So far we have looked at the various aspects of extra-marital affairs. Today let’s understand what to do and not to do if you find your partner cheating on you. The first question to ask yourself would be, whether you want to continue being in this relationship or you want to move out of it.
Accordingly, that will decide how you proceed with reconstructing your life and/or with tying the loose ends in your relationship. Here are some suggestions that you can follow if you find out that your partner was being unfaithful:
Accept your emotions
The first reaction which most people experience when they find out for the first time about their partner’s infidelity is shock and then denial. The human psyche is so engineered that we always believe that bad things happen to others and when we experience those bad things first hand, there is a sense of disbelief.
What follows is denial, confusion, the need to blame, anger, hurt and a range of other extreme emotions. It’s important to understand that it takes time to get over these initial emotions and different people take a different amount of time to get over the pain.
What is most important is embracing your emotions, and the way you feel; it’s important not to feel guilty and blame yourself for your partner’s infidelity, even if such messages may have been passed onto you. It’s only when you are able to acknowledge the way you feel, will you be able to invest yourself in moving forward, and letting that pain go
Focus on Yourself
Whenever we go through any experience which the mind views as traumatic, it is natural to feel the need to let go and stop paying attention to oneself. Particularly, if the experience we are talking about is one’s partner’s infidelity, there are likely to be somatic manifestations such as sleeplessness, body pain issues, respiratory diseases, etc.
It’s therefore, extremely important that you take good care of yourself. Once the initial shock and denial have subsided, focus on eating nutritious food, sleeping well, exercise & meditation; do what your heart tells you to do and look after yourself.
Don’t involve your kid(s)
This is something we spoke about in the last article as well. If you find your partner cheating, it’s a painful experience for you and it will be so for your child(ren) too. Therefore, it is important that you do not involve your kid(s) in the picture in any way whatsoever, till you and your partner decide about what is going to be the next step in your relationship.
If the next step is going to be a separation, then break the news of the separation to your kids in an age-appropriate manner, and preferably without giving them all the minutest details about the real reason for doing so; skip the unnecessary.
If you do decide to stay together, then it is advisable not to bring the matter in front of the kids, as this can colour the child’s perception about the parent in question and about relationships in general. Also, remember that your children are not your bargaining ticket and don’t use them as a means to punish your partner. It will most certainly have an overall negative impact on the kids.
Avoid seeking revenge
One of the first instincts after finding out about your partner’s infidelity can be to seek revenge as a response to the hurt and anger that you have experienced. You may want to have a casual affair yourself or thrash talk your partner to their friends and family or even want to vent on social media, but all of these are unhealthy coping behaviours.
Further, when the initial anger subsides, there is going to be more of a regret than satisfaction, about having indulged in these behaviours. Such behaviours will also make it difficult for you to move on and to heal. So if you need to, then take a break, go away from your partner for a short while, and talk to a friend you can confide in, but refrain from these damaging behaviours. It may appear that you are damaging your partner’s reputation but at the end of the day, these acts of revenge will disturb your inner harmony.
Seek professional help
Visit a psychologist or counsellor to talk about what has happened and to vent out your thoughts and feelings associated with the incident. Many a time, you may not want to or you may not have the option of talking to a loved one about what has happened. And therefore, a mental health professional can assist you in the process of healing by providing a non-judgmental safe space to share your thoughts, embrace your feelings, and chalk out the future course of action.
Going to a psychologist doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with your life, but we all can benefit from having an objective alternative perspective to our life’s struggles.