This moment is the worst moment of your life. You have just discovered that your partner, who you love and are devoted to has betrayed you. Your life is immediately turned upside down and you are unsure of what to do, or how you are going to get through the next five minutes much fewer days, weeks and months to come. It would seem that the next steps will help or hinder you on the long road to recovery. Healing is a marathon, not a sprint, so be sure that what happens next is done with thoughtful consideration, which can be difficult with such powerful and painful emotions swirling. To do this, take your time, give yourself some grace, and some time to think about your options.
At this point, it seems like the whole world has been tilted on its axis. Although it feels as if everything has changed in your world, it is important to remember that only one thing has changed. Granted, it’s a big thing. A huge thing. Here are several tips for managing the initial aftermath of discovering your partner’s affair.
9 Initial Steps to Move Forward After the Affair
- Avoid making major decisions. It’s easy in the heat of the moment to say things you don’t mean and to make decisions based on emotion. Once your emotions settle (which might take a while), then you can begin making decisions on how you need to proceed.
- Feel your feelings. – You will be feeling a lot of emotions that look a lot like the grief process. Allow yourself time and space to feel these emotions, without judgment. Don’t try to stop them or discount them, just feel them and know that like an ocean wave, they will ebb. Don’t be surprised if it feels like a roller coaster each day–with really high moments and very low ones.
- Make an appointment with your doctor. – If your partner had a sexual affair, you should get tested for sexually transmitted diseases through your primary care doctor or OB/GYN. Also, you can get a check-up and advice on maintaining your emotional and physical health as you walk through this trying time.
- Maintain good nutrition. – There are usually two reactions to this amount of distress; either eating everything or eating nothing. It is important for your physical and mental health that you eat good, nutrient-rich foods that will help you keep your energy and mental sharpness.
- Get good rest. – Sleep is another way the body heals itself. Now, is the time to make sure you are taking care of your physical self. Get rest when you feel you need it. Sleep is not only good for your physical well-being but is necessary for emotional regulation as well. Set a routine: take a bath, play soft music, dim the lights…create some sort of ritual that signals to your body that it’s time to relax and rest.
- You are not to blame. – There may have been some issues in your relationship, or not but no matter the state of your relationship, this affair is not your fault.
- Decide who to tell, and limit the information. – This goes for children, family, and friends. There is no need to give more details than necessary, especially to your children. They need to know that something is going on (since they can probably tell) but, be careful how you tell them so that they do not get hurt in the process. Reach out to your support system (your friends and family), yet selectively choose what friends and family members to tell. If you decide to reconcile with your partner, be sure those you tell can and will be supportive of your decision.
- Accept that healing is a process. The average recovery time is 6 months to 2 years for couples to recover from infidelity. This is a long journey to recovery, full of ups and downs. However, there is hope. Approximately 75-80% of couples can recover from infidelity if they get help.
- Get help. – Affair recovery can be an isolating, lonely process. There is guilt, shame, and embarrassment surrounding affairs, so most people don’t talk about it. But you are not alone. This is the time to seek professional help. We specialize in infidelity recovery. A therapist at Family Therapy Associates of Jacksonville can help guide you in the direction of healing, understanding, and peace.
Schedule an appointment now, we will be happy to help you work toward healing.