If you are dealing with an unfaithful spouse, the pain you are feeling unfortunately comes with the territory. The consequences of an affair are overwhelming and horrifically painful. I have heard it likened to post traumatic stress syndrome. You are in a place you never expected to be. Here are a few things that will help you navigate this unwanted, unfamiliar territory.
Choose a friend. Look at your life and choose one or two close, trustworthy people to include in your confidence. You really need support to walk through this with. Make sure this person can keep a confidence and is a source of help for you. You will need someone to talk through your decisions with. Make sure you keep your circle of confidence small, don’t tell everyone. You can always broaden the circle as needed, but you can never take the information back after it is out there.
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 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.
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. Some people 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.
Make sure you eat and get rest. If you cannot eat, get some nutrition drinks to keep your body going. You need to stay strong to make decisions and get through this. You may need some time off work. Take the time to take care of yourself through this.
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.
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.
Get some resources to help you. Books, podcasts, a counselor are all available to help. It’s important to educate yourself as you make decisions. Hearing stories of others will help too. You are not alone and it will not always hurt this intensely.
If you would like to talk to a mentor we have mentors here. Mentors are trained volunteers with real world experience and can often help to offer a second opinion, a listening ear or other resources. These are big issues you’re dealing with and mentors are the best resource we have to help work through them.
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Recommended Resources on this topic are:
My Husband’s affair Became the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me by Anne Bercht.
Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair by Dave Carder
Torn Asunder Workbook: Recovering from Extramarital Affairs by Dave Carder