How to Move On From a Cheating Spouse

by M.T. Wroblewski ; Updated March 15, 2018

You can move on from a cheating spouse.

Paul Katz/Photodisc/Getty Images

Few will ever know how long you've anguished over why your spouse cheated, with whom your spouse cheated and how you think you'll never heal. From physically exhausting turmoil, you downshift to cliches, such as “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger” or “It's always darkest before the dawn." These polar extremes – acute, focused thinking followed by the indifference of dismissive cliches – though typical, must be left behind. It's easier said than done, but you need to do it. Consider how other people, including psychologists, have learned to move on from a cheating spouse by embracing ideas that are restorative in nature, which is precisely how to respond to betrayal.

Take Good Care of Yourself Physically

You don't need a physician to tell you how stress and anxiety can affect you physically. You already know. What you may not realize is how important it is to work at fortifying yourself so that you can function properly at work, maintain your other relationships and blunt the onset of a serious illness or disease. Here's where certain health cliches ring true: eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol as much as possible, exercise for even 15 minutes a day, take a multi-vitamin and get plenty of sleep.

Search for Meaning in Words

It's fun to make fun of a once-popular affirmation: “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darn it, people like me.” You might wish to go deeper with a quote, expression, mantra or short prayer, like “The Serenity Prayer,” that you find significant and uplifting. Words hold power and, through repetition, have the power to stop the tears, make you smile – or at least grimace – and propel you forward.

Reinforce Your Support Network

At the moment, you may not feel like meeting new people. So, until you're ready, make the most of your existing network. These people may include family, neighbors, coworkers or members of your church – compassionate people who are good listeners and will comfort you like a cocoon. Reconnect with those people who can provide the emotional and mental support you'll need as you move on from your cheating spouse. Or, investigate the Beyond Affairs Network, which offers an online library of resources, including written materials and videos, that can help plant an important message: in time, you will recover.

Pursue a New Recreational Interest or Hobby

With so much of your life tethered to your spouse and the interests you shared, taking time to find a creative outlet can be a particularly empowering step. It can embolden you and help underscore that your new, autonomous self is worth indulging. Think about those appealing activities you passed up because you spent time with your spouse instead. Some experimentation is normal, but with persistence, you'll find what's right for you.

Seek Professional Help

Many people grappling with a cheating spouse wait until they're at their wit's end to see a therapist. But you'll need your wits to help you heal, and a therapist can help, especially if you wish you had greater control over your emotions. At the least, a therapist will listen and offer advice and an unbiased perspective. If you're reluctant to seek professional help, it may be useful to think of counseling as a short-term endeavor. Like the pain you're feeling now because of your cheating spouse, it's not permanent, either.

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About the Author

If you can't see the world, then you may as well try to meet (or at least talk to) everyone in it. So goes the hopeful thinking of many journalists, including Mary Wroblewski. This is why you'll see her work in a wide variety of publications, especially those in the business, education, health care and nutrition genres. Mary came of age as a reporter and editor in some of Chicago's scrappiest newsrooms but softened up long enough to write nine children's books as well as one nonfiction tome.