Coping with Infidelity
Managing Shock, Anger, and Depression
after Discovering Your Partner is Cheating
Are you struggling to survive emotionally after learning you're the victim of a cheating
spouse or partner?
In coping with infidelity, it's
normal to experience the kind of shock and horror you'd feel if someone had suddenly died.
Infidelity recovery is a process that involves protecting your own sanity. A woman we'll call Deanna explains it
this way: "You'll likely feel, in coping with infidelity, that you are a murder victim - but you're still alive to
feel the pain! Someone has killed your heart and soul in one fell swoop!"
The shame of experiencing this kind of betrayal by someone you loved - or may still love - has no earthly equal
in terms of personal impact. To add insult to injury, sooner or later, the news of your betrayal will leak out to
everyone you know.
You will experience a full range of negative emotions in coping with infidelity - anger, guilt, confusion,
self-pity, humiliation, and perhaps even a desire for revenge.
If it's your spouse who has betrayed you, you will feel that your partner and the "other man" or "other woman"
conspired to steal your dignity, your home, and your life. It's normal to feel that they have committed a crime
"Don't do a stupid thing like I did," says a business woman we'll call Peggy. "I physically retaliated by
breaking out a living room window at the other woman's house. When I caught my husband there for the second time, I
went a little crazy."
Peggy's philandering husband and the other woman called the police. Peggy spent the night in jail.
Peggy is now remarried to a nice man, and she can now laugh about her lack of control in the heat of anger. But,
she learned the hard way that staying cool would have been a better approach.
Coping with Infidelity in
Diffuse Tension via Productive
During the first few days, utilize these tips for coping with infidelity:
Find two or three people to lean on. Don't overload your mother or your best friend. Try to engage a
professional counselor, minister, or trusted family member to listen to your story to spare your mother and friend
too much stress and overload.
Write down your private thoughts. In coping with infidelity, the only rule in pouring out your grief by writing
about your pain is this: Hold nothing back. It's perfectly okay to write in an uncensored way!
And then lock up the paper or notebook, so your children or family won't discover it. If you'd prefer typing
your thoughts into a computer document, make sure that no one knows your password.
Later, shred the paper or notebook. Or, delete the document from your computer. Don't take a chance that anyone
else will find it.
Get out of the house. Since your emotions will send you on a roller coaster ride, do get out of the house for a
good part of each day when coping with infidelity. Don't stay within four walls all day, or your emotions will only
Instead, go for long walks in nature or work out at the gym for 90 minutes. Exercise helps your body fight
depression by speeding up the release of endorphins - which trigger a natural "feel good" chemical high in your
brain. Walking, biking, hiking, or canoeing outdoors helps you take in something nice - while you are working to
purge severe pain.
Simply getting through the first three or four days after discovering the affair will be sheer torture, so focus
on staying busy while coping with infidelity. Give yourself a little time to calm down before you try to make sense
of it all. Infidelity recovery won't begin until you can get over the initial shock.
Infidelity Recovery Won't Involve Quick
It Takes Time to Heal a Broken Heart
After a few days go by, you'll need to start intelligently processing what's happened. You'll need to see if you
can make sense of the tragedy. Go slowly and avoid believing in quick fixes. Be patient with yourself. Coping with
infidelity takes time.
Sorting out your emotions while you're coping with infidelity will involve a series of questions you'll ask
yourself: What is the third person in this love triangle like? What does he or she have to offer that I don't have
myself? How long has this betrayal been going on? How many of my friends and neighbors know about it?
A weird backlash of the whole event will probably involve some thoughtless remarks from family and friends while
you're in the midst of coping with infidelity. Don't be surprised if trusted friends say things such as: "Maybe you
shouldn't have worked so many long hours. Maybe you should have been home more - especially at night and on the
Or, someone might thoughtlessly say, "Good riddance! It's probably for the best. I never trusted your partner,
and I just knew this was going to happen!"
People around you will be at a loss for words while you're coping with infidelity, so they may "invent" quick
fixes. They'll blurt out insensitive remarks to help you explain the pain or help you get over the horror in a
hurry. Don't take their remarks too seriously.
Using hateful retaliation or looking for quick fixes is not how recovery from infidelity happens. You will have
a ton of information to sort out. And, it may take months if not years.
Ask Important Questions to Uncover the
Stay on Solid Ground while Coping with
Process your pain with your biggest questions first. Ask yourself: When did I know our relationship was failing?
Could I have done anything to save it?
Your goal is to tell yourself the truth. For example, if your partner refuses to deal with problems or pretends
they don't exist, you'll have to admit this. If your partner has questionable morals or lacks integrity concerning
money, you will have to face this too. Or, you might need to "own" some of the issues yourself. Maybe your
weaknesses bled over on the relationship.
Telling the truth will help you deal and eventually heal. The truth points True North, so it's a great tool for
figuring out which direction you'll need to take next.
For instance, let's say that you start to realize you played a huge part in the tension leading up to the
affair. Maybe deep down inside, you know your excessive spending and casual attitude toward the bills caused some
problems in your relationship. You'll need to figure out whether you want to try to save your marriage or not.
