When something as devastating as an affair happens, you want to get back on track as quickly as possible—but where do you start?
So you don’t feel too overwhelmed, I’ve taken all the advice from my book on life after cheating and various articles and boiled everything down into my best seven pieces of advice:
1. Don’t make any big decisions too quickly after discovering your partner’s infidelity
Appreciate that you are in shock and it will take at least two months to begin to recover and start to understand all the implications. It might be tempting to end the relationship straight away. However, if you do, your partner will walk away with the answer to lots of questions that you’ll want answering.
2. Don’t forgive too quickly either
Most people who are unfaithful don’t tell all in the first confession, but in stages. Also, if you forgive your partner early on, he or she have no impetus to tell you more; in fact they have a reason to tell you less—because they don’t want to ruin the new peace.
3. Don’t expect to recover and get over your discovery in a snap of your fingers
If you simply dump your partner and move on without dealing with the issues, you may find that you take your problems on to your next relationship and have trust issues there instead. Time spent working on yourself is never wasted.
4. You are not responsible for your partner’s infidelity
However, you were part of the relationship that broke down and need to think about what went wrong – and in greater depth than “I made a bad choice of partner”.
Think of three boxes:
- Your partner’s stuff. (not your responsibility)
- Your stuff (definitely your responsibility)
- Your relationship stuff (which is half your responsibility and half your partners)
5. Appreciate that infidelity finds the fault lines in your own life and blows them apart
After infidelity, the issues that have been simmering under the surface—like money, your partner’s mother, sex etc—will come up to the surface and need to be addressed. It’s what makes life after cheating difficult but it’s also an opportunity to get to the bottom of everything.
6. If you’re learning about yourself—no matter how painful the process might be—that’s really positive
I’m always asked ‘how do I know when it’s pointless to keep trying to recover from infidelity and when it’s best to separate’. My answer is always the same, if you’re still growing and learning about yourself, love and relationships then keep going.
If it seems you’re stuck, banging your head, and have taken all the learning—that’s the time to move on rather than going round and round in circles.
7. Get help early
It could be reading a book like my How Can I Ever Trust You Again? or looking at the videos of experts on YouTube. It will help you get everything into proportion and not feel so alone because there is life after cheating.
Getting help also shows that you are caring for yourself—and let’s face it that’s important after such a devastating discovery.