When a spouse cheats on you, you’re going to experience the deepest sense of betrayal you can imagine.
Complete and utter devastation.
An emotional and physical betrayal by the person you loved can feel worse than any feeling you’ve ever experienced.
The feelings of rejection will be sky high. You’ll feel like you’re going through a slow torture – with stabbing pains to your heart and soul.
A spouse cheating on you can be physically crippling, like someone stabbed you with a knife.
It seems so senseless and irrational – how could someone do something so cruel and callous to you?
What do you do?
How do you move past infidelity in your marriage?
How do you breathe again or even get out of bed in the morning? How do you deal with the betrayal, the destruction of your life as you know it and the deathly loneliness that fills your life?
Here are 6 ways to begin the healing process and move on when your spouse has had an affair.
1) It’s not personal.
Your immediate reaction to a cheating spouse is that you’re the one who caused this to happen and your spouse is doing this to hurt you.
Likely, you didn’t. And neither did your spouse.
It has nothing to do with you. Yes, there were problems in your relationship and there’s something missing, but your cheating spouse was not doing this to intentionally hurt you.
It could have been your spouse’s way of saying that there was a problem. Or it could have been a way for your spouse to express himself in a way he didn’t know how.
Take a step back and allow yourself to understand the full picture.
Anger and hatred will fuel your initial reaction, but allow it to simmer so that you can really see what’s going on with your relationship and your spouse.
2) Build a support network to deal with the loneliness
The person who has been closest to you in your life is now missing.
Your spouse has broken the ultimate trust you shared.
You’ll feel shattered by your relationship and the extreme sense of loneliness in your life.
Instead of hiding out and not talking to anyone out of humiliation, find any way to build a support system and reconnect with people who can provide emotional and mental support.
This incident will likely be the most stressful thing you’ve ever experienced in your life. You can go it alone but it’s straining and difficult.
Let others in your life who can be there for support, understanding and companionship.
During a time of extreme loneliness, you need others there in your life.
Let others in and connect so you feel less depressed and lonely.
Talk to a friend, family member, pastor or counselor. Having someone there for you and listening to you is an important way to process the devastation you’re feeling.
3) Seek compassion and empathy.
In the initial aftershock of finding out about a cheating spouse, you’ll have trouble feeling anything positive about him.
Once a bit of time has passed and the shock has worn off, attempt understanding and compassion.
What about your spouse’s life and story led to this?
What is your spouse going through? What is your spouse healing from?
You don’t have to excuse your spouse or forget that he cheated on you, but find some understanding and compassion for your spouse’s actions.
4) Find any path to forgiveness.
While adultery is about the worst thing someone can do to you, I am going to ask you to find a way to forgive your spouse for the pain he’s caused.
Not forgive and forget – just forgive.
The reason to forgive is that if you don’t you’re going to walk around life with resentment and bitterness.
If you don’t forgive, you can’t move on.
If you don’t forgive, you’ll continue to see yourself as a victim.
If you don’t forgive, you’ll allow your spouse to continue hurting and ripping out your heart every day. You’ll prolong the pain and anger your spouse caused.
You’ll allow your spouse to hurt you again and again and again.
You don’t get to a place of forgiveness to forgive – you forgive first.
You have to gather every ounce of compassion, sympathy, empathy and courage to walk through the door of forgiveness.
5) In the moment living
You’ve heard about how to live in the moment throughout your life but now is the time to practice present moment living.
You’ll feel dead and your life is over – you won’t be able to imagine a future for yourself. Tomorrow will seem so bleak.
When you can’t think about or envision life tomorrow, you have to take it one day at a time.
Or one moment at a time.
Now, is the time in your life to practice in the moment living. Just living for this moment without reflecting on the past or the future.
It’s by no means easy to do.
Starting a mindfulness or meditation practice are a couple ways to watch your mind and your thoughts. Observe your thoughts when they go away from the present moment. Strive to keep bringing your thoughts back to this moment.
This moment is all you have. In this moment, everything is fine.
Yesterday is filled with nostalgia and memories – it doesn’t exist.
Tomorrow is filled with unknowns and uncertainty – it doesn’t exist.
Practice on being here now.
Savor the moment that’s here.
6) Pursue a new beginning or a new life.
Once you’ve been able to process the betrayal and show some compassion and understanding for your spouse, you can evaluate what to do next.
The cheating is a wake-up call for you and your relationship.
Now’s the time to see what you want for yourself. How committed is your spouse to the relationship? How much is your spouse willing to work on it?
Do you see signs of regret and self-understanding, or is your spouse at a point of no return?
Is there any hope that he’s going to work on the marriage?
If you see hope and believe that a new beginning is possible, try to save your marriage get it back on track.
If you can’t see any chance of improvement, it’s time to start envisioning a new life for yourself.
The betrayal might be your way out of a marriage you should have gotten out of a long time ago.
A betrayal in a marriage is one of the toughest things you can ever go through.
You can move on even when your spouse has cheated on you and your relationship together.
You can view this as an end-of-the-world experience or as a wake-up call.
If you see it as a wake-up call, make the necessary changes to get your life back on track.
To pick up my book, 10 Sacred Laws of Healing a Broken Heart on Amazon, click here.