"I went to two separate marriage counselors with my ex," says a woman we'll call Jenna who caught her husband
cheating last year. "He would never try to participate in the counseling. Each time, his goal was to get the
counselor eating out of his hand. Both counselors, I might add, fell for his lies. My ex is a great actor."
Jenna had to admit she'd married a deceptive, dishonest, egomaniac. Going to the bottom line truth helped her
stop believing that her relationship could actually be saved.
One big question she had was this: "What does the new woman in his life have that I don't have?"
She finally concluded that the new woman, whatever her attributes, simply has a life centered on false hope.
"That woman has a deceptive, hurtful, egomaniac in her life," Jenna points out. "The truth awaits her up the road,
just like it did me."
Focus on Taking Care of
Coping with Infidelity Requires Smart
Regaining your composure will take time, but focus on taking care of yourself from the moment you learn of the
indiscretion. From this moment on, coping with infidelity is all about you! Taking care of yourself helps your
children as well.
You must protect yourself financially, protect your own "inner child" while coping with the pain, and find hope
for yourself beyond the aftershock of the war zone.
To stabilize your emotions while dealing with infidelity, remind yourself to always deal with them head on. You
cannot go underground and hide, since your subconscious will process the information anyway. Take a strong,
proactive stance in making good decisions starting this very minute.
Good decisions require you to "show up" for yourself every day. And, they are empowering!
Your emotional health will start to improve during the throes of coping with infidelity when you exercise this
kind of control.
Get plenty of rest, decide to get out of bed on time, and call a friend when you need someone to help you feel
grounded. Eat salads instead of junk food. Drink plenty of water and take vitamins. Decide to splurge on a new pair
of shoes for yourself. Tell your friends what they mean to you.
Also, focus on making practical decisions while coping with infidelity such as these:
♦ Find a reputable attorney. This person will protect your
financial picture and rights concerning your children, if you have them. Or, a good attorney can help you with a
legal go-forward plan in case a court date is necessary. Do your research in hiring the correct attorney for you.
If you hire a lazy attorney, your problems will grow - so be sure to do your homework.
♦ Ask for a little help from several people. You may need
your sister to go with you to an attorney's office. Or, you might need your dad to baby-sit your son while you go
to infidelity counseling. Try not to overload one person, so look around for a few people who can provide small,
do-able favors for you while you're coping with infidelity. Don't be too proud to ask.
♦ Call a financial expert. It is always a good idea to
consult with a banker who has many years of experience, or a financial counselor who is adept at budget planning.
This person may help you envision how to stay afloat if your assets are divided or if your income is thwarted
during the months ahead. Infidelity and divorce often involve a shaky picture in terms of money issues and
financial stability. So, be sure to ask for help!
♦ Deal with your cheating partner. You will need to
communicate with him or her in some fashion. Do you need to talk about dividing up assets? Will you need to discuss
co-parenting responsibilities? Or, will you need to talk about the cheating?
As tough as it will be, you must face your cheating partner and discuss the drama together. You might conduct
your initial discussions in a public place - to help both of you avoid verbal explosions and combativeness. Meeting
in a busy restaurant or small café is probably the best idea. Talking on the phone can work too.
Or, you may be one of those rare individuals who wrangled a confession at the family dinner table. The explosion
happened, but no one left. You and your partner may have to decide what's going to happen next while still living
under the same roof.
No matter what happens, if you divorce, talking together in a civil fashion is the practical approach to your
financial survivability. Coping with infidelity usually boils down to splitting assets or co-parenting your
children as best you can. So working hard to stay civil toward your cheating partner is usually necessary for very
practical reasons as well.
It's Time to Take Care of
Meeting Your Needs while Coping with
Keep a notebook of practical steps you'll need to take in coping with infidelity. Make a checklist of calls you
should make, resources you might need, books you might read for personal support, and a schedule of what you'll
need for self-care.
Ask: What have I been neglecting about myself? Have I focused too much on my relationship and neglected my
health, my educational needs or my job?
In coping with infidelity, take the energy you've invested in the relationship and put some of it back into
nurturing yourself right now.
Unless your cheating partner has hidden the affair very well, you've probably known that something was wrong for
a long time. If you're typical, you've ignored a lot of fun activities and good times with friends, because you
were over-focused on the strained relationship with your partner.
Start doing some purely selfish things too - like getting a massage or going to an afternoon movie - just to
build up your "emotional bank account" that has been probably been very depleted for some time!
If you need lots of personal support while coping with infidelity, consider calling a Professional Life Coach for support. You
don't want to overload your friends. You'll need your friends to "be there" for you, so don't wear them out.
A trained professional offering infidelity advice can help you put the pieces back together again. This person
will have a more objective outlook to offer you too.
Everyone who is coping with infidelity can benefit from talking with a trained professional. That person will
essentially function as an "authority figure" with whom to report your stress issues on a regular basis. Your coach
will provide you with much needed support during one of the worst periods of your life. As a team you'll design a
step-by-step plan to get through
help is just a phone call
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