Surviving infidelity is a painful journey. As one of the worst betrayals, it throws you back on yourself for support. Once the infidelity is brought to light, your options can be severely limited. If a discovery or confession of infidelity coincides with the unfaithful spouse calling off the marriage, you have little recourse if you'd like the option of working things out.
If the infidelity does not bring the marriage to a screeching halt, there are multiple issues to sort out among the options of:
1) determining if infidelity is a non-negotiable for either of you,
2) staying married,
3) deciding who to turn to for support as a couple and as individuals,
4) having a trial separation,
5) considering divorce, and
6) how to communicate this rocky road with children and other family members.
You may have read or heard that when infidelity occurs, it isn't the problem but a symptom of deeper problems. When it happens to you, the truth of that becomes crystal clear. Everything that led to this day of discovery can come flooding to the surface, with both of you throwing blame and resentment at each other as you try to keep from drowning in the grief and the reality that there is no turning back.
So how do you survive infidelity? First, you begin where you are, with you. You feel your feelings of grief, loss, shock, anger, and whatever else comes up for you. You even allow yourself some crazy fantasies about your partner, as long as you do not act on them. These things are normal, best embraced and not run from. Healing yourself and your life needs to be your top concern.
Then you prepare for some of the toughest work of your life! Whether you and your spouse decide the relationship will continue or end, the best way to begin to take your life back is by taking 100% responsibility for where you are this point. That may sound provocative, so keep reading because there is tremendous promise in that statement. It has nothing to do with blaming yourself or finding yourself at fault. It does have to do with not only surviving infidelity, but thriving.
Taking 100% responsibility means looking at you as a powerful creator who has attracted every person, animal, circumstance, experience, essentially everything to you as a mirror reflection of both who you are and who you desire to become! Let us begin with the present circumstance of a spouse that cheated.
Accepting that you are a powerful creator who attracted your spouse and this present situation into your life and that you are prepared to take responsibility for that, ask yourself what he or she and the betrayal mirror for you. Perhaps the mirror is showing you that you do not value yourself as worthy of fidelity and better love. Maybe you have issues with jealousy and insecurity so that the mirror of this situation tells you it's time to master these issues so you can take you and your life to a higher, better level. It may be that your spouse never loved you such that the mirror is offering you release from suffering you have endured for the length of your marriage.
Whatever the mirror of this situation and these people reveal to you will be personal for you. Chances are self-worth is part of the issue. However, take the time to investigate for yourself what it is you can learn from what may be the worst thing that has ever happened to you.
Even if you choose to remain married, your present and future have been undeniably altered by the betrayal. You have a long journey ahead of you. Whether you remain married or separate, there will be nights when you think the pain will never end. It will. You will have family and friends who will want your life to get back to normal within six months. It won't. Find those people in your life who have the patience to be there for you seven months, a year, or however long it takes for life to feel normal for you again.
The betrayal may have stolen the future you had mapped out. But you will get your life back. You will experience normalcy again. You will have joy, passion, love, and delight again. When you perceive the present as a mirror for you of your power as a creator, you will not only survive infidelity, you will thrive.