Dealing with infidelity is challenging because of the torturous thoughts that come once the affair is over. Learn more about what you need to do if this applies to you.
Infidelity is a relationship act that when discovered hurts everyone involved. After an affair has been disclosed the entire family suffers, even the children and extended family. Surviving infidelity presents the entire family with a supreme challenge.
Yet, no one is hurt more than the cheater’s partner. He or she is the main surviving infidelity victim. If this is you and you are dealing with infidelity — read the following carefully.
When you marry or enter into a committed relationship, whether stated openly or not, there is a clear understanding that your partner will not stray and become intimately involved with another person. When this 'promise' is broken, the betrayal shatters you in many ways.
When you are betrayed by your partner, likely your mind is swamped with thoughts and images regarding what has happened and what might occur in the future. Such mental and emotional anguish can not possibly be understood unless someone has gone through it themselves. Experiencing the anguish is a normal part of surviving infidelity.
People betrayed by their partner find their thoughts and emotions 100% altered: Thoughts of revenge, rage, helplessness, fear, confusion, worry, sleeplessness, and crying, and the like are all common forms of emotional suffering. This is all part of dealing with infidelity.
In some ways, the anguish the betrayed partner feels is even worse than a negative medical diagnosis. At least with a medical diagnosis, there is an entire staff of medical practitioners who have ideas as to how to help — there is always some degree of hope. When it comes to surviving infidelity, often the struggle is in isolation, and the victim feels confused and overwhelmed with nowhere to turn.
In the past when a crisis has occurred, you could have turned to your husband, wife or committed partner for advice and for comfort. But now, since he or she has cheated on you, you have no support. The person who has been a comfort to you in the past, is now the greatest threat to your well-being.
Your mental and emotional pain is relentless; negative thoughts and feelings intrude day and night, at work and at home, in good moments and bad moments— this is a normal part of dealing with infidelity.
When you are dealing with infidelity, what should you do to calm the storm?
The following are five suggestions to calm the raging thoughts and feelings that are flooding you:
1. Understand, that your partner’s cheating is NOT your fault. This might be obvious to you if your marriage was seemingly 'perfect.' However, it can be confusing if you had marital problems in the past. Nonetheless, even in a bad marriage cheating is not a legitimate option.
Cheating is not an additional dimension to marital conflict. Cheating is like a nuclear bomb that destroys everything — there is absolutely no good to be found in the act of adultery.
Knowing it is not your fault, is comforting. Remind yourself, whenever you are distraught over what you’re going through that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Fault lays at the feet of your betraying partner.
2. It is natural for this relationship disease called 'infidelity' to infect your entire life. However, it needn’t be that way. You have choices in how you think about what has happened. You are more than any problem you are currently experiencing — including the problem of having been betrayed by your partner.
Take a step back, and you will realize that there are many things in your life that are good. You are more than this overbearing challenge of dealing with infidelity. For example, perhaps you have amazing children, you have a good job, your life includes many opportunities to help others, you have your faith, you have friends, and your life includes many opportunities for change and growth.
3. There is a time to think about how the infidelity has hurt you and how it will impact on your future. And there are also times not to think about infidelity. Your thoughts about this relationship crisis need to be contained. It should not flood your life with worry, anger, and guilt.
You are entitled to be happy — and you should be. Don’t allow yourself to stay in a perpetual 'bad mood.'
If you are having trouble stopping your turbulent thoughts about the infidelity during times when you should be focused on other things, which in some cases includes marital reconciliation, you should treat these unwelcome thoughts and feelings as irrational anxiety.
Don’t let your mind consume you with negative thoughts. Take a stand and push them away. Toward that end, I recommend you seek professional help to deal with anxiety and / or get some good self-help books on how to reduce and eliminate unwanted and intruding anxiety and worry.
4. Use the spiritual resources that are available to you. If you are a member of a faith-based group, you can find great opportunities to strengthen your resolve and commitment to a good and healthy life. If you are a deep thinker, work on an all-inclusive narrative, a story that helps you live well regardless of what your partner did. If you are a meditator, use the power of your mind to still your thoughts and feelings.
Spiritual resources are powerful and for many will make the difference between living a life of peace or one of turmoil.
5. Infidelity is one of the relationship diseases that is very difficult to overcome without professional help. It is possible to do it alone, but not probable.
Seek professional help from a caring and competent relationship specialist. Not just any mental health professional will do. You need to find someone who has the training and experience to deal with relationship betrayal and its aftermath. Below are resources where you can find professional help.
The mental and emotional anguish that you suffer from is the after-effects of having been betrayed by the very person that you believed you could trust the most. You are not responsible for all the pain you are suffering. It has been caused by your betraying partner. Nonetheless, you need to help yourself with your own healing. Just like if you were a passenger in a car accident was injured, you would do whatever it takes to get healthy again. The same is true for having been injured by your partner’s affair. Take responsibility for your recovery and well-being — do something positive.
Mental clarity is essential to deal with the unwanted thoughts and feelings that threatened to overwhelm you. Know the truth about what happened and use the resources available to still the troubled waters that are threatening to overcome you.
Know that you are good and deserve a healthy and happy life — regardless of what your partner has done. With the right effort, this can and will be achieved.
Get one of the very best self-help books for women and men seeking practical ways to survive infidelity and rebuild trust and love. Available on Amazon Surviving Infidelity: A Couple's Journey Using the 7-Step Recovery Map
Below are resources where you can find professional help.
Want more information about surviving infidelity? Read the article Suggestions for surviving infidelity recovery overload.