Surviving infidelity is one of the most painful things anyone might go through. But you are not alone.
This article will show you the best ways to handle such a painful experience.
By opening this article, you are about to deal with the subject of surviving infidelity head-on! (You may want to bookmark it now, for later reference)
Here you will find the help that you are searching for, and some thoughts that will guide you through this tough time in your life. It is our hope that you will recover from your trial, and get closer to the Lord as a result.
11 Vital Surviving Infidelity Guidelines
This article on surviving infidelity is focused on the person that has been cheated on, not on the cheater. While both spouses in a situation of infidelity are involved, and need help, it is most often the one who has been cheated on that seeks help first.
We want you to know…you…and your marriage….can survive this – read on!
With that in mind, the following guidelines for surviving infidelity are written for the spouse that has been hurt through the other’s infidelity.
Let’s get into our guidelines.
Guideline #1: Understand the threatening nature of your situation.
Obviously your emotions are on overdrive right now, which is to be expected. But, keep in mind that although this may not be your fault at all, you are in a very threatening situation.
Your marriage, and if you have children then your family, are in a very vulnerable position. How you handle this situation will affect you for the rest of your life, as well as your children’s lives. You have to look at the bigger scope of the circumstance.
This will be hard to do because of the emotional pain and sense of betrayal, but allowing those emotions to serve as an excuse for your own foolish behavior would not be wise. Be very careful that you don’t make any life changing decisions right now.
Also, you have taken a big hit spiritually. As a Christian you should put your guard up and do what you can to prevent further damage from being done. Now is the time to get close to your Christian friends, and possibly meet with your pastor or pastor’s wife, to get their counsel.
Guideline #2: Realize your questions are normal and important.
If you have discovered that your spouse has been having an affair, then you have a lot of questions. You should ask these questions, and seek answers.
Some of the questions you might have are:
- Who was it?
- When did it start?
- How did it start?
- How long has this been going on?
- Do you love them?
- Do you love me?
- How could you do this – to me – to us?
- How much of this is my fault – have I failed the marriage too?
You should ask all of these questions, and more if you have them. Your need for answers are the first steps towards healing from this crisis.
But don’t use these questions as a weapon to attack your spouse out of anger.
Once you have an answer to one of your questions, unless there was a lack of clarity, don’t ask that question again. By asking it again, you will bring up all of those emotions again, the hurt will start to cycle back.
(This video is not Christian in nature, but it is thought provoking and insightful in helping to understand why people cheat, and how to recover. Watch it and consider what is being said about healing from an affair)
Guideline #3: Govern your anger.
People that are hurting, hurt other people – be careful not to hurt your loved ones right now.
It is vital that you govern your anger right now. There will be times when your feelings of anger will seem overwhelming at times, but you have to keep that in check. Especially if you have a family.
Anger can lead to irrational choices and behavior. It is not uncommon for people in this situation to do terrible things in anger, that they end up regretting for the rest to their lives. Causing pain to someone else as a means of revenge, is never right.
Keep in mind, that if you have children, they will be the victims of any irrational or risky behavior that you indulge in as a result of your anger. Now is not the time to lash out in anger, you have to govern it wisely.
(Another quick warning – be careful what you say to your parents, and to your children, about what is going on – they are the wrong people to vent on)
Guideline #4: Understand that false forgiveness is not forgiveness.
Battling with the concepts and ideas of forgiveness will be difficult in times like this. We even teach our children that they should be quick to forgive. However, when it comes to surviving infidelity, any forgiveness that comes has to be REAL!
Fooling yourself into thinking that you have forgiven, or telling others that you have forgiven them, if you really haven’t, or being pressured to forgive, will lead to more complications. Forgiveness is going to be necessary, if you are going to survive infidelity, but not until you are ready for real sincere forgiveness.
That being said, don’t let unforgiveness fester so long, that it turns into bitterness inside of you. That will hurt nobody but yourself, and will eventually become a worse problem that the infidelity was.
Harboring bitterness is like swallowing a poison pill, hoping that it will kill the one who hurt you.
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Guideline #5: Don’t let this consume you.
Of course this hurts deeply, and it will consume you for a little while. That is normal and valid.
However, there are healthy limits to these kinds of feelings and you would be wise to snap yourself out of it when you realize that this is consuming you. Everyone around you that knows, will understand your struggle, to a point.
But if you let this consume you, it can lead to losing your job, neglecting your responsibilities, and becoming totally dysfunctional. Being consumed by this problem has to be dealt with as soon as you realize that it is out of control. Get help from a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor/pastor’s wife.
Most of all, get help from the Lord. He is there for you and loves you like no other. Jesus is well acquainted with everything you are experiencing, and the Holy Spirit can be a great comforter to you right now, if you will let Him.
(don’t stop reading now, you are just getting into this…..BOOKMARK THIS POST AND COME BACK LATER IF YOU HAVE TO – only six more guidelines to go)
Guideline #6: Be patient with yourself.
You may feel as if you are not handling all of this well. It may seem like you are not handling this correctly, of fast enough, or too fast. You may begin to question your own ability to survive this.
There really is no roadmap for surviving infidelity, because every situation is different. Be patient with yourself as you find your way through this troubled time.
Be assured that you are not the first one to feel that way, and you will certainly not be the last. You should be patient with yourself right now, and move forward slowly, and with caution. But keep moving forward towards healing.
Guideline #7: Realize your feelings and confusion are valid.
Not knowing what to do, or how to handle this crisis, is probably what led you to read this article to begin with. Your mental and emotional confusion is valid. You have been hit hard, and are in a state of shock!
This roller coaster that you have been forced onto has not been fun at all, it has been horrible, frightening, and nauseating, and I’m sure you want off! All of those feelings are valid and normal.
You are in survival mode, and will probably stay there for a little while until you get over the initial shock. Don’t be hard on yourself, or blame yourself, or hate yourself.
Eventually the confusion will clear up, and your emotions will stabilize. That is when you will wish you had handled things well, so start handling this the best you can, right now.
Guideline #8: You can save your marriage, if you fight for it.
Right now, you may not feel like fighting for much. However, if your spouse is willing to try to fix this, you should fight for your marriage. Especially if you have a family with children together.
I personally know of several marriages that have survived infidelity, and their marriages are better than they ever were. The infidelity exposed some deeper issues in the marriage, that were able to be addressed and improved on, through counseling and prayer together.
Remember, you loved your spouse so much at one point, that you were willing to marry them, and commit your entire life together. That is the reason you are feeling so betrayed right now. Fight for your marriage, be the success story, let God make you both into trophies of His grace!
Guideline #9: Be careful who you take counsel and advice from.
During this time, as you are hurting and looking for advice, don’t get it from people who ended up divorced because of infidelity. They most likely will give you wrong, or bad advice. This is not always the case, as some may be honest enough to admit they handled it wrong, and encourage you to do all you can to work it out.
It would be much better for you to seek counsel from someone that has been married for a long time, and has either survived infidelity, or helped other married couples in surviving infidelity.
You are looking for help from someone who knows how to successfully navigate through this crisis, not someone who didn’t make it.
Guideline #10: Don’t sabotage the marriage.
It is not uncommon under these circumstances for the spouse that has been cheated on to seek some kind of revenge. Some run off and do the same thing to their spouse by cheating with someone too. This just goes to prove how toxic the situation was already, and probably contributed to the original infidelity.
DON’T DO IT! You will regret it for the rest of your life!
If you have children, they will eventually find out too, and will most likely hold it against you. Sabotaging your marriage now practically seals your fate, and ends any chance of recovery.
Protect yourself and your children right now. If you have developed any emotional affairs since the infidelity, cut them off right now, and don’t go back. That is NOT the answer. You are not emotionally ready to take on another relationship in the middle of this family crisis.
Guideline #11: Pray for yourself, your spouse, your marriage, and your family.
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer in your marriage. God is the one that instituted marriage, as a picture and symbol of Christ and the Church. God intends for you to stay married, and if you will begin right now by praying for yourself, your spouse, and your family, I know that the Lord will hear you.
If you have been out of church, now is a good time to go back. Find a solid Bible believing, Bible preaching church, and go make things right with the Lord.
Surviving infidelity requires prayer. Pray that God will help your heart to heal, and bring you to the place where real forgiveness can take place. Pray every day for your marriage, your spouse, and your children. Ask the Lord to make a way for renewal, and healing, and real love.