person they cheated on you with is also a form of revenge because every time they see their cheat partner they will realize how much of a disgusting human being they are, and that it could happen to them because their relationship was based on an affair.
Infidelity is so devastating that it causes you lose the ability to think properly, and let your emotions take control over your actions. Some, out of sheer desperation, will offer or try to do anything and everything for their spouse just to save their marriage (you shouldn’t, this will make your spouse more inclined to leave you). We’ll talk about saving a marriage in another article, but for this article we will focus on ourselves first because self healing is necessary before attempting to salvage a failing relationship.
Ways To Survive Infidelity
Here are some ways to help you deal with your infidelity problems. If you’ve just discovered that your husband or wife cheated on you, please do NOT make any drastic decisions until you’ve calmed down. Traumatizing experiences may cause you to say or do something you do not mean, or want to happen. Take some time off, let your emotions settle, then come up with a plan to save your marriage, or end it. Seek help from a marriage counselor if you are able to.
Vent Your Infidelity Problems
One of the most important things for you to do is to get support from people who will understand your situation. It doesn’t matter who you go to, what is important is that as soon as you find out you have infidelity problems, immediately share it with a friend, relative, or on our surviving infidelity forums. It will drastically improve your feelings, and they may even give you helpful advice. Right now, you want to know there are people out there that want to help you. You need all the help you can get, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
A major problem victims of infidelity have is that they do not like telling other people what happened because they feel ashamed that they were cheated on (and it is humiliating, especially if you had no clue of the affair). This is the wrong mindset, don’t think about what others will think of your marriage or relationship, think about how much easier everything will be with the support of your family and friends. If you have no one you can talk to, I urge you to post on our forums or seek an infidelity support group. There are a few members right now on the forums, but Mike (my husband), Hana, and myself will always reply to your posts. If you feel that what you have to share is not fit for the forums, you can email me directly.
You have zero excuses for not telling anyone now. Family, friends, surviving infidelity forums, an infidelity support group, or email me directly (I will always try to reply as soon as I can). Why am I pushing this? Because it’s extremely important, and something that took me months to do myself (I talked to friends about it, went to a counselor alone, and eventually joined an infidelity support group and met Mike). I want you to talk to someone, and do it as soon as you can. Venting your feelings to someone that is willing to listen is one of the best ways to survive infidelity and get another point of view. So please do it.
Do NOT Give Your Spouse Ultimatums
Can you count how many times you’ve said “You will NEVER AGAIN DO ______ AFTER THIS” during or right after a fight? What about “I’m never going to ______ because of this”? What happened after you gave your ultimatum? You had more fights, or your spouse started holding grudges. Ultimatums do nothing but make a relationship worse. If your partner is not willing to compromise, giving them ultimatums will just make them sick of you and feel trapped in the relationship.
When you first find out you are dealing with infidelity you enter a state of shock, and your emotions take over. This will cause you to act based on what just happened, you being betrayed. Naturally you’ll want to get even, and you may say things you don’t mean. Such as “our marriage is so over. that was the last straw!”, when really, you still love your spouse very much but are just so hurt you want to push them away and hurt them back. Your spouse, who cheated, may also still love you very much and genuinely regret having their affair. So take a break, move to your relatives or somewhere you can have “me time”, and find people to talk to about your problems. Search the local yellow pages for marriage counselors or therapists. Give your family doctor a call and ask for a recommendation in case they know some therapists in your area.
Get Marriage Counseling Locally Or Online
I’ll go in depth in marriage counseling in another article, but this is something you may or may not want. Some people are not comfortable telling strangers (even though they are professional marriage therapists) about their private lives and problems. Some people may not agree with going to marriage counselor, or even believe they can help (they do). They will give you a personalized plan to get your marriage back together, and offer structure. They let you vent, in front of your spouse, and give suggestions to each of your problems that will help you compromise together.
Marriage counseling is one of the best ways to survive infidelity as a couple, or by yourself. If your spouse (the one who cheated) refuses to go to marriage counseling, you should ask yourself if they REALLY want to save your marriage. This is a compromise any cheating spouse should agree to, because it’s a positive step to gaining back the trust they lost from you. That’s the most important part of counseling for me, helping you trust your cheating spouse again, and helping them figure out why they cheated and what they need to do to mend the relationship.
