Infidelity: The First Steps You Should Take When Your Spouse Cheats

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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.

Safety When Facing 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:

  • Finding a safe place if your partner is still at home. This can include checking into a hotel, staying with a friend or relative, or staying at a shelter if necessary.
  • Ensuring that your children are safe too.
  • If necessary, take the legal steps for filing a restraining order.

Feel Emotions Appropriately When Facing Infidelity

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.

Be Aware of Depression When Facing Infidelity

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:

  • Lack of interest in things that once brought you joy
  • Negative outlook on life
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Eating too much
  • Feeling constantly fatigued
  • Irritability

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.

Maintain a Routine When Facing Infidelity

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:

  • Keep your morning routine, such as making a hot beverage, reading, or exercising.
  • Don’t cancel important appointments, such as doctor’s visits.
  • Even though you may have to take some time off from work or rearrange your work schedule, don’t make major changes with your job. Fulfill your work commitments.
  • Spend time with your children.
  • Continue doing the things that you enjoy, such as hobbies, recreational activities, etc.

Consider the Next Step When Facing Infidelity

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.

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