Nothing is more painful and crushing than finding out the partner you promised to have and hold forever has cheated and lied to you. It can ton feel like your whole world has come crashing down like a ton of bricks. Feelings of anger, fear and hurt can flood your system. Along with the shattering news are shattered dreams, hopes, and expectations you had for your relationship and the future. It’s natural to feel lost, numb and change your mind or consistently questioning yourself about what you want next.
Very often the women and men I support to survive infidelity ask themselves these questions time and time again:
- What’s wrong with me?
- What has she/he got that I haven’t got?
- How come I didn’t see the affair coming?
- How could they lie to me?
- Will I ever be able to trust men/ women again?
- Is the marriage over?
- Am I unattractive or rubbish in bed?
- How could I be so stupid?
Let me start by saying if this is your situation, you are not stupid and there is nothing wrong with you. Husbands and wives cheat for various reasons, sometimes it’s because things are missing in the relationship but just as common it’s because of the pull and excitement of someone new. Then there is also sex addiction which is a behavioral issue. Sex addiction is a problem that needs therapy to fix. None of this can be your fault. And let’s say even if they did cheat because things were not going smoothly in the relationship, it was still a choice. How on earth could you be responsible for them making that conscious decision to cheat? You couldn’t. You weren’t there and aren’t them! So check out this surviving infidelity guide.
The healing process after an affair is not always straight forward. Although the first 6 months are the typically the hardest. The women and men I’ve helped come out the other end happier and stronger have taken time for themselves to reflect and focus on their needs. This is needed to survive infidelity and save the marriage if that’s what the individual and couple want to do.
So how can you help yourself heal after a cheating husband or cheating wife and survive infidelity?
Here are 6 steps to support you survive infidelity:
Surviving Infidelity Strategy – 1 Give your Self-Esteem and Confidence a Boost
When I found out my partner had cheated I compared myself to every woman I saw. I felt my hair looked dull, my clothes were old, my teeth weren’t white enough and my stomach was bulging. I’d look in the mirror with the sleepless nights and drink I consumed to “help” take in the news, I didn’t look my best. But the last thing I needed to hear was self-criticism. My own harsh self-judgment made the news even harder to deal with, so take it from me be kind to yourself, it helps!.
I managed to change things around and focused on ways to give myself a boost. I joined a running club, even though I hadn’t run since I was at school. The club was training for a half-marathon and they encouraged me that I could do it. Running was an instant mood and physical booster, I felt fit and powerful. There are so many clubs out there find something that will make you feel good, take on a new challenge.
Some women I’ve supported online after their husband’s cheating treat themselves to some new clothes or shoes, visit a spa, get their teeth whitened or opt for a new hair style.
Men have found boxing, starting a new business venture or extreme sport helpful. Many get into fitness and find that more satisfying and supportive to surviving infidelity than drowning their sorrows.
What will make you feel better about yourself quickly?
If you are really suffering from self-criticism, you may also want to invest in some hypnotherapy for releasing the past and boosting your confidence. I give hypnosis sessions regularly in my practice online via skype and they work wonders to calm anxiety and feel good again. As even if we know we are loveable and desirable, at night our mind can keep us awake with the pain.Find a hypnotherapist that will record it for you, so you can listen to it again and again.
Surviving Infidelity Strategy 2 Look after yourself physically
You may not feel like eating while surviving infidelity or you may feel like eating for comfort all the foods that clog your system. However right now what your body needs is quality nutrition and plenty of rest. I know it’s easier said than done, I turned to alcohol and it made me feel a whole lot worse. I’d wake up in the night tossing, turning and sweating and the morning was much harder. Naturally, also my mind became weak. If you really can’t eat you are not alone, at least have protein shakes, soups, and smoothies to help you get through it. Go for long walks, cycle or do something active in the home like cleaning or washing your car to boost your mood.
Surviving Infidelity Strategy – 3 Quiet time
You may want to distract yourself by keeping busy, so you don’t have the chance to process and reflect. All this does is press pause on the healing process, to heal we need to allow ourselves time to feel the raw emotions.Meditation can be great, walks, baths, make sure you have some time to reflect and process.
Surviving Infidelity Strategy – 4 Avoid Life-Changing Decisions When In Emotional Trauma
Many women and men that approach me for marriage counseling support after the discovery of an affair want to know what action to take next: whether to stay or leave their home, whether to get divorced, whether to tell their children about the affair or what is going on.
Having worked with 100’s of people now survive infidelity one thing I know for sure is that it is important to not make any life altering decision in the first few months. While you are in the initial stages of surviving infidelity you are still dealing with the emotional pain, confusion and hurt. Even though you may feel like your situation is hopeless or that you have made up your mind, why rush? Those that give themselves time to process feel more relaxed and at ease than those that panic their way forward.
When it comes to telling children, you have to question your reasons for wanting to tell them. Some want to tell the children to ensure they don’t get the blame for the marriage suffering, or to punish the cheating husband or wife to make them pay for what they have done. This does not benefit the child. We learn about relationships and love from our parents, so children need protecting. Children often worry, feel guilty or forced to take sides when they learn of affairs.
Deciding to stay or leave a marriage is also best left until later. Many people who make a decision to leave straight away in the emotion of the moment, go on to find themselves later in a 2nd marriage to a man or woman who is 2nd best. Where later both spouses realise that they still love each other more than they can love anyone else and with the right help could have worked it out if only they tried. Wait and assess if you are unsure on what to do, this is important to survive infidelity.
Surviving Infidelity Strategy 5 Don’t let others tell you what to do
It’s great to be around people who love you. But don’t let others tell you how to live your life. Everyone is different and well-meaning friends and family can often give conflicting and confusing advice. Don’t attempt surviving infidelity alone, but also don’t rely on other people to tell you what to do. If you are stuck, seek advice from an expert or ask a friend to listen without giving advice.
Surviving Infidelity Strategy 6 Marriage Counselling
Many women and men seek marriage counseling too late when they could have benefitted from talking it through and getting help to stop painful images and thoughts. Even if you are undecided on what you want finding a marriage counsellor that has experience in helping individuals and couples survive infidelity. Deciding what to do after an affair is a life changing decision, so you will want to make sure you find a couples counsellor you can trust to support you. The best way to find a good marriage counselor is through referrals or through reviewing their online presence, reading their articles, listening to their podcasts or video’s and seeing if you can relate to them. Just remember you don’t have to stay with a marriage counselor that you don’t like or that focuses on the past. Now more than ever go with what works for you.
As a final word of advice, the most important thing to do is be loving with yourself and give yourself time in surviving infidelity If you found this useful and would like to get more support on surviving infidelity or saving a marriage… check out the link below with free audio episodes to help you available on Itunes or SoundCloud (just search my name Nicola Beer
From my heart to yours have a wonderful week ahead
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