The consequences of an affair are overwhelming and horrifically painful. The realization that you are in this place that you never expected to be can be devastating. Here are a few things that can help to navigate this unwanted, unfamiliar territory, as well as a story of hope and redemption!
1. Choose a friend. It is helpful to choose one or two close, trustworthy people to include in your confidence. You will need support to walk through this. Make sure this person can keep a confidence and is a source of help for you. This will give you someone to talk through your decisions with. Make sure to keep your circle of confidence small, don’t tell everyone. You can always broaden the circle as needed!
2. Develop a plan. Your plan will depend on the timeline in your journey. Is this the first day you found out, the first month or one year later? Your plan may include things like getting kids picked up, getting dinner on the table, pampering yourself, etc. Further into the process you need a plan to make decisions. Take control, don’t just let it unfold. Make educated decisions taking in to account emotions, but not ruled by emotions.
3. There are no right, wrong, or easy answers to the question, “What do I do now?” Some people have pre-set answers before they find themselves in this situation. They might say, “I’d change the locks, if that ever happens.” But when faced with the reality, they love their spouse and want to work things out if possible.
Here’s one couples story of betrayal, and their amazing journey to forgiveness, healing and redemption!
4. Make sure you eat and get rest. If you can’t eat, get some nutrition drinks to keep your body going. You need to stay strong to make decisions and work through this. You may need some time off work. Take the time to take care of yourself.
5. Allow others to help you. If you need child care, rides for kids, or meals, let others do those things for you. Don’t allow pride to rob you of much needed help during this difficult time.
6. Let some of your expectations go, and just focus on getting through today. You will not be able to achieve as much as normal during this time of stress. Lower the bar for yourself until you can develop a coping strategy. I recently heard an answer I just love, “Right now I am focusing on breathing in, and then breathing out.” I love it because, in crisis, that is enough.
7. Get some resources to help you. Books, podcasts, and a counselor are all available to help. It’s important to educate yourself as you make decisions. Hearing stories of others will help, too. Also remember, you are not alone and it will not always hurt this intensely.