Do's and don'ts when you've been cheated on

Dr Pam Spurr
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Do's and don'ts when you discover an affair
Do allow yourself to vent your anger appropriately - you've been betrayed so you're allowed to yell and carry on.
Dr Pam Spurr
Relationship expert Dr. Pam Spurr takes you through how to deal with finding out your man has been having an affair.

Relationship research shows 60 percent of couples stay together after an affair so just what should you do when you discover one? It's a painful time when you're engulfed in a whirlwind of emotions but it's crucial you make the right decisions.

Here are the 10 do's and don'ts to get you through:

Don't make rash decisions — you may feel like kicking your cheating partner into touch but give yourself a couple days to calm down before making decisions you might regret later. This is particularly true if you have young children - it's terribly confusing if one minute their parent is kicked out and a few days later they're allowed back home.

Don't take revenge without careful thought — your immediate impulse might be to cut up his clothes or trash his car but this type or revenge only lands you in trouble. Write down what you feel like doing to hurt them and look at your plans 24 hours later. If you're still tempted to take this type of revenge, ring a trusted friend who normally has good judgment. Tell them what you want to do and they'll talk you out of it.

Do you let trusted family and friends know — it feels horribly humiliating to have been cheated on and many people hide it from friends and family. But the last thing you need is to struggle alone with such massive heartache and big decisions. They're not going to judge you badly because you've been cheated on!

Do you give yourself "time out" — so you're resisting kicking that cheating partner out (at least for the time being ) but that doesn't mean you don't deserve some time out where you don't have to face them. Let them know when you just can't handle being around them — they should respect your need and go out for the afternoon or evening.

Do allow yourself to vent your anger appropriately — you've been betrayed so you're allowed to yell and carry on. Sometimes the love-cheat finds the amount of rage directed at them quite shocking. Obviously they weren't thinking this far ahead and didn't expect to get caught. Get angry but if you think there's any chance you'll want to work things out let them know you need to let rip like this — but are optimistic rational talking will come later.

Do take charge of how much "information" you want to hear — some people want to know every gory detail of an affair and others want to know the bare minimum. Think carefully about how you'll respond to hearing what might end up too much information. Your cheating partner needs to respect your wishes for how much you want to know. Do take a day or two before sitting down to this particular conversation.

Do what's best for you — everyone from your best friend to your mum will have a view on infidelity — some will think you should never take a partner back and others think they deserve a second chance. By all means listen to their thoughts but ultimately this is your life and your decision.

Do explore what went wrong — even if you don't take back your cheating partner for your own good you should explore what happened. Discuss what went wrong when you're ready as it'll help you move on with less emotional baggage. And if you stay together this understanding will form a stronger basis for the new phase in your relationship.

Do be aware of the emotional roller-coaster — many are taken aback by how long their anger and hurt stays with them. These are powerful emotions that won't disappear overnight. Be prepared for them to hit you like a 10-ton-truck often at unexpected times. Deal with them as they arise on a day-by-day basis rather than sweeping them under the carpet.

Do set boundaries on the affair — finally if you're going to stay together you must resist throwing the affair into every argument. Let's say down the line you're arguing over the household budget — don't throw the affair into the mix. Deal with one issue at a time and if you're finding the pain/anger from the affair keeps resurfacing at stressful moments try couples counselling — it may be the solution.


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