When you find out your husband is cheating on you, a million and one emotions flood your heart. And so do the countless questions and second-guesses you ask yourself.
How could this happen? What did I do? And the list goes on and on.
To give you some much-needed comfort and peace of mind, here’s how you can cope with the devastating news.
Acknowledge and Allow Your Emotions
Whether you were suspicious or not. Or, whether you expected to discover that your husband was cheating on you or not, one thing’s for sure: it’s always a shock. It’s not something you plan for, and ready or not, your life must continue. You still have your children (if any) to take care of and look after. You still have a household to manage. You still have a job. You’re still responsible to and for people.
Because life must go on even amidst the heartache, it’s very tempting to suppress your feelings, and keep a stiff upper lip, pretending that everything’s okay. To a certain extent, this is necessary.
But be sure to take time to acknowledge how you’re feeling and allow yourself to just feel. You might feed rejected, betrayed, angry, sad and dubious. These are all normal and reasonable feelings, so don’t suppress or ignore them.
Be Sad, But Don’t Give Up On Yourself
You might want to turn into your very own Bridget Jones, and overindulge whether it’s shopping sprees or food binges Even though this is what you want, it might not be what you need. Plus, it can make you feel worse rather than better when it’s all said and done.
Even though you want to throw the towel in, don’t stop taking care of yourself. Shave your legs. Wash your hair. Wear your nice clothes. Get good sleep. Eat healthy.
You might not feel like it, but when you do these things, you’ll feel much better. It will help you feel more empowered and confident even during this shocking time. And if it’s difficult to do these everyday things, enlist your girlfriends to help you and lovingly keep you on track.
Express and Communicate Your Emotions
Feelings can be overwhelming, and a lot to handle all on your own. Don’t be afraid to communicate them safely and responsibly to your spouse. Make it very clear that you are not okay with his actions. Be sure to impress on him the severity of his actions, and how they have affected you.
It may feel really good to attack him personally, but this is unlikely to do anything productive. Instead, you can easily push him away with personal attacks.
By making it clear to him that his cheating is unacceptable and has no place in your loving and trusting relationship, you hold him to a high standard instead of beating him to the ground.
Other good ways to express your emotions is to journal. If you’re a painter, return to your water colors. A musician? Play your instrument and let it out. Your emotions are meant to be expressed, so let them go.
Love Yourself with Lots of Self-Care
When your spouse betrays you, it makes you feel inadequate and insecure. You probably wonder what the other woman had that you didn’t. Was she prettier, smarter, and cleverer than you? To be honest, the answer is highly unlikely. And to be even more honest, it doesn’t even matter.
Your husband’s infidelity is not a cue to dislike who you are, or beat yourself up for not being perfect. Instead, amp up your self-love and take very good care of yourself.
Even if your husband has cheated on you, that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself love and respect. Treat yourself to a nice manicure and pedicure. Wear your favorite outfit and get out of the house.
Enjoy a drink at your favorite café, and if you want that extra chocolatey chocolate chip cookie, eat it without feeling any sense of guilt. In short, don’t let your husband’s deception rob you of what’s rightfully yours: love and respect.
Don’t Blame Yourself For Your Husband’s Cheating
When you feel inadequate, insecure and betrayed, it’s easy to blame yourself for what happened. And while it’s true that it takes two to tango, and to make a marriage work, this is not the time to start blaming yourself for your husband’s lies.
Sure, maybe you were a workaholic, or were going through a rough time. Maybe you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress and haven’t been emotionally available to him. You’re not perfect, and this may explain his motivations to cheat on you. But that doesn’t excuse cheating and infidelity.
So, it’s more important to stop blaming yourself for what he did. This won’t get you anywhere. It won’t make you more attractive to him, and it won’t help you feel better.
Keep Big Decisions for Later
The shock you feel after finding out your husband cheated on you can lead to many knee-jerk reactions. In fact, many of your actions are probably only reactions. And you may regret them after a couple hours, days or even years.
So, even though you’re feeling very raw – which is completely understandable! – try to make rational, instead of rash, decisions.
You may want to end your marriage right then and there. You might want to do something very, very hurtful to him. But in the long run, will this help either of you, or your relationship?
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Grief is usually something we talk about when it comes to death. But grief is a powerful emotion you feel when you’ve experienced immense loss.
When your husband cheats, you’ve lost something very important to you: his trust, respect and fidelity. And this feeling of grief can sit inside of you long after the sadness, shock and anger fade away.
Allow yourself to grieve and to recover. If you don’t, it will be hard to forgive him and to rebuild your marriage if you both choose to do so.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around the devastating shock you feel when you discover your husband cheated. But with these tips, you have the power to stand tall and love who you are amidst the shock and emotional upheaval.