What If Your Spouse Cheats?

Help for an infidelity crisis
What If Your Spouse Cheats?

When you married, if you're like most couples, you made a vow pledging your faithfulness. But now you've discovered your spouse didn't take that vow seriously. It doesn't matter whether it was a one-night stand or a long-term affair, the results are the same—your spouse's action has left in its wake fear, doubt, distrust, betrayal, hurt, and anger.

Ultimately, it's what you do with these emotions—how you process them—that makes the difference. For you and your marriage's sake, you need to process these emotions in a positive way. Here's help.

Healthy versus Unhealthy Responses

Allow the tears to flow. Initially, crying is a healthy response. But your body is limited to how long it can sustain such agony. Allow yourself to cry, but don't move into a "poor me" attitude. That will do no one any good.

Tell your spouse how you feel. Verbally expressing your feelings is also a healthy way to process anger—as long as you use "I" statements rather than "you" statements. When you say, "You betrayed me. You took advantage of me. You don't love me," you only incite negative reactions. And we know that negative reactions don't lead to positive outcomes.

Statements such as, "I feel betrayed. I feel hurt. I feel like you don't love me" simply reveal your emotions. They're honest and communicate the depth of your pain.

Control your behavior. Negative responses to anger can complicate the problem. If you start throwing dishes or speaking obscenities, your out-of-control behavior will only alleviate your spouse's guilt. Now he can blame you rather than himself because your behavior has demonstrated that you're an unreasonable, uncontrolled person.

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May 25

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