Divorce is one of the most traumatic experiences an individual can go through. If your spouse cheated on you and that’s the catalyst for your divorce, even more emotions exacerbate the experience. Betrayed spouses do survive divorce, and some even triumph over it. The keys to survival are being smart and being patient with yourself.
Decide if divorce is your best option to your spouse’s infidelity. Be sure in your heart that you can’t live with what he has done and you don’t want to give him another chance. According to Melanie Cohn, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, in most marriages there were significant problems in the first place before the affair occurred. Many marriages are not fixable afterward. Be sure that yours is not before you move forward on the path to divorce. Be convicted in your decision.
Seek counseling. Get professional help to work through the roller coaster of emotions you’re experiencing before you tackle the legalities of divorce. According to Ruth Purple, a relationship coach and author of “”Winning Your Man Back From Infidelity,” you will inevitably pass through six emotional stages after you’ve realized your spouse’s affair: denial, panic, grief, guilt, anger, then finally acceptance. Make sure you have access to someone trained to help you deal with these stages.
Indulge yourself. Purple says that one of the worst reactions to a spouse’s infidelity is your loss of self-esteem. Most likely, kind words from friends will not be able to rectify this, so do it for yourself. No matter how many times someone tells you that you look cute in your glasses, it won’t make a dent if you feel uncomfortable in them. So make an appointment with your eye doctor and look into the possibility of contact lenses. Get the haircut you’ve always secretly wanted. Do whatever you must to like yourself and the way you look.
Find the right divorce lawyer. In most states, adultery is not a punishable offense in divorce court. Many divorce attorneys are motivated only by the bottom financial line of a divorce settlement, so take your time to find one who is sympathetic to your experience. You don’t need a lawyer who grows impatient with your emotional pain. You want one who will hand you a hanky and pull you back on track to deal with the logistics of the divorce.
Put your anger aside. When the divorce begins to get underway, you will be making decisions that will probably impact the rest of your life, and the lives of your children, also. If you treat the divorce process purely as a means of getting revenge, you can make mistakes that can hurt everyone involved, your children included. Your spouse will always be their other parent. You can’t change that, so deal with it as sensibly as possible.
- According to Jay Reiss, a professional life coach, the first two weeks will be the hardest. Reiss cautions against seeking solace in drugs or alcohol. Your divorce will still be there when you wake up sober in the morning, and you might be inclined to reach out to your spouse while you’re under the influence, and say and do things you might regret later.