Infidelity is a sore spot for many. It involves an emotional roller coaster, the betrayal of trust, and typically, a PO’ed spouse. When one is faced with the challenge of dealing with a cheating spouse, frustration and anger often overshadow rational thought and action. With these tips you can appropriately deal with a cheating spouse, and even maintain your sanity.
Channel your anger: When you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful, first thoughts and reactions may be violent ones. Anger is a completely appropriate emotion to have when dealing with a cheating spouse, but there are proper ways to channel your anger, as opposed to resorting to violence. Go to the gym and use your fists on a punching bag, have a friend volunteer to play your spouse in a mock screaming match and let out your host of verbal assaults, or write down all of your nasty thoughts and emotions and then ceremoniously burn them. No matter what avenue you choose, channeling your anger will save your pride, help you gather your thoughts, and prevent you from doing something you would regret.
Lean on others: Although infidelity is fundamentally an issue that should be dealt with privately between spouses, dealing with a cheating spouse doesn’t mean that one has to suffer in silence. Talk about your feelings with your family and friends. Granted, you should only talk to those whom you can trust, because you don’t want your private business discussed publicly. Chances are, your friends and family will be more understanding than what you assumed, and you may discover that one of them may have dealt with the same issue.
Stay or go: Ultimately, you must decide if you are going to remain in the marriage, or if you are going to exit gracefully (or ungracefully). For some, infidelity falls into the for better or for worse category, and for others, infidelity is the last straw. When dealing with a cheating spouse, one must consider the “once a cheater, always a cheater” adage, and whether one is willing to risk another betrayal. The decision to end or continue a marriage should be an informed one. It may be beneficial to consider consulting a marriage counselor or other marriage professional, spiritual adviser, or legal professional, especially if there are children involved.
Guidelines and forgiveness: If you decide to remain committed to your marriage, then you must set guidelines for your union from that point forward. You must demand honesty, communication, faithfulness, and state that trust must be earned. Be firm in your position, and let your spouse know that another act of cheating will not be tolerated.
Once you present your guidelines and decide that you are going remain in the relationship, then you must forgive. The only way to move forward is to forgive completely. You don’t have to forget the infidelity, but if you hope for your relationship to improve at all, then the past must remain in the past. Only then will your future hold the promise of a renewed commitment.
Dealing with a cheating spouse is not something that any person ever wishes to face, but if you channel your anger, seek the support of others, set guidelines, and forgive, you will be able survive and overcome.