Another reason some people don’t go to marriage counseling is because of the high fees. I understand that $100-200 per hour is a lot, but consider what you are getting for that fee. You are getting help to rebuild your failing marriage, is that not worth the fees? If you really can’t save up $100-200 per counseling session, then try an online course designed by a marriage counselor. Don’t skip this method of surviving infidelity until you’ve actually tried it. There are so many negative stereotypes against “shrinks”, but the truth is, they help people a lot. It’s just not as visible as say a surgeon or a family doctor, but they do improve the quality of life for lots of people, not just people with failing marriages.
Most people save this method for last because they want to try to fix the problem themselves. For some with simple problems like a spouse that flirts or is too touchy, that works, for others that are dealing with an affair, they dig a deeper whole that can sometimes lead to a divorce.
You can find a marriage counselor in your area by googling “marriage counseling [your state here]”, by looking through a phone directory, or even better, calling your family doctor and asking for a recommendation. I’d always take a referral over a phone directory.
For online marriage counseling courses, see Dr. Gunzburg’s program on how to survive an affair. Watch the video and signup to get the free report. Take the course online, and then seek one on one coaching. That’s the cheapest alternative to marriage counseling you can get. $100-200 per hour vs $50 per month for a 4 month course.
The online course teaches you how to start talking with your spouse again, how you can make them end the affair, how to forgive your spouse and restore the trust you once had, and stop seeing images and getting negative thoughts about the affair your husband or wife had. You get the ebook version instantly followed by the hard copy and workbook they mail to you. I would hold off on the one on one coaching sessions until you actually complete the course, either alone or as a couple. The surviving infidelity course works on the victim, and the cheater separately, and then together once you’ve dealt with your individual problems. It’s main focus is trust building.
Read How Others Dealt With Infidelity
Another great way to feel better is by reading through other people’s infidelity problems, and how they solved it. Doing this reassures you that you are not alone, and you will be able to do the same things as they have. Please take some time and visit the infidelity forums and browse through other people’s problems and what they did to overcome it. The forums is heavily moderated, so if you are planning on posting, do not flame, curse, or reveal someone’s personal information.
Surviving infidelity is much more easier when you get inspired by people who have succeeded. We will maintain the forums as long as possible because we believe this is one of the best resources we can share with victims of infidelity, and we would appreciate if you shared your stories with us. For the benefit of the future readers like yourself, that need the inspiration to show them that they too can overcome their marriage problems.
Put Your Feelings Into Writing
Write down everything you feel, and what you think about the affair. Imagine you are talking to your spouse directly, and put to words everything and anything you want to say to them. It doesn’t matter if you give them what you wrote or not, but venting it and putting it in to writing will help you relieve some of the stress of the affair. It’s also a good way to gain structure and come up with a plan on what you want to do with your relationship. Again, don’t do anything drastic while you are in a state of emotional trauma.
Easier said than done, I know. It’s very difficult to keep eating properly, or having enough exercise and staying active, but it’s a necessity. There’s absolutely no way you are going to survive an affair if you are unhealthy physically and emotionally. Even if you don’t want to or can’t exercise, you need to at least eat three meals a day. Can’t eat proper meals? At least eat some protein bars, and meal replacement shakes along with vitamins.
My suggestion, for those who can, is just run. Run as fast as you can, for as long as you can. It feels great, and is a natural way to relieve stress. If you run enough, your body releases endorphins and you may experience what some people call a “runner’s high”.
In the following days, you will be making one of the most important decisions in your life that will potentially change your relationship. Don’t ever make any important decisions when you are not physically and emotionally stable.
Like the runner’s high (endorphins make you happy), but instead of exercise, we buy ourselves things :) Do you love chocolate? Go buy yourself a box. Have you been dying to get that outfit you always pass by going home from work? Buy it!. Go to a hair salon, get your hair done. For the guys, well my husband loves collecting DVDs, so go buy yourself the whole Godfather trilogy set and watch it with some buddies. If you can afford it, go on a vacation in another country you’ve been dying to see.
