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Discovering your husband is having an affair is a devastating experience. Unfortunately, the situation can become even more painful further down the line. If you've made the decision to leave him, you may have a rocky road ahead of you. Now is the time to put yourself, and any children of the marriage, before your husband. It's time to create a happier, healthier future.
Seek legal advice. Whether you want to start divorce proceedings now or later, it's a good idea to know exactly where you stand. Tell your attorney everything that has happened, and provide copies of all the evidence you have of your husband's affair, such as emails and bank statements. Educate yourself about the divorce process, what it involves, how long it takes and how much it costs.
Protect yourself financially, before you move out of the marital home. Transfer 50 percent of all cash and liquid assets into a bank account that only you have access to, advises blogger and journalist Tracy Schorn in the article "Seven Ways to Leave a Cheater" for "The Huffington Post." Run a credit check on both you and your husband, to check for financial transactions you may be unaware of. It's common for a cheating spouse to have secret accounts or credit cards to fund extramarital activity, warns Schorn. It's completely free to check your credit report online at AnnualCreditReport.com. If your finances are complicated, consider hiring a forensic accountant to do the digging for you.
Talk to someone about your decision to leave your husband. A close friend, a trusted relative, a professional therapist -- whoever makes you feel supported. This isn't something you should be going through alone. You're bound to be experiencing a wide range of emotions, from anger and frustration to loneliness and unhappiness. Don't be scared to ask for practical help as well as emotional support. You may need someone to look after your kids while you attend an appointment with your attorney or to help you find a place to stay.
Make plans for the short-term. Decide where you are going to live, and take the necessary steps to make it happen, such as securing a lease on a rental property. Make a list of the items you intend to take from the marital home, and purchase packing materials. Enlist a friend to help you with your packing, which may be emotionally as well as physically draining.
Tell your husband you are leaving him. It's best to do this when the two of you are alone, shortly before you move out of the marital home. Concentrate on your reasons for leaving, advises couples and family therapist and writer Emily V. Gordon in "The Huffington Post" article "You've Decided to Leave Your Spouse -- Now What?" It may be difficult not to get angry with your husband for his dishonesty and betrayal, but this won't do you any good at this point. Ask your husband what he expects from the separation -- for example, what the arrangements for the children will be and how you will manage financially. If you are concerned about how your husband will react to your news, tell him in a quiet, spacious public place, such as a park.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
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