If you have recently discovered that your spouse cheated on you, your first thought likely goes straight to divorce. After all, they say that “once a cheater, always a cheater”, right? Not to mention the embarrassment of your friends and family knowing that you’re even thinking of staying with the cheater.
There are so many things to think about when you find out your spouse cheated. The first thing you find out is that your spouse, whom you are supposed to be able to be vulnerable with, and who is supposed to love you above all others is imperfect. The next thing you realize is that in some way you weren’t enough for your spouse.
While that isn’t really true, it’s how you feel. You feel as if you’re going to be sucked into an abyss with all the thoughts and feelings going through your head, including how stupid you feel to have been fooled in such a way.
To get through it, you’ll need to try to get your thoughts controlled in such a way as to make a good choice, in spite of what anyone else is saying to you.
Listen to Your Heart — It might sound silly but your heart and your gut can tell you what you should do. You are the one who knows both sides to the story. Only you and your spouse realize how things got to the point they are at now.
No one else can be inside your relationship like you can. Therefore, you know, deep down whether or not to trust your spouse to stick to their promises.
Listen to Your Head – It may seem contrary to listen to your heart, and your head, but the truth is, you know what’s happening more than anyone. You know if your spouse is being honest. You know what the past of your relationship was like.
You can rationalize your head with your heart to determine what the best course of action is in an intelligent manner. Just because someone cheated once, doesn’t mean they’re any more likely to do it again. If you both work on the issues you need to work on, it’s very unlikely to happen again.
Take Responsibility – Each party must take responsibility for their own actions leading up to and including the infidelity. Before infidelity can happen a serious break down has to occur in the marriage.
Only you know whether or not this is something that existed from the beginning, or something that developed over time. If you can identify some changes you can make, commit to them.
Consider the Facts – More than likely, you know a lot more facts than your friends and family know. His family is hearing his side, and your family is hearing your side. Usually the truth is someplace in between the stories.
When you take the emotion out of it, what are the facts? If the facts are listed in black and white, what advice would you give your best friend regarding the situation?
Consider the Source – It is wise to listen to friends and family but, you have to always consider what they know and what they do not know. Naturally, depending on who is talking they might give advice based only on emotions and fear.
If they only know one side of the story, it will be truly hard for them to give good advice. If either family is bad mouthing one of you, the best course of action is to ask them to stop doing that and instead to offer support.
Focus on Love – If there is any love left between you and your spouse there is a chance to make the marriage work. The best thing you can do is focus on the love you have between you. Just because a mistake happens doesn’t mean the love leaves. If it did, you would not hurt so badly.
Get Counseling –You and your spouse should consider counseling or a life coach to help you get on sound footing. Getting help together and individually is important. You each have issues to work around that are separate from the marriage but that affect the marriage.
For example if one of you has low self-esteem or other personal issues, these can affect a marriage in a big way. Many people who cheat, for example, have low self-image.
When you consider the facts, which are that about 30 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of 2nd marriages, and 73 percent of 3rd marriages (US Census) end in divorce, it becomes clear that you need to work hard to make marriage work, but with each subsequent marriage, your chances get lower and lower.
The best course of action is to work on what you have now. Unless there are factors other than infidelity, such as abuse or addiction, then you owe it to yourself to try to make it work. The truth is, where there is love, there is hope. And hope is never stupid.
The only stupid thing you could do is ignore the love, and run away. If both spouses really want to make the marriage work, you can overcome infidelity and craft a life and a marriage that is worth the times of struggle and strife and that stands the test of time. What is the most frightening thing to you about giving your spouse another chance after infidelity?
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