Your worst fear has some true. You heard from a friend who said they saw your spouse kissing someone in public…and it wasn’t you! You may have phone records, texts, financial records, emails or internet history that is more than enough evidence of the affair. You may have even have caught your spouse in the sex act. The affair may not be with a person, but your spouse may be addicted to porn and masturbation. Your spouse is cheating on you, and they don’t know that you know.
What do you do now?
You might respond in one or several of the following ways.
- Pray for the situation yourself, your spouse, wisdom, guidance, truth, etc.
- Deny the affair ever happened
- Wait to see if your spouse will confess
- Do absolutely nothing
- Get angry with rage
- Confront your spouse with substantial evidence as if you were going to court
- Change the locks on the house
- Pack up and leave the house
- File for divorce
- Freeze all financial assets
- Publically humiliate or shame your spouse
- Go have an affair yourself
- Accuse, blame, or criticize yourself and/or your spouse
- Justify, rationalize, or minimize
- Become depressed
- Fall into an addiction, etc.
Some of these options are wise ways to respond, and others are foolish. However, with the help of a therapist, they will be able to assist you and process what may be the wisest choice for you.
You may follow some form of the Stages of Grief by E. Kubler Ross: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You may cycle through these stages more than once. Each stage can last for days or even months. There is no exact way to predict how long or how quickly you will progress through these stages. Knowing there is a grieving process and others have walked this journey before you can be very helpful. You are not alone. There are support groups and therapists all around who are here to help.
After finding out that your spouse has been cheating on you in any of the ways I have explained before in my previous blog, Seven Signs of a Cheating Spouse, life can become all-consuming as you decide what to do about your cheating spouse. Now, this is important. For the first 1-4 weeks, take time to take care of yourself and children first. Self-care is going to very important in the weeks ahead. If you are not putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, the future of your marriage doesn’t stand a chance.
Here are 10 ways to begin taking care of yourself during the first 30 days.
- Realize and embrace the fact that you have been victimized. However, you cannot stay there for too long. Give yourself some time to experience victimization, but do not say there permanently. Allow yourself to move through the stages of grief.
- Be aware your mind, body, soul, heart and spirit may experience trauma that would be similar to being in a bad car accident.
- Take care of yourself by eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep even if this is the opposite of what you might feel like doing.
- Ask for help. It is wise to ask for help after a car accident. Allow professionals or others who have walked this road ahead of you to assist you. Seek help from people who specialize in infidelity, affairs, sex addiction, marital restoration, intimacy anorexia and recovery. Find a support group.
- It is appropriate to request space from your spouse with an in-house or out-of-house temporary separation. It’s not uncommon to still love your spouse but also be very angry at them.
- It is not uncommon to want to know graphic information; however, this is usually not wise, as you will never forget the information. This may become a burden you do not want to carry later.
- During this time, it is not uncommon for couples to be hyper-sexual with each other and do things you would have never done in an effort to “win” your spouse back. However, this usually is short lived, as this behavior may betray your core values.
- At the same time, it is not uncommon to not be sexual at all.
- Once married, the two become one. Your spouse’s cheating problem is not just theirs, it is yours also. Couples who work recovery together are more likely to stay together. Find a program that has as much support for you as it does for your spouse.
- Recovery is some of the most difficult work but also the most rewarding work you will ever do.
You are worthy. You are worth taking care of yourself. Stop betraying yourself. You are not alone. There is hope. Call for your free assessment today.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.