He cheated on you. You love him, but this isn't a "who forgot to take out the garbage" kind of fight; you're dealing with infidelity - the "Big I." Now what? Can your relationship survive the trust issues before you? Depending on your situation, your willingness to save your relationship, and oftentimes a whole lot of relationship counseling, you can get through this, resolve your trust issues, and come out stronger for it. Read on for some relationship advice for women dealing with infidelity.
A Story about Infidelity
Tom and his wife Suzanne were married right after college. They met in their junior year and dated until graduation, intentionally waiting until each of them found a job before tying the knot. Tom was a marketing major and was hired by an international firm with a home office in the UK. He frequently traveled to Europe on business and after two years of long flights and stressful meetings with his colleagues overseas, he found himself alone one night having dinner in a trendy restaurant in London's fashion district. Seeing that Tom was having dinner alone, a well-dressed woman at a nearby table struck up a conversation and asked the waiter to bring a bottle of wine to the table so they might become better acquainted. At first, Tom just enjoyed the lighthearted banter, and found himself relaxing while having a drink with this engaging young lady. But after the second glass of wine, their eyes met and Tom found himself drawn to this beautiful woman. Lonely, stressed and flattered that she found him attractive, Tom stayed longer than he should have and after a couple more glasses of wine, with his judgment clouded, he accepted the woman's invitation to come back to her hotel.
The next morning Tom felt sick thinking about his wife and how he'd betrayed her. After a couple of long and sleepless nights, he decided that the best thing to do was to tell her what happened and hoped they could work it out.
Tom, like many young professionals today, had been working so hard to build his career that the stress of long hours and lonely nights away from home finally took its toll on his marriage. Although the details may differ a bit, if you've ever suffered from infidelity in your marriage, you will easily recognize the symptoms.
Relationship Counseling - A Must
The best relationship advice for women dealing with infidelity it is to get relationship counseling. Cheating is the ultimate betrayal in a partnership and it is nearly impossible to get through the trust issues that surface without guidance and relationship counseling from a professional.
A life coach or counselor is integral because the trust issues that result from cheating will eat away at a relationship if not addressed. Additionally, the emotional reasons that led to cheating need to be brought to the surface when dealing with infidelity. A professional can work with you and your husband or boyfriend to address those issues so that you don't find yourself in this situation again.
Don't Blame Yourself When Dealing with Infidelity
Another important piece of relationship advice for women who are dealing with infidelity: don't blame yourself. Women tend to take on most of the responsibility when their significant other has cheated. But when people cheat, several factors come into play and most of those have to do with the cheater's issues, not yours.
Infidelity can signify long-standing problems in a relationship, but it takes two to tango, so fight the temptation to take on all the blame. Whatever relationship problems you and your partner have, nothing warrants the act of cheating. If there are tribulations in the relationship that you've played a part in, it's fine to own up to your role in that, but don't blame yourself when dealing with infidelity; that was your partner's choice. Relationship counseling can help him take responsibility for that while healing your relationship and addressing any contributing factors.
Overcoming Trust Issues
Once you've gotten relationship counseling to understand the issues that led to infidelity, it is crucial that you address trust issues head on. Building up the reservoir of trust that was lost is going to take time and work. Always looking over your partner's shoulder or wondering if he is cheating again will surely doom your relationship, not to mention eat away at your emotional well-being. Relationship counseling will help you work through your trust issues, commit to starting anew with your partner, and build a stronger foundation for your relationship.
Who Can't Resolve Trust Issues
If you've decided that your relationship cannot withstand the trust issues that have surfaced, it is still important to get relationship counseling for yourself. Dealing with infidelity takes a toll on your emotional health and can leave battle scars on your psyche. A counselor can help you deal with trust issues so that you don't carry them into your next relationship.
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Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity
What NOT to do
Most women react blindly when they first discover that out their husbands are having an affair and end up doing things they later regret.
This may be the most important article you'll read about dealing with your husband's affair. There's plenty of information available on what to do if your husband is cheating. But very little has been written about the things you shouldn't do during those first few hours or days.
You've just discovered that your husband is cheating. You're not sure what to do. Before wrestling with that decision, let's focus first on what you shouldn't do. Most women react blindly when they find out their husbands are having an affair. They let fear, anger, hurt, or a desire for revenge compel them to do things they later regret; things which make it difficult or impossible to implement any worthwhile infidelity advice they may later receive.
