Whether you just found out about your partner’s cheating or have known for a while, the sting of infidelity is hard to shake. Cheating is a huge betrayal that can leave you feeling powerless and emotional.
If you’re reeling from a heartbreaking revelation about your relationship, know that you don’t need to make any decisions right now. We’ve compiled 12 articles that will help you decide what’s right for you.
Finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful can leave you feeling utterly powerless. “Is leaving the right decision?” you ask yourself. “Is it worth staying and working through our relationship problems?”
The most important thing to remember as you process the pain is that you don’t need to make any immediate decisions. As emotional as you may be now, knee-jerk reactions will likely only make the situation worse.
Those first days and weeks after finding out about the affair were some of the loneliest of my life. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I felt shame and embarrassment that kept me from confiding in my friends. My uncertainty about the future and the tiny glimmer of hope I had that we might be able to make it through this kept me silent.
If you’re the cheating kind, you may have your genes to blame: Researchers from Binghamton University found that about half of all people with the DRD4 gene — also known as the “thrill-seeking” gene — were more prone to promiscuity and unfaithfulness.
“Regardless of the reasons why, your partner made a conscious decision to put their desires above the relationship and above you. Separate yourself from your partner’s choice. Accountability lies squarely with your partner and their decision. There’s no need to own their issues.”
Infidelity can do a number on your self-esteem. When you start to feel really low, remind yourself of how badass you were — and still are! — by exploring hobbies and interests you put on the back burner during the relationship.
It’s a scenario that happens all the time: You’ve met a new friend or co-worker and you instantly feel a connection. The two of you just click and soon, the text messages are flowing freely. You’re cracking inside jokes, you’re very subtly flirting and you’re thinking about him or her all the time.
It sounds like the start of a very promising new romantic relationship. The only problem? You’re already in a relationship — and it may instead be the start of an emotional affair.
It’s not affairs that break up marriages: It’s the unfaithful spouse’s inability to be honest about what happened and leave the affair behind them, says Caroline Madden, a Burbank, California-based marriage therapist who specializes in affair recovery.
Spend some time in silence daily. Try to pray, meditate, read an inspirational passage or deep breathe. Quiet your mind. Let your thoughts come and go, they are just thoughts. Do not judge them. With a quiet mind, you can listen to your heart and learn to trust yourself again.
Given how many of us are affected by infidelity ― twenty-one percent of married men and around 15 percent of married women have cheated on their spouses, according to the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago ― it’s worth exploring our beliefs about cheaters and their capacity for change. Does “once a cheater, always a cheater” always ring true?
“The red flag I should have picked up on was that whenever I confronted him about my suspicions, he became angry, defensive and tried to turn the tables on my lack of trust. Instead of talking with me and being compassionate, I became the bad guy.” - Johnny O.
One night, in the midst of a late night conversation, a friend finally said just the thing I needed to hear to shatter my feelings of inadequacy. No flattery or comparison this time. He simply told me that in a relationship, “Whatever issues that other person has, they have no bearing on your own validity. You eventually just realize it’s not all about you.”
Infidelity is one of the most commonly-cited reasons for divorce in the U.S. If you’ve been cheated on, we’re guessing you have tons of unanswered questions, like why did he or she stray? And is this preventable in the future? Here are the hard facts about the ins and outs of extramarital affairs.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.