How to Deal with a Cheating Spouse

staff writer
How to Deal with a Cheating Spouse

Of all trials that can beset a marriage, cheating is one of the hardest to go through. It not only causes heartbreaking, gut-wrenching pain, the effects of it can cause you to question your inner worth, your adequacy, your sense of self. How to deal with a cheating spouse is not a question of reacting to the violation that was done to you. It is more of a decision to take care of yourself, your marriage, and your children.

  1. Take stock of your situation. Give a long, hard look at your marriage. What does it lack? Spark? Time? Communication? Intimacy? It may very well be that you have what others see as a “perfect marriage” but you’ve known for sometime that something wasn’t quite right. Or maybe you were blissfully unaware and completely blindsided by the affair. Whatever your situation, closely examine it to see if there is something that needs improvement. It’s counter-productive to focus all your anger on the other parties involved. It won’t change the problem, and it’s a lot of wasted energy. Do you have the resources to weather an unexpected change in life status? Are there financial matters you need to safeguard? More importantly, is there enough in the marriage worth holding onto and fighting for?

  2. Get help. Finding out that your partner or spouse is having an affair is very devastating. Don’t try to go it alone. Get help from your church, a confidant, a counselor. You and your spouse will be more apt to wound and hurt each other without help and counsel.  Find someone you can trust to keep your secrets and to lead you in the right path. You don’t have to go through the hurt and pain alone. Help is available to you. Get it.

  3. Work at recovery and healing. Do not make impulsive, knee-jerk decisions while you’re in an emotional state. You are likely to do things you will regret later. If your spouse is willing, try to work through your problems as a team, not as opposing competitors. Even if your spouse is unwilling, continue on your own path to healing. Unfaithfulness is a pretty big hurdle to overcome, but not impossible. As much as you can, try to work it out. Marriage is an institution not only because it’s legal; it’s an institution because it’s a stabilizing factor of society, a foundation for building character for both you and your children, a covenant partnership with the Creator. A marriage can be made better by surviving an affair. Don’t give up hope.

  4. Take positive action. Whether you decide to stay in the marriage or not, take positive action towards the destination you want to reach. Get help, and then follow advice. Get up in the morning and do something productive with your day. Get going, even if it means just putting one step in front of the other, or just taking a deep breath. You will go through some pretty dark days. But you’ll get over it.

  5. Move on. You will go through a grieving process not unlike that of bereavement. An affair is actually a bereavement, in a way, because of the loss of trust, confidence, and innocence. But after the grieving is over, no matter how long it takes, you will need to move on. Let go of the why’s, the what ifs, and if only’s. Forgive and focus on the future.

Dealing with your spouse will be unpredictable, because you will realize that this person you live with, whom you love and trust, is actually a stranger with a separate life that is secret and apart from you. Your responses will likely be largely colored by his or her own actions towards you in the aftermath of the affair. Take care of yourself first, and then you will be better equipped to deal with your spouse in a way that is beneficial and productive. How to deal with a cheating spouse starts and ends with loving others as you love yourself.

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