How to Handle Infidelity of Partner: A Guide for Women

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Understanding Infidelity

When we talk about infidelity, we’re referring to an intimate or sexual relationship outside of the primary relationship, explains licensed psychotherapist Allison Abrams. Most cheating involves an element of secrecy, as the person having the affair keeps their relationship with the other person a private matter, she adds. “Often, the person who has been cheated on is the last to know because the partner having the affair has worked hard to keep the relationship hidden.

Recognizing the Signs of Infidelity

While the signs of infidelity may be different in men and women, there are some common “tells” that may indicate infidelity. For example, sometimes a cheating person will begin to make more of an effort in their appearance, and this can often be a sign that they’re having an affair. Additionally, a sudden change in the way a person looks or dresses may indicate that someone is getting attention from a potential new love interest. Similarly, if a man has a very public display of something like a “mid-life crisis,” this can often be a sign that he is having an affair. On the other hand, rarely is infidelity in a woman “tolerated” in society, and as such, these public displays of things like buying a sports car tend to be lower. Also, a change in behavior – such as paying less attention to a partner or not wanting to spend time with them – can be a sign of infidelity. However, it is important to remember that these signs might be a reflection of things like work stress or other life factors and do not necessarily indicate cheating.

Understanding the Reasons Behind Infidelity

Infidelity is never going to be an isolated event, and it’ll be important to learn about how each partner in the relationship understands the other partner so that this doesn’t happen in the future. When you understand what exactly constitutes infidelity and why people are unfaithful in a relationship, it could give a better understanding of how to engage in a meaningful discussion of ‘everyday infidelities’. The potential reasons for those everyday infidelities might include interdependency, insecurity, duty, ambivalence, eroticism, and revenge. Although there are many factors that result in a partner’s decision to have an affair, like individual history, personality, social background, and the current conflict between the relationship, etc., the above factors can give us another way to think about the underlying problems of the infidelity – what is missing in the relationship and why it’s so. And this knowledge also helps when it comes to rebuilding trust, dealing with jealousy, feeling the deepest level of loneliness, and the fear of losing someone you love.

Coping with the Emotional Impact of Infidelity

Wallowing in self-pity or lashing out will not provide a suitable resolution for the emotional disturbance caused by the infidelity of a partner. It can be easy and tempting to blame outside factors such as the attraction of a third party or your partner’s ‘bad behavior’, however, it is important to remember that we are all in control of our own emotions and our actions. This does not mean that you should ignore your own needs and feelings. It simply implies that a woman should always bear in mind that no one can hurt her emotionally without her consent or participation. The situation may seem urgent and the need to make a decision about your future may feel pressing, however, remember that understanding and coping emotionally with infidelity takes time. Acknowledging and seeking to rectify your own feelings is the first step in rebuilding not only your shattered self-esteem but also the stable emotional base from which you can start to understand and deal with your partner’s behavior. As life is long and complex, it is often difficult to know what the ‘right’ choice is to make. Every person is different and only you can understand what feels right for you: whether you want to make a go at rebuilding the relationship, or if you feel that the infidelity has caused damage to your self-esteem that is irreparable. If you simply cannot find a way to acknowledge and manage the emotional impact and build a way forward that suits both of you, ending the relationship with dignity and respect to each other may be the only viable solution.

Communicating and Seeking Support

This is especially useful if you ultimately decide to separate. “At this point, you might find yourself one step away from doing something unfaithful.” It can be difficult, but take your time to properly articulate your feelings and expectations towards the relationship when expressing these to your partner. Also, try not to use your children as emotional leverage; having them witness these manipulations and power struggles will have detrimental effects on their own relationships in the future. Instead, communicate with the intent to fix the issues within the relationship, not to win the battle. “Remember, it’s a big step to move past your partner’s infidelity,” Shoulberg says. “Baby steps are better than no steps. Be patient with yourself.” And with time, honest communication, and self-reflection, you’ll be able to make that transformation. We hope these tips provide guidance on how you might begin sharing and getting support for your own unique experience with infidelity. Remember that no matter how alone you might feel, millions of other people have lived through similar circumstances and the overwhelming majority of them have had the capacity to heal and learn something about themselves. We know that generic support blogs aren’t tailored to your specific relationship problems, so feel free to reach out to one of our licensed online relationship therapists at BetterHelp for personalized one-on-one guidance.

