Being a victim of infidelity is tremendously distressing. It is probably one of the most shattering and damaging blows a relationship can experience. Cheating is a selfish, thoughtless, disrespectful act of deception and betrayal that leaves its victims traumatized and looking for answers. Although there is no quick fix for healing, there are some tips that every victim of infidelity should be conscious of immediately following their awareness.
1. It’s critical that you strive to move forward with life, love and the utmost dedication to taking care of yourself, and your children (if any). Rebuilding trust is essential for the survival of your current relationship, or the health of a future one. It’s important not to rush, or be rushed into a decision. Give yourself time and space to process your feelings and needs.
2. Don’t attempt to rationalize or minimize your partner’s infidelities. Stepping outside of a committed relationship to resolve issues within it is never acceptable or logical. If your partner suggest that he/she wants to work things out, they will have to work hard to earn back your trust, respect, and security. It is not your job to force this. Your partner must be accountable for the outcome of their actions. Before all else, reserve your energy and mental space for your healing and sticking out the tough days ahead.
3. “Time heals all things” is a myth. What you do with that time either promotes or delays healing. As hard as it will be to focus on your well-being during this time, it’s vital that you center your attention on coping in the healthiest ways. Nurture all things that will restore good energy. Re-explore old passions and goals, seek individual life guidance, and connect with people who genuinely support and uplift you.
4. Draw a line – establish boundaries. Learning of an affair is extremely shocking and humiliating. It sends you into a spiral of emotional lows. In order to begin healing, you must establish boundaries and expectations for the type of treatment you are willing to accept. Particularly in cases of habitual cheating, you have the right to protect yourself from further emotional harm. Withdrawing your emotions, forgiving, and making the choice to exit the relationship is not wrong. When your boundaries are not being considered it is reasonable to feel the desire to break away than to live a broken life. If children are involved, remember, it’s much easier to repair a potenially broken spirit due to separation/divorce than it is to repair a child who is obliged to live in a broken home.
Use these steps to help you cope with the initial shock of infidelity. Although your world appears to be crushed – brokenness births bravery. There is hope to survive both independently and together – only you can make the choice that’s best for you. One step at a time, one day at a time. Continue to visit the Elttila Blog and Resource center for more information about healing, forgiveness, divorce and co-parenting.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.