Infidelity is a complex and painful experience that can cost both partners in a relationship dearly. It can make you question the basis of your identity, asking things like:
- “Is there something wrong with me? Am I not enough?
- “Was my entire marriage an elaborate lie?”
- “Will I be able to trust my partner again? Or any other partner?
- “Why has this happened to me? Did I do something to deserve this?
Trying to rush to make sense of a traumatic experience is never a good idea. It can take you down a spiral of dark and intrusive thoughts.
Instead, there are some immediate steps you can take to regain your composure before embarking on a deeper breach of trust investigation. Think of it as emotional first aid.
Here are three things you can do after a cheating episode.
#1. take a break time
Many couples will tell you that much of the pain they caused each other after a betrayal could have been avoided if they had just backed off and not attacked. This is true regardless of whether they chose to continue the relationship or not.
So, instead of forcing a confrontation or making a life-changing decision in a hurry, first on your agenda should be to find a soft spot to land on, for yourself and for others (such as children) who could be affected by it. .
Take refuge in a safe place, like the house of your best friends or your parents. Make sure the first conversations you have right now are with non-judgmental loved ones who only want what’s best for you.
The instinct to hurt your partner can overwhelm you, but it’s not worth regretting later.
One way to be fair to yourself during a time of emotional turmoil is to imagine a loved one going through what you’re going through and treat yourself with as much patience and care as you would them.
#two. Get professional help
An extramarital affair or an instance of infidelity are scenarios that will attract the attention of others, for better or worse.
You may find yourself inundated with unsolicited advice and unhelpful sympathy. Even when he comes from a good place, messages of regret and condolence cannot take him very far on his healing journey.
In such a delicate moment, it is often a good idea to make an appointment with a therapist. Many therapists are specifically trained to help people work through difficult family and marital problems. Getting an unbiased perspective removes many of the inhibitions you may feel when talking to a loved one.
No judgement, no projections, no assumptions. Just an in-depth conversation about the best way to get back on your feet.
#3. Remember that they are both human.
It can be argued that empathizing with your partner after they have broken your trust is not helping you in any way, and that could be correct. But approaching them with a vengeance and seeing them as a monster doesn’t necessarily help either.
You don’t have to forgive them or forget their actions, but it’s worth reminding yourself that harboring hate is like constantly scratching a wound.
To see them forever as the ‘perpetrator’ is to see them forever as the ‘victim’. In most cases of infidelity, the situation and the people involved are much more complex.
Even with infidelity, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Research suggests that while the road to recovery can be long, practicing forgiveness, seeking counseling, and managing memories are some effective ways to begin the process. For reconciliation to work, therapists will tell you that there must be a change in the power dynamic of the relationship. To get over your current partner, you may need to fundamentally redefine what you want in a romantic partner.