Discovery of Infidelity…What Should I Do?
You just found out that your partner has been having an affair and you are devastated beyond belief! You are facing the most difficult choice of your life…stay or leave your relationship. It is a difficult decision to make! After the initial discovery of the affair, your initial is probably to walk away from your relationship and move on because you may think “there’s no way our relationship can recover from this!” On the other hand, you may experience ambivalence whether to stay or leave because you still have strong feelings towards your partner. The important point to make here is to NOT make this important decision when you are emotionally charged and angry at your partner.
Take time away from the situation to clear your thoughts and process your emotions. Your emotions are most likely all over the place…at one moment you may experience extreme levels of anger and the next moment you have excessive crying spells. The discovery that your partner has been cheating on you is traumatic. Therefore, these emotional responses are normal and the best way to manage them is to FEEL them. Naturally, you may just want to numb them by turning towards unhealthy behaviors of drinking alcohol, drugs, violence, or sleeping with someone else to get back at them. Give yourself permission to experience and feel unpleasant emotions. A great way to express your emotions is to journal about them. You may even write a letter to your partner by addressing your negative emotions towards the infidelity, not your partner. Be cautious with the words you use because they will never be forgotten. This is especially important if you decide to give your relationship a second chance.
It is your decision of how you want to proceed with your relationship. Proceed with caution and take your time. You may want to consult with a professional counselor who specializes in couples counseling. This is not an easy decision to make, and you may need to evaluate all of your choices and how it may affect all parties involved. In your situation, the best choice may be to leave your partner and take care of yourself. In other situations, your relationship may be worth fighting for. When you have calmed down, talk to your partner, and let him/her know that the decision whether to stay or leave the relationship is difficult. Provide your partner a chance to show remorse and willingness to change before making your decision. If you decide to work on your relationship, keep in mind that it is a process and rebuilding trust takes time. Research studies have indicated that it can take anywhere between 12-24 months for a betrayed partner to begin trusting the offending partner. Ask God for guidance, patience, wisdom, and support as you make your decision!