Open and Honest Communication with Your Partner

To deal with infidelity, open and honest communication is crucial. Without it, in a relationship, there can be no progress and most probably the relationship will come to an end. It is therefore important to talk to each other and in this case, the partner who has been cheating should first admit his or her wrongdoing before the two of you can chart a way forward. In most cases, the cheating partner may not be willing at the start but this should not deter you from discussing the issue. The best approach to take is to choose a tranquil time and talk to the partner in a rational and calm manner. If the partner becomes too defensive and the discussion deteriorates into a fight, it is good to adjourn and look for another appropriate time. Initiating a dialogue about infidelity is a tough process and feelings of intense hurt and betrayal can impede healing. There are chances that the dialogue may quickly deteriorate into a disaster. However, it is important to recognize and accept the fact that no matter how long the healing process may take, progress cannot be made unless both of you engage in a rational and sincere dialogue. Well, you need to create an enabling environment and always remind your partner that you truly want to be open to his or her dialogue. In the course of the discussion, ensure that each one of you listens to the other carefully and no one should interrupt when the other one is talking. It is always good to remember that the first discussion may be very painful and it may not necessarily resolve all the issues. There are high chances that many more discussions will be required for both of you to examine the underlying reasons and come up with a solution on how to proceed. Cooperation is key and if at all a breakthrough is to be achieved, dialogue must be productive.

Seeking Professional Counseling or Therapy

Seeking professional counseling or therapy from a licensed practitioner is a good strategy to manage the emotional impact after an infidelity event. A therapist can guide the affected individual to process and understand the range of complicated and distressing emotions that she might go through. For example, a therapist can help her to explore both the initial feelings of shock and dismay following the revelation, the ups and downs in the weeks or months that follow, and to start to make strides. Also, a therapist can help her and her partner to find the root of the problem. What she will have to talk about in the therapy can vary depending on the nature and circumstances of the infidelity. For example, she can spend time in the therapy talking about the infidelity itself and what it means for her as well as her relationship, or she might focus on the relationship more generally, trying to strengthen the current problems that might underlie the affair. The affected individual can seek for an individual therapy or a couple therapy. Individual therapy can be more focused on the complex emotions of the individual. On the other hand, couple therapy involves talking with partner that helps them both to understand each other’s needs and viewpoint. In short, talking to a professional could be a good way to start on the difficult problem of overcoming the devastation of infidelity and begin to offer some hope for the future. Also, a therapist can help you and your spouse facilitate a healthy, honest discourse that is focused on a positive future and is supportive of growth and the resolution of relationship challenges. It is important to select a therapist specialized in romantic relationship issues or infidelity issues. A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed psychologists or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) are all professionals in the mental health industry that can provide psychotherapy and counseling that are specifically designed to help couples and individuals. Also, her therapist and the therapy are to be kept completely confidential. This will provide a safe space in the therapy process and the affected person can be completely honest with her therapist without fear of retribution or of others knowing her feelings and issues. Finally, she might find her family and friends may support her at every stage. However, there is no replacement for an experienced, compassionate and knowledgeable therapist when it comes to the process of moving beyond infidelity.

Building a Support Network of Friends and Family

The betrayed women in the suburban projects, I believe, have been suffering from the lack of confidence and become dependent after getting married. Throughout many years, they have been doubting themselves, neglecting their ability, and finally turning themselves into some toys that could be controlled by their partners. There are several ways for these women to heal and build up the confidence, which is really important, in order to get rid of the shadow from infidelity. First of all, having an open process of healing in a safe society is very crucial. A wide support network is not only letting women express their feelings, but also facilitating them to find out the different voice and self-discovery. By sharing experiences and support from each other, women end up with a better reflection as a learning process. According to Janoff-Bulman (1992), truly listening and understanding the enduring drawback to tragedy is very important for recovery. In fact, friends and peers can also provide such a caring and understanding listening ear. With support, not only the day-to-day stress and hardship can be minimized and diminishing helplessness, the sense of isolation and alienation can also be reduced. Secondly, measures should be put in place to accelerate the process in group counseling. My research suggests that group counseling provides a more lasting and richer approach to aiding recovery among infidelity, which could be seen as replacing personal and interpersonal growth in a communal context. It is beneficial for clients to have a chance for accessing multiple learning and solutions, which tends to sustain and support their ongoing recovery. Tessel and Cyr (2004) come to the same conclusions that, by