When asked what they would do if their man cheated, most women will emphatically say that being cheated on is something that they will definitely not tolerate. The two common deal breakers for many women are cheating and beating. Many women will put up with a man’s shortcomings and be willing to work through the ups and downs of the relationship but when it comes to cheating and physical violence, most women will say that it is their deal breaker.
Many people say what they will do when they are faced with a situation, like finding out they have been cheated on, but when it comes down to it, many people surprise themselves with how they handle it.
Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., S*x and relationship expert, psychotherapist and author, outlines three distinct phases of recovery from an affair: the crisis phase, the understanding (or insight) phase, and the vision phase.
The Crisis Phase
The first phase of affair recovery, the crisis phase, happens when an affair is disclosed or discovered. The initial shock and deep betrayal can rock your confidence, and make you feel like everything you have ever known is collapsing. It is important in this phase of the recovery after an affair to recognize that this is a phase — you will get through this. This really difficult time will pass, and you will move into another stage.
Don’t make any decisions now about what to do with your relationship. Take care of yourself and your family and hold onto those major decisions for a while. When the chaos has slowed down enough for you to breathe and look around, you may start to think more about whether or not you want to stay together and start a new monogamy.
Initially after infidelity, it can be difficult for you to envision a new, shared future. The one person you turned to in the past for support when you were in pain is now the person causing you pain. It can seem as if there’s no one to turn to. You may now think of your relationship as a liability instead of your strength. You may feel lonely and confused. You may long for the partner who always served as the support system in your life, and that time of innocence before you discovered the affair.
There is a time lapse in the grief process. The person who had the affair has known about the infidelity ever since it began. If you are just now discovering the affair, you are at a totally different point in the process than your partner is. You have only begun to catch up.
The Role of Grief
A grieving process is normal after an affair. As you move through the grieving process, many emotions will emerge, possibly including anger, fear, denial, and eventually acceptance. You can feel as if you are grieving a death, and in many ways, you are. You are grieving the old vision of your marriage or relationship. This is true whether you decide to stay together or move on.
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