Discovering a spouse's infidelity is one of the toughest things to go through in a marriage. If your husband is cheating on you, you are bound to be experiencing a wide range of intense emotions: sadness, anger, fear, confusion and paranoia. Facing up to the reality of what he has done, and deciding how to move forward, take a great deal of courage.
A Difficult Conversation
No progress will be made if you and your husband do not talk about what has happened. Confronting your husband about his affair is an extremely difficult first step, but it is absolutely necessary to do this if he has not come clean of his own volition. If you have irrefutable evidence of the affair, such as text messages or emails from the other woman or credit card statements showing payments for flowers, lingerie or jewelry that were not for you, show this to him. If you don't have evidence, only suspicions, think carefully before confronting him; be prepared for him to deny an affair. Stay calm, explain how his behavior has made you feel, and ask him for complete honesty.
Ending the Affair
You will have to consider the possibility that your husband will not want to end the affair. He may tell you that he is confused and doesn't know who he wants to be with, or that he is leaving you for the other woman. If he can't assure you that the affair is over, that he is sorry for the betrayal and committed to rebuilding the marriage and earning your trust back, you need to accept that the relationship is over. Begging him to stay with you may be your initial reaction out of fear and insecurity, but it is not a healthy place from which to repair your broken marriage. You deserve better than that, says psychologist Phil McGraw.
Time and Space
You need to take some time to process what has happened and what your husband has told you about the affair. If you have children and don't want to disrupt their lives until it is absolutely necessary, ask him to sleep in another room. If you don't have kids to consider, or you just can't bear to be under the same roof as him, ask him to leave. He is the guilty party here, so he should be the one to go elsewhere and give you some space to work out whether you want to try to save the marriage. Don't put any pressure on yourself to make a quick decision about the future of your relationship. What you choose to do will affect the rest of your life, your happiness, and emotional and mental health. It's not a decision that should be made in haste.
Put Yourself First
The last thing you should do is blame yourself for your husband's affair, warns Dr. Phil. Even if you may have contributed in some way to the deterioration of your relationship, you are not to blame for his act of betrayal. Decide whether you can move on from the betrayal. Consider what is right for your children, but put your own happiness and self worth first.
Many couples manage to recover from an affair with the help of a marital therapist or couples counselor. If you are both committed to do whatever is necessary to heal the wounds and create a happier, healthier union, it is possible to save a marriage after an affair, says Dr. Jay Kent-Ferraro, licensed clinician and author of, "Surprised By Love: One Couple's Journey from Infidelity to True Love."
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."