Have you found out that your spouse is cheating? Does it feel like the rug has just been pulled out from under you? Are you living in a swirl of fear, confusion, sadness, pain and anger? Are you trying to figure out what to do after discovering an affair? If so, I’m glad you are here, my hope is that my tips will support you in moving through the aftermath of an affair in a way that will promote healing without adding to your distress.
Don’t turn to social media – Finding out that you have been betrayed by your partner sets off an avalanche of feelings, such as rage, fear, worry, sadness. They are often so overwhelming that they feel like they need to be dumped somewhere, anywhere! Social media often seems like an ideal outlet, it is an easy place to vent and get immediate support. However, most are left with an “over-exposure hangover” and less than helpful advice, which only compounds your already fragile state with feelings of regret and guilt.
Get super, super in touch with YOU. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay very centered in the fallout of infidelity. Mindfulness is a great way to maintain some control over your situation. Several times a day, take a minute or two to close your eyes, breath and notice what you are feeling in your mind and body. Imagine that you are standing still and strong, and the chaos is rolling past you, not infecting you. As I tell my clients that struggle with anxiety after learning of a betrayal, the calmer you can keep your inner state, the calmer everything will be on the outside too.
Don’t do anything drastic. Sitting with all of the hard feelings that are stirred up is extremely difficult, and often it is so hard that you want to deal with them by lashing out and taking severe actions. While filing for divorce, throwing out your spouse’s belongings or trashing your partner to everyone you know may make you feel strong and in control in that moment, it is only is a temporary “fix” that will lead to more trouble down the road. Ultimately, whatever decisions you make, you want them to be thoughtful ones, not rash ones.
Get support, immediately. You need an outlet for all of the conflicting emotions you are feeling. You have important decisions on the horizon and that is nothing to take lightly. The trick is to get support that is helpful, versus just someone to join you in complaining about and bashing your spouse. Find family or friends and ask for an outlet to talk about your feelings, versus them venting and ramping up your anger. Better yet, find a therapist that you feel comfortable with who is experienced guiding couples or individuals through healing infidelity.
Don’t get revenge. Betrayal hurts and creates so much fury that many times you want the one that caused your pain to feel it too. This leads some to rush into the arms, or bed, of another, complicating an already difficult situation, and adding another layer of emotional pain will not make you feel better. Focusing on yourself, without requiring the “band aid” of a revenge relationship, is the best way to heal and keep a clear head for what lies ahead.
Be open to learning and growth. Infidelity does not have to mean the end of the relationship. I have worked with many couples who have been able to use infidelity as a “wake up call” and move forward in a positive direction. Whatever is going to happen with the relationship will take time and work to figure out. Being open to exploring a variety of possible outcomes will lead you to a more resolved ending, or new beginning.
I work with couples and individuals to help them heal from infidelity, contact me to learn more about how we can work together, [email protected]
Author: Stephanie Macadaan
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. I love working with couples and individuals to find strength, growth and empowerment through their struggles and challenges.