What happened with me is something I would not want anyone to go through, and I hope if you are in the same position as I am right now you would take a while and read my story and do the opposite of what I did.
How I dealt with infidelityI dealt with infidelity by holing up in my room and ignoring everyone who tried to contact me. After I told my (then) husband that it was over and we were getting a divorce, I dropped the kids off on my parent's house and told them I would be leaving for a month. In that month I isolated myself and mostly just cried my eyes out. I was unhealthy, some days I did not eat anything at all, one meal a day was mostly what I had before going back to my bed and sleeping it off.
I ignored my family, friends, and children completely, my kids did not know what was wrong with me and my parents had to lie to them. My parents knew my husband cheated on me, but I refused to accept help or support. My friends knew about the affair, but I was too embarrassed to tell them my husband cheated on me, and has been for the past few months. I was delusional, depressed, unhealthy, hateful, and embarrassed of what my relationship had become.Sometimes my crying turned into screaming, yelling, and cursing. I broke a lot of our things, threw plates against the wall, banged on the TV. I was out of control at times letting my emotions get the best of me.
If you have never been the victim of infidelity or have ever tried surviving an affair, you have NO IDEA what it feels like. It's like someone took part of your life away, and told you that you can never have it back. It's like being able to walk, and then suddenly getting hit by a car and needing to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. That's how bad it felt for me while I locked myself up. I contemplated suicide too, I was weak and naive.
Even though I knew there was no way of undoing anything my spouse had done to our relationship, I still continued to hope that it would magically fix itself and we'd be a happy family again. I spent some nights even praying to god that he'd make my husband realize what he is doing to me and our family.
It took me nearly half a year to finally divorce him, I was not able to make up my mind because just maybe he would have wanted to save our marriage. I was wrong and he stuck with his younger mistress. The man I thought he was when I met him was all a facade, and I guess my father was right for not liking him from the very beginning.
It took me almost 2 years before I started dating again. I found Michael, who like me, was cheated on by his spouse. After my delusional state when I still thought my husband was gong to change, I started participating on surviving infidelity forums all over the internet. A lot of them were helpful in my recovery, and some of them simply made me break down and cry because I knew exactly what they were talking about. Although I cried, it was still very much needed in feeling "normal" again. The way people looked at me after my husband had an affair was the look you'd give a homeless person who was dying. I felt so pathetic, if only they knew how hard it is to deal with infidelity.
How YOU should deal with infidelity
The stages of infidelity are :
1. Disbelief - Infidelity? No way! I know my spouse, they'd never cheat on me. Yes, that's how everyone reacts at first. That's what I thought of as well until the isolated events started becoming more and more common.
How to deal with disbelief and delusion?
Read the the common signs of a cheating spouse, and see if you observe any from your own spouse. Do NOT take action once you find out that they are displaying signs of a cheating spouse. List down all cheating signs you find and prove them as fact. Your goal now is to just that, prove or disprove the signs you find and "play dumb" and pretend you know nothing about their affairs.
2. Grief and Hatred - Once you've finally realized that there is a chance your spouse is cheating, you actively search for evidence and FIND it. You start being hateful and angry, you want nothing more than to tear your spouse's head off with your bare hands when you see them, then when you are alone you start mourning. This is the most difficult phase of infidelity because you're emotions may take control.
How to deal with grief and hatred?
You should NEVER react violently, it will cause you more problems, especially if you are a betrayed husband. Do not let your wife's betrayal turn you into someone you're not. Learn how to catch a cheating spouse, collect as much evidence as you can, then confront your spouse with the proof you have compiled.
Don't beat your spouse up physically, beat them in court. Collect evidence and make sure to GAIN CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILDREN. If you have children I recommend seeking out a lawyer's help once you have gathered evidence, and let him tell you what you can and can not use legally in court. Your number one goal right now, that you've proven your spouse is cheating on you, is gaining full custody of your children. If you can't afford a lawyer, private detectives are cheaper and usually know what to do, since lawyers hire them to collect evidence on several types of civil cases.
I know, this is the most difficult part of surviving an affair, the moment you confirm it. Things that can help you out, running. Put all your energy into running or doing something physical that will not hurt you, but tire you out. Do the opposite of what I did, which was to confront my spouse with basless accusations and hole up after he rejected everything I said. Gather evidence, consult with lawyer, and deal with the stress, hatred, and anger that you are experiencing by burning out your energy doing some exercises.
3. Recovering from Infidelity
Depending on what you choose to do, whether you forgive your cheating spouse or divorce them, these tips will help you recover from the affair
Family and friends - You need their love and support now more than ever. Do not feel embarrassed, none of this is your fault. You had no control over your spouse's actions and have nothing to be embarrassed about. Do not think you can survive this easily without your group of friends or family members.
Exercise and eat healthy - When you start feeling resentful, go for a run. Do something physically that will tire you out.Eat properly and exercise regularly. It will help take your mind off past mistakes of your spouse, and you will physically and emotionally feel better. Do it with your wife or husband, involve them in your exercises.
Your favorite activities - Try and remember the moment you and your spouse had that made you both the happiest you've ever been. Recreate that moment. If it was traveling to a different country and enjoying tropical beaches, go ahead and take a break from work and do that. You have to find something fun that you both enjoy doing or you will risk never becoming that close again because you'd be both too full of hate or guilt to enjoy each other.
The future- Stop thinking about what life will be like in the future without your spouse. It's over and you should accept it. Dwelling on the past will not bring it back. If on the other hand your spouse chose to stay with you, and you allowed and are trying to forgive them, then seek help from a marriage counselor. Marriage counseling will help get rid of your hate, it's difficult surviving adultery but a professional will be able to quicken the time it takes for you to regain your trust back in your spouse. A couples retreat would also help, as well as just a vacation and alone time together so you can really start talking and looking for the root cause of the problem.
Compromises - Did you take your spouse back or divorced them? If you took them back, you NEED to make them compromise, and if you are the cheater you NEED to compromise or you will never get back to where you were. If your spouse wants alone time everyday so you can talk, agree to it. If your spouse wants to go to marriage counseling, agree to it. If your spouse wants you to maintain a "no touching" rule with people of the opposite sex, agree to it; you shouldn't even need to tell this to someone who's married, boundaries need to be respected.
Don't feel forced to forgive - Don't feel like you need to forgive your spouse quickly or they'll cheat again. Take your time, let the your feelings out and let them know what you think about what they did and how it hurt you so much. You don't need to forgive them right away, even if they're living with you again. Doing that causes you to not want to let your true feelings out, and you'll bottle up all those emotions that slowly build up into a huge fight. It's better to slowly let things out rather than bottling up emotions and taking it out on everyone, even your kids. I've experienced this with my mom, who was also cheated on in her late 40s. She was miserable for months and yelled at us for the littlest things. Always vent it out than keep it to yourself.
I have started a surviving infidelity resource: The first one is found here, where you can read the cheating spouse stories of other people. And the other is a surviving infidelity forum, a more interactive way of asking for, and giving help to the same people in similar shoes (shoes we never wanted to be in). Venting is one of the ways you can lessen the stress infidelity causes, having people read your experiences and react, relate, and give their advice is very much overlooked as a tool of recovering from an affair.
The cheating spouse stories page has a lot more posts because it's been around longer so you may want to read that first. The surviving infidelity forums is new, I just requested it be added to a similar site Mike and I contribute to because blogger.com doesn't allow us to add forums here. Another reason for starting that forum is because over the years this site has grown from 1 comment a month, to 1 comment ever few days. I'm finding it difficult to maintain even with the help of my husband and Hanna, so we thought we'd make a forum so people like us can help each other.