This article will keep you from making a mistake that could sabotage the course of action you eventually decide to take. Regardless of whether you decide to leave your husband or stay with him and try to work things out, doing the wrong thing at the outset can make a bad situation worse. Let's look at 5 key things you SHOULDN'T do and examine the reasons why.
- Don't put him out or leave him - yet.
Instead of your first move, putting your husband out or leaving him should be your last resort. You may eventually decide to do this, but for now, it's the worst thing you can do. Right now you need to keep a close eye on what's going on. It'll be easier to do that if the two of you are still living under the same roof. If you put him out or leave, you'll be hard-pressed to know what he's doing, short of hiring an investigator. As long as you're still together, you can keep your finger on the pulse of his affair and gather some much-needed facts. There's a lot you need to know about the situation before you can make an intelligent decision about what to do. Continue monitoring your husband's activities, attitude, the frequency of his contact with his lover and any other details concerning his affair. Write everything down in a journal for future use. Also bear in mind that as long as he's still there, you have a chance to work things out.
- Don't tell the whole world about his infidelity.
It's natural to want to confide in somebody about your husband's affair, or rally friends and family to your side. But be very cautious about who you tell. The female friend you confide in could turn out to be the "other woman". Make sure you're confiding in someone you know you can trust. Confiding in a male friend about your husband's affair could complicate the situation. There are men out there who take advantage of women when they're in a vulnerable state. Telling your husband's friends or family may not produce the results you want. They might not take you seriously, or they may lie, make excuses for him, take his side, or warn him to cover his tracks. Confiding in your own family and friends can eventually come back to haunt you. Elephants aren't the only ones who never forget. Some people have a tendency to remember unpleasant events long after they've been resolved. If you and your husband decide to reconcile, they could make things difficult by harboring anger and hostility toward him for what he did to you. Or they may show resentment toward you for taking him back. Exercise caution in who you tell about your husband's affair.
- Don't ignore his affair or pretend it's not happening.
Going into denial will only make matters worse. As traumatic as it is to find out that your husband has been cheating, you need to face the reality of the situation. Ignoring his infidelity gives him the go-ahead to continue his affair. Pretending it's not happening will make him think he's getting away with his cheating, or give him the impression that he has your silent approval. At some point you should inform your husband that you know about his affair and make it clear that you want it to stop. The sooner you confront him about his cheating, the better. The longer you wait to bring it up and express your disapproval, the more attached he will become to the other woman. And the harder it will be to get your marriage back on track. Remember too, that affairs thrive in secrecy. Sometimes, just telling your husband you know about it, will be enough to put a stop to his affair.
- Don't confront him without the 3 P's: Proof, a Plan, and a Purpose.
Most experts agree that you should confront your husband about his cheating. But you need to have a plan. Choose the time and place carefully so you can discuss the affair at length without interruption. Do not ask your husband if he's cheating. Cheaters lie. Present the evidence you've gathered that proves he's having an affair - names, dates, places, times, absences, phone calls, physical evidence, etc. Then ask him some pointed questions about his affair: why he did it, how it started, how long it's been going on, how he feels about the other woman, what he intends to do now that you know. Listen carefully to his answers so you can accurately assess the situation. Then you'll be able to make a wise decision about what course of action to take. Do not confront your husband without proof of his infidelity. To do so will be a colossal waste of time. Unless you can prove he's been cheating, the information-gathering phase will never get off the ground. If you need proof, there's a way for you to get it without hiring a detective or buying software or surveillance equipment.
- Don't waste your time and energy on the other woman.
One of the worst things you can do is become obsessed with the other woman. It's natural for you to be curious about her, but she's not worth your time and energy. Repeatedly questioning your husband about her, referring to her or dragging her name into the conversation puts the spotlight on her instead of on the real issues where it belongs. Don't obsess over the details of what happened between the two of them. Concentrate on working things out between the two of you. Do not humiliate or frustrate yourself by calling or confronting the other woman and demanding that she leave your husband alone. She's not obligated to take orders from you. Harassing her or threatening her will put you on the wrong side of the law. Name-calling, criticizing or belittling her will only make your husband come to her defense. You'll be driving them closer together instead of forcing them apart Forget about the other woman and focus your energy and efforts on getting your marriage back on track.
Will you end up sabotaging your marriage or saving it? The final outcome depends on the way you handle things when you first discover your husband's affair. In the initial stages, you may be unsure exactly what you're going to do. But at least you know what NOT to do. Whether you stay with your husband or leave him, avoiding these mistakes, leaves the way clear for whatever decision you eventually make.
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