Point is, do whatever it takes to lift your mood up. Now is the lowest, most depressing point in your life, it’s the perfect time to buy yourself things that make you happy. Go call some friends and do something fun with them, treat them out to dinner. Anything to take your mind away from infidelity, and give you time to cool off. Remember your goal, it’s to create a plan to survive infidelity. You can’t do that properly if you are depressed or angry, because you will most likely opt to get rid of the person that hurt you (your spouse).
Get your emotions in check, create a plan, and follow through. You might hate your spouse more than ANYONE right now, but you may find that after a month or two, you still really love them and they may also still love you and realize what a grave mistake they’ve committed.
Create A Plan To Help You Survive Infidelity
You will need to create your own plan on how you can survive infidelity, below is a suggestion on what I would do if I had to re-live my past experience with a cheating spouse. Writing this down on a blog, piece of paper, or forums will benefit you more than just mentally remembering it. Remember to create your plan during your break/time apart so you don’t let your emotions dictate your actions.
An example plan
After discovering my spouse had an affair, I would confront them about it, but give no ultimatums/final decisions. I would tell them we need to take some time apart to think about the problems we are going through. I would avoid a screaming match at all costs, and save further confrontation until we both have made up our minds about our relationship.
I will call up my mother, she dealt with an affair too, so she would understand exactly what I’m going through. My second option would be too call a trusted friend. My third option is to anonymously share my story on a infidelity support forum/group (although I would prefer the forum because I am not great at publicly sharing my feelings even though anonymous). We heavily moderate posts on our forum, and we won’t post something that is spam, hateful, or detrimental to anyone’s recovery. Be wary when joining an infidelity forums because some are NOT moderated and you may end up just receiving bad advice, flames, or negative comments where people blame you for the whole affair.
While taking some time to cool off, I would think about whether I want to save our marriage, or get separated. I would research on a local marriage counselor, after checking with a family doctor or relatives for a recommended couple’s therapist. My second option would be to take an online marriage counseling course on how to survive an affair as an alternative.
While still on a break, I would plan my day by creating a schedule, remember that it is important to stay healthy and eat properly. I would continue to vent to my family, friends, or anonymously through one of the forums I chose to join. I will also read other people’s examples and what they did to cope with the affair. I would put all my hate and anger into a letter that I will make my spouse read, then I will continue with my self healing. If you have the money, this is the time to consider going on a vacation or shopping trips.
When I start feeling better, I will go back to my spouse and ask them what they want to happen to our relationship, and tell them what I want. I would ask them to go to marriage counseling with me so we can work on our marriage. (I did not do this in real life, because my first marriage was not salvageable. I chose to get a divorce instead, and got full custody of our kids since he did not care).
When we start going to the marriage counselor, or taking an online marriage counseling alternative, I will make sure both of us follow through with the assignments, and I would also suggest we do things that we used to enjoy together, or maybe even save up for a couples retreat once we’ve finished with our counseling course.
What Should I Do Right Now?
- Call up your family, friends, and vent. Let them know what you’re going through, they will naturally want to help you. Don’t be ashamed to take them up on their offers, move in with them, go out with them, be with them. Nothing can replace being cared for by people your love. If you have no option of doing that, take the alternative and post on the forums. If you don’t want that either, send me an anonymous email and we can talk.
- After venting, leave the house (the house you live in with your spouse) and get some away time from them so you can clear your mind. Remember, no ultimatums and final decisions until you’ve thought everything through.
- Start the healing process. Do one, or all (better), of the above methods talked about in the ways to survive infidelity section. You can even consider taking the online marriage counseling course alone to quicken the process and give you insight on what to expect from your spouse and where your marriage is headed.
- Once you’ve cleared your mind, and got rid of as much of the negative thoughts and emotions, you can begin creating your plan on what you want to happen, or follow through with the 4 month course above.
Remember, the most important thing in surviving infidelity is NOT trying to take it all on alone.