“Last night was well worth it” read the text from my husband’s mistress. Needless to say that is one text I will never forget! If you are anything like I was you may have just discovered that your spouse is having an affair.
What should you do now? You suddenly feel shattered. You can’t catch your breath. You are furious and devastated at the same time.
Okay, so what next…What should you do? How are you supposed to handle this?
What you do next will determine whether you can come out of this ordeal with bruises that can heal, or whether it will change you forever. It is just that important. Here are the right steps to take:
1) Force yourself to be calm and think things through.
Knee-jerk reactions are self-defeating. Acting out your anger and hurt may let you feel vindicated for the moment, but it could hurt any attempt at reconciliation.
2) Recognize that you have been deeply hurt and that this can affect your decision-making.
If you aren’t aware of your heightened emotions, they can get you all twisted like a pretzel, forcing you to behave in ways you would otherwise never even consider. Give yourself time to cool down and to be able to think more clearly.
This will also give your spouse time to realize that he or she still values your love too much to give up on it. Giving yourself a cooling-off period does not mean that you have to take your spouse back immediately.
It’s okay to let him (or her) sweat about the prospect of losing you; but you do need to keep the lines of communication open so that the two of you can eventually calmly talk over what happened and let each other know how you feel about your marriage.
3) Before you talk to your spouse or make any decisions, decide what you want out of your marriage.
This is BIG and requires sitting down and thinking about your ideal REALISTIC relationship with your spouse. KNOW YOUR deal breakers and do not lie to yourself about them, the person, or the situation.
Write down exactly what you want out of your marriage (be as specific as possible) and what you are willing to give to the marriage. When you talk with your spouse, strongly (without be pushy) encourage him (or her) to do the same, and then set up a time to share your answers to see if you are both on the same page.
Getting past infidelity is a very personal journey. It forces you to be brutally honest with yourself and with your spouse. It also requires forgiveness. When you listen to each other, you may discover that something you said or did had upset your spouse but you never knew it—and vice versa. Ask forgiveness from each other and forgive each other. This clears the air, restores trust and allows healing to begin.