No one wants to believe that their spouse would cheat on them, especially after being married for a while. But unfortunately, it does happen. Maybe it came as a surprise, maybe it didn’t. But how do you move forward from a betrayal like that? Should you race and get a divorce lawyer as fast as you can? Should you wait it out and see if your marriage can be fixed? Do you cheat on them to get revenge? Despite what rom-coms tell you, cheating in a relationship isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. More often than not, one or both people get hurt and it can’t be easily fixed. It is difficult to know how you should proceed, but there are some steps you can take.
Either it’s for you or you and your spouse, you probably want some outside professional guidance. Being cheated on can make you feel angry, betrayed, insecure, depressed, and vengeful but these feelings are normal. It’s how you handle those feelings that can make all the difference. You are not the first person who has been cheated on and you won’t be the last, so a good therapist knows how to guide those feelings of resentment to a healthy outlet that won’t lead you to any rash decisions that you will regret later. If you believe that your marriage can be saved or if you need a mediator to talk between you two, couples therapy might be the way to go. It can be very beneficial for both of you, or it can be the push you need to make the final decision to divorce them.
Everyone’s relationship is a private matter, but it can be cathartic to talk about it with people that love and support you. Sometimes you won’t want to tell anyone what happened out of shame, or you’ll want to post it all over social media to expose what a liar they are. Both of these are a bad idea. If you never confide in anyone and bottle up all your emotions, your resentment will grow and your marriage will fall apart faster than it already has. If you tell everyone, it invites everyone to have an opinion on your relationship, even if you didn’t ask for it. Having someone that you can turn to in this time of emotional distress will help you personally heal.
Understand that you are still loved and infidelity is not a reflection on your character, it is a reflection on theirs. You don’t have to understand their motives or support them or even forgive them, but you should understand the whole truth. Don’t try and excuse their behavior, but the more honest and open you are with each other will determine if you can move on together or if you should move on without them.
If you, or both of you, decide that the relationship cannot go on any longer, a divorce is the right step. Maybe this was the last straw or the only straw, but you have to do what you know is right for you. Legally, there are few situations where cheating affects the settlement of a divorce case unless one spouse uses funds from the shared accounts to support cheating. There are also consequences if the cheating spouse exposed the children to the relationship or other unsafe practices. Getting a divorce from an unloyal spouse can be both empowering and heartbreaking, so it is always important to put your mental and physical health first.