One of my four rules of relationship coaching is that I will not try and salvage a relationship or marriage if there has been infidelity. I will not waiver from this. But dammit if I will not help a client that has been cheated on and has decided to end their marriage. Bouncing back after such deceit is not easy but it is achievable.
Here are 6 things you can do
Do not over think the ‘why’: Your marriage has ended because they cheated on you. To this day, you are still not sure why. So there you sit thinking about every possible rationale.
- You’ve gained weight and they were no longer attracted to you?
- They went on a lot of trips and grew lonely in the hotels?
- There was so much time with the children and working on the online business that you were always too tired to stay connected in the bedroom?
It could be these reasons and it could be other reasons. I need to share something with you that you may not want to hear. In the scheme of things, the ‘why’ does not matter. Again, your marriage has already ended and no rationale you can think of will have justified the infidelity. What’s more, the more you think about the why, the more you are second guessing yourself and unwittingly sabotaging the life you are trying to rebuild.
Resist Posting It All Over Social Media: Posting on Facebook may give you an opportunity to release in the moment but it also creates weeks of constant reminders through the countless “likes”, comments, and emoji’s. It also creates opportunities for friends and family to weigh in, throwing unintended fuel to the fire. This will not help you bounce back.
Find Meaningful Outlets: ‘Meaningful’ is a very deliberate word because we are good at doing things, anything, to occupy our minds but if those things are not who we really are and do not truly resonate with us, they will prove to be temporary buffers from the negative feelings of the divorce and infidelity. On the other hand, if there are hobbies and activities that have always brought you joy; find a couple hours a week to get back into them. You will smile and it will be natural. You will remember the good things and those memories will be pleasant.
This brings me to the most important reasons for finding meaningful outlets. The more you can invest in them, the more they will…
Remind You of Who You Were When You Were Happy: Divorce can be an embarrassing experience for someone. Being cheated on can be even worse. We feel unattractive and unworthy of a faithful relationship with someone that supposedly loved us. What’s more, it is almost always the case that some of our friends and family know about the cheating. But, the cheating is a microcosm of a life that has been full of moments that made us happy.
- We remember being asked to the prom by three guys we liked
- We remember having game night and martini’s with our friends
- We remember being flirted with by the bartender at that place on Sycamore
Keep these memories in your frontal lobe so that the pain of divorce and infidelity can be replaced by the confidence of who you are and the faith that there is a happy life to be had.
- When you see them every other weekend to drop the kids off, converse with them.
- When they come to the soccer game with their new squeeze, introduce yourself—don’t wait for the awkward moment where you bump into each other.
Taking this approach will help you find your pride and self-regard that almost certainly lapsed when you found out about the infidelity. “I am not hiding because I am bigger and stronger than that.”
It will also put things into perspective for they who cheated on you. You are not a wounded bird and the long term effect that they had on you was nil. This puts the rest of your interactions with them on a level playing field.
This is NOT to suggest that you should forgive cheating—I think the complete opposite. BUT, one needs to forgive an offense in order to truly move on.