It is always assumed that when infidelity has been discovered, it is the spouse of the person who cheated, who is deeply and badly affected. In reality, it is both who have been affected by this act at some level. Coming to terms with infidelity is definitely not as easy as everyone makes it sound. You may be given all kinds of advice, but at the end of it all, you have to and will do only what your heart tells you. If you think your spouse deserves another chance, give it to her/him. It may just work out. On the other hand, if you think that you didn't deserve this after giving your best to the relationship, it's probably time to let go. Not many of you may accept this, but sometimes the reason for infidelity is the void caused by one's partner. If a husband does not give enough time to his wife, it is likely that she will seek this love and time elsewhere, and vice versa. In some cases, it may be the woman who is caught up with the kids and is unable to fulfill her husband's desires, which is when he tends to look for someone (perhaps sub-concsiously) who will give him the attention he desires. Sometimes, it is just plain temptation, and the need to experience something new, to have some kind of excitement in life, that leads to an individual engaging in an affair with someone else, in spite of having a committed partner.
Infidelity does not only include adultery. It also includes emotional infidelity, where there is everything but sexual intimacy - where you gel with another person, confide in her/him, exchange texts and emails, and talk to more than you talk to your spouse. It also includes online infidelity, where a person may spend a large amount of time talking to someone (s)he has met online, more than (s)he does with his partner.
Whatever the reason, infidelity is never justifiable. Learning about the fact that your spouse has found what (s)he didn't have in the marriage can cause immense anger, shock, and grief. This tumultuous wave of emotions can bog you down, making you want to vent them out in different ways such as yelling, throwing things around, and even taking revenge. Some of you may just be so emotionally affected that it may lead you into depression, sadness, or a mere abyss from where you see no way out. Some of you may even go into denial and not acknowledge the fact that something like this ever happened. However, denial is not an option, and you have to get down to dealing with infidelity in your marriage.
Are you Sure about the Infidelity?
Sometimes, it is plain suspicion that leads one spouse to believe that the other is engaging in an extramarital affair. Suspicion without proof can be as devastating as the event of infidelity itself. So, you have to be sure that your spouse has in fact been unfaithful to you, whether for a short time, or for a long period of time. Once you have figured all those signs, as painful as it may be, it will be easier to confront your spouse.
Are you Aware of the Reason for Infidelity?
Understanding why all this happened is extremely important when trying to survive infidelity. Again, the blame game will easily show up in this scenario, where your spouse may hold you responsible for everything. Whatever the accusation, you will have to take out some time and introspect, to see if you were indeed responsible in any way. This may not always be the case, but unless you don't find out the real reason and put things in perspective, you will never know.
Are you Ready to Accept Reality?
Here comes the most difficult part. Even after knowing everything, it is likely that you will want to be in denial of the entire situation. You may not be ready to believe that something like this has actually happened, that your marriage may be falling apart, and that somewhere, both of you are responsible for this. You can take your time, but eventually you have to come to terms with the reality of the situation. Living in denial will just cause more grief.
Are you Ready to Confront Your Spouse?
Yes, getting angry and sobbing your heart out is natural, and is going to happen. No one is going to tell you not to do it. However, once you have gotten over this phase and think you can meet your spouse in the eye, confront her/him about the affair. It is likely that you may want to make it a blame game, and sound like you are the one who has been most affected. However, it is a fact that the calmer you are, the easier it will be for your spouse to speak the truth. The more intensely you react, the greater are the chances of more lies being spoken. This is another way you will be able to find out why (s)he went outside the marriage to seek comfort/happiness/love.
Can you Speak to your Spouse without Mentioning the 'Other' Man/Woman?
As a spouse who has been cheated on, you may have a strong desire to confront the other person in the so-called relationship and blame him/her for the entire thing. You need to however, acknowledge the fact that your spouse was in it too, and if (s)he wanted to stop it, it could have been stopped. Trying to accuse the outsider entirely for the situation is not a feasible option. While on the subject, ensure that you avoid bringing up that other person in conversation all the time. It is easy to make jibes at your spouse at every opportunity you get. While it may satisfy your desire for vengeance, it will just distance both of you further.
Would you Consider Giving your Marriage another Chance?
This step really depends on the reason for infidelity. If your partner indulged willingly, knowingly, and chooses to keep it that way, you are probably left without an option. On the other hand, if your spouse does seek another chance and asks for forgiveness, maybe you could give the entire relationship another chance. However, at a time like this, you have to go with your gut feeling. Do you really want to give her/him another chance? Sometimes when an individual has been cheated on, all they can do is imagine their spouse with the other person. This is only natural, and only if you get over such thoughts will you be able to reconsider starting over your relationship. This may mean having to start from scratch, and rebuilding the trust, faith, and commitment in the relationship. Do you think it is worth it? Don't be forced to do it just for the sake of your children. Children who grow up in the confines of a loveless marriage often develop similar distrustful feelings about others. Follow your heart, and make your decision.
Again, dealing with infidelity in marriage can never be as easy as everyone makes it sound. There may be a lot of 'logical' approaches to dealing with it, but a marriage is more emotional than logical. As practical as you are expected to be, it is usually your heart that takes the decisions for you. First, the shock of your spouse cheating on you hits you; and the emotional effects thereafter, can lead you to breaking down. However, you also know that you have no alternative but to pick up the pieces of your life and move on. It is up to you: do you want to do this with your spouse by giving her/him another chance, or do you want to move on to beginning a whole new chapter of your life?