Bend Marriage Counseling: What to Do After Discovering an Affair

November 15, 2014 by

Bend Marriage Counseling: What to Do After Discovering an Affair

If you just found out that your partner has been having an affair, your first instinct may be to run away as fast as you can. After all, they betrayed you in an incredibly intimate way, and you’re likely feeling all kinds of roiling emotions, including anger, sadness, disappointment, shame, and more. Thinking rationally and coming up with some kind of plan is probably the furthest thing from your mind, but now is when it’s most important to do so – you don’t want to make a rash decision in the heat of passion that you’ll later regret.

So how exactly should you react if you discover that your spouse or long term significant other has been cheating?

Steps to Follow After Uncovering a Cheater

Don’t avoid them. You probably have little desire to talk to your partner right now, but it’s vital that you do so. This is especially important for couples that have children together, because even if you end up leaving each other, you’re still going to have to interact and at least pretend to get along. But even if children aren’t involved, it’s good for you to open a line of communication because avoidance will just make you more emotional.

Recognize that their “I love you” is likely true. One of the things that often hurts victims of affairs the most is when the cheating spouse says that they still love them. How dare they? That shouldn’t be something they get to say after what they’ve done. And how can you be expected to believe it after everything? As an experienced marriage therapist, I can tell you that their expression of love is most likely genuine – but that doesn’t change the fact that they broke the bonds of your relationship and didn’t take your feelings into consideration when they acted.

Figure out what you need to know and ask. Learning what happened will help you to process the affair for yourself. This doesn’t mean that you need to ask every single detail, but it’s up to you – and it’s the cheater’s duty to clearly and honestly tell you everything you ask. This is especially important if you’re attempting to move past the breach and continue the relationship, because it reestablishes a bit of trust.

Take this time to reevaluate (or renegotiate). The “event” of an affair is so big and all-consuming that often victims lose sight of themselves because they’re concentrating so much on that event. But if you want to be happy going forward – whether you stay with your partner or not – you need to think about what you want from a relationship and whether or not you were truly happy before the discovery of the affair. If you’re trying to make the relationship work, now is the time to discuss what needs to change – both for you and your partner.

Affairs are incredibly difficult to recover from on your own. If you and your partner are struggling, consider coming in to Bend marriage counseling.

Questions? Contact Tim Higdon