Dealing with infidelity is difficult.
And if you make any of the following 6 mistakes, your chances of recovering from infidelity are next to impossible! Learn what these infidelity recovery mistakes are. Keep reading…
Surviving infidelity: The 6 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid
1. Quickly making big decisions
You found out your husband, wife or partner has been cheating on you. You are overwhelmed with emotions that are pulling you in all directions. You are confused, devastated and angry.
After an affair is revealed is the worst time to make life-changing decisions.
Your first impulse after you find out about your partner’s infidelity might be to:
- Also have an affair
- Tell your cheating partner to leave and never come back
- Speak with a lawyer about divorce
- Change the locks to your house
- Send the children to live with your parents
These actions or any other type of extreme behavior, are only going to confuse you and make dealing with the real issues more difficult. If you do decide to reconcile, any extreme behavior on your part will make recovering from infidelity more difficult or perhaps even impossible.
Surviving infidelity requires time and patience. Wait a few days until things settle down and you can think clearly before you make any important decisions. Doing so is in your best interest and in the best interest of your family.
2. Telling others
It is normal and understandable upon discovering that your partner has been cheating that you want to tell others. You may not want to suffer alone, or you want to punish your partner by embarrassing him or her, or you desperately feel you need support.
There are so many unknowns facing you now and you don’t want to eliminate your options by speaking with others and getting others involved.
Immediately after the affair is discovered, you do not know what will happen next. You do not know if you’ll stay together or get divorced. You do not know whether you’ll end up loving or hating each other. You do not know if your partner will end the relationship with the paramour.
If others know about the affair, it will make dealing with the infidelity more complicated. If the lover in the affair was extended family member, it is even more complex. Learn how to survive infidelity when it occurs with a relative.
For example, after the affair is revealed to you, if you immediately tell your parents what your husband, wife, or partner has done, they may respond with hate and hostility. They may decide, regardless of what happens in the future, to never forgive your husband, wife or partner.
Imagine six months or a year from now that you and your partner are recovering from infidelity. Your commitment to each other is strong and you have grown close to one another again. However, given your parents’ negative attitude toward your husband, wife, or partner family events with everyone together is now impossible.
Your partner is embarrassed to face your parents so he or she avoids them. Such a situation is certainly bad for everyone and difficult to fix.
Dealing with infidelity will be much easier when it is done with planning and consideration of the future.
After a period of time has passed, you will have a sense of what has happened and in what direction you’re headed. This is the point to carefully decide who to tell and what to say.
If you’ve arrived at the decision together with your partner that he or she is going to end the philandering and the two of your are going to begin recovering from infidelity, it is probably best to agree together who should be told, what they should be told, and what is the purposes of telling them.
Successfully surviving infidelity requires that you plan what you are going to say to your:
The exception would be to speak with a caring mental health professional or your family doctor. Such individuals are bound by ethical codes that require confidentiality and whatever you say will be held in confidence and your privacy is assured.
3. Attacking the paramour
After an affair is discovered, it’s okay to hate the paramour, the outside lover. He or she is a threat to the well-being of every member of your family.
However, attacking the paramour may result in illegal behavior or retaliatory attacks from him or her. None of this is good or helpful in your situation and will make recovering from infidelity more difficult.
If there is going to be reconciliation, the very first thing your partner needs to do is take the position that he or she is 100% responsible for committing this act of betrayal.
Yes, there are certainly extenuating circumstances that need to be considered if the two of you are going to reconcile such as outstanding problems in the marriage.
However, now is not the time to think about this. At this point dealing with infidelity requires focusing on the betrayal and nothing else.
Your partner must accept 100% responsibility for what has happened. If he or she is unwilling to do this, you can never be assured that it will not happen again. And if this is the case, you have to think very carefully if you want to even attempt to reconcile and stay together. Staying with a serial philanderer is like building a home on sand – your relationship problems and trauma will never end!
If you need to ‘blame’ someone, then direct your hostile feelings at your partner who cheated. Hold your cheating partner responsible—blame him or her. NO ONE ELSE!
The only way you can be assured that your partner will not do this again, is if there is an agreement that he or she has full control over what he or she does and that he or she is not controlled by what the outside lover does!
If you attack the outside lover and you blame him or her, you are telling your partner that it is not his or her fault—it is the fault of the ‘other’ person… and you don’t want to do that because then you will never be safe from future infidelity! You don’t want to hand your partner excuses for behaving badly now or in the future.
4. Talking about the affair in the wrong way
If you and your partner are going to reconcile after the affair and remain together, you must talk about the affair and what happened. You must have many conversations about it even when it is difficult and uncomfortable.
Surviving infidelity success requires avoiding the trap of saying the wrong things that will only make matters worse.
What not to say when talking about the affair:
- That you are to blame for the betrayal.
- That the paramour is to blame.
- That is impossible for your partner to end his or her relationship with the outside person.
- That your cheating partner must hate the outside person.
- Don’t make any types of threats.
For example, you are going to punish your partner for betraying you, you are going to commit adultery, you are going hurt yourself (unless it is actually true and you are seeking help), that you will tell the world what your cheating partner has done, or you are going to squander all the family money.
Surviving infidelity requires talking about the affair. Recovering from infidelity requires carefully measuring not just what ‘to say,’ but also what ‘not to say.’
5. Blaming yourself
You are the victim. Your partner has betrayed you. It is not your fault. After the affair has been discovered, if your partner does try to blame you, do not accept his or her assertions. This is not to say that you have been perfect in your in your marriage—no one is perfect. However, your ‘mistakes’ are not an excuse for your partner to cheat and destroy the family.
Protect your dignity. “IT IS NOT MY FAULT MY PARTNER BETRAYED ME.” Repeat this over and over again in your mind. Make it your
6. Not getting help after an affair
When your marriage is afflicted with infidelity, it’s like a body infected with cancer. No one in their right-mind would consider dealing with cancer without help. A life-threatening disease can only properly be treated by trained experts. The same is true with infidelity because it threatens your marriage, you need trained experts to help you.
I would love to tell you that you can do this on your own. And, there may be exceptions and some people may solve their marriage problems on their own. However, the overwhelming majority of couples who try to patch their broken relationship without professional do not know how to proceed and the relationship does not properly heal and they suffer greatly!
If you don’t get the proper professional help and you do remain together, it is like setting your own broken bone. The two bones pieces may come-together, but they won’t be properly aligned and you will continue to suffer. The same is true for your marriage.
If you are going to heal properly, you need help from a caring and trained relationship expert. Well-meaning friends, lawyers and clergy, although they can be supportive, do not have the knowledge or experience to lead you in your efforts to recover from infidelity.
You can begin your search for help at the websites listed below to get names of properly trained and certified therapists who will understand what you’re going through and how best to help you and your partner in your surviving infidelity journey.
- The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- The Canadian Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Get the tools you need to survive infidelity:
About the author
Abe Kass, MA, RSW, RMFT, CCHT., is a Registered Social Worker, Registered Couple and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and award-winning Educator. He has a busy clinical practice in Toronto, Canada and throughout the world using the phone or Zoom.
After many years of clinical practice and research, Abe concluded that practical solutions requiring a focused effort of no more than a few minutes a day for very specific relationship problems were critically needed. GoSmartLife Publishing House has been created to fill this need.