When your spouse cheats and is unfaithful, it may seem like millions of questions come up at once. However, there is a clear way to navigate the confusion and emotional turmoil of a spouse’s infidelity.
The first consideration for you and your family is to determine whether you are safe in your current living situation. According the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), unstable and or unhealthy marriage relationships can be a contributing factor to the likelihood of intimate partner violence. Some things to consider include:
It is important to allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise when learning of your spouse’s infidelity. Keeping emotions bottled up inside can be unhealthy for you. Also, you don’t want to vent those emotions to the wrong people, like your children and certainly not your spouse, which can make things worse. Infidelity can cause you to feel angry, sad, less trustful, etc. Seek out a therapist who is trained in marriage counseling to help express your feelings in a safe environment.
Discovering that your partner has been unfaithful can certainly be the starting point for depression. According the National Institute of Mental Health, some warning signs of depression can include:
If you are depressed, it means that your brain is not working at its optimal potential. If you are facing the infidelity of a spouse/partner, you need all of your mental capabilities to process the experience and to be healthy. Also, be aware of your use of alcohol or drugs, as these can contribute to depression and make things worse.
Your world has just been turned upside down, so, as much as possible, try to maintain a daily routine. The continuity can help address the disruption in your life that has been caused by the infidelity. Try these things:
Of course, there is always the “Next Step” to consider when facing issues of infidelity in your relationship. That would be, “Do I stay with this person or not?” In some cases, that question may be answered for you, with your partner leaving the relationship. Or, you may feel that it is necessary for the relationship to end. A third option is that you try to work with your partner to process the experience and find a way to stay together.
Whatever you decide, make sure that you have considered all of the options, as well as the pros/cons of each. This is where working with a therapist can be helpful. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.
The infidelity of a spouse can be a traumatic experience for anyone to face. The act can trigger emotions and safety concerns for yourself and your children. However, it is something you can get through, providing you have the support in place to make the best decisions you can.