Being cheated on by your spouse can be a devastating blow to a marriage and can make you feel like your world is crashing down. You may feel a mix of shock, anger, hurt, sadness and confusion. It is important to focus on figuring out what is best for you and keeping a clear head rather than reacting with emotion. Allow yourself time to work through each emotion in a healthy way. This way, you can be sure you make the best decision for yourself.
Take time to work through your emotions. Shock and denial are the normal first reactions to devastating news. Afterward, you may quickly find yourself feeling anger, sadness and fear or going back and forth between different emotions. It is important to understand that infidelity is not your fault and that you do not deserve to be treated this way. Allow yourself to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. Talk through your feelings with someone you trust, such as a friend, family member or counselor. You also can write in a journal to help work through some of these feelings.
Confront your spouse if you haven't already. Communication is key to any relationship. You probably have a lot of questions and concerns about what happened and want an explanation for the betrayal. You may wonder if the affair is ongoing. Now is the time to talk to your spouse as calmly as possible to try to get some answers. Opening up the lines of communication can help you understand the reasons behind the infidelity, and it also can help your spouse hear you out and understand from where you are coming.
Choose to work it out or move on. After working through the initial emotions, it is a good idea to think about whether you want to salvage the relationship. You need to weigh the pros and cons of staying in your marriage. Some things to consider are whether your spouse is apologetic, if there were multiple or long-lasting affairs and if you can see yourself being able to move on from it. If you want to save your marriage, have a conversation with your spouse about each of your needs and how he can start to earn your trust back. Tell him what your expectations are about repairing the relationship. There is not a timeline for letting go, but, at some point, you will have to forgive your spouse to begin re-building the relationship. Seek marital counseling to work through your relationship issues.
If you do not want to make the relationship work, it is time to make plans to move on with your life. Let friends and family know about your decision so you have a support system. Remember that is it is better to be alone than to be unhappy with someone else. It is also a good time to consider seeking legal counsel for information about filing for divorce.
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Gabrielle Nicolet has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. Nicolet is also a certified nutrition, wellness and weight-management consultant with American Fitness Professionals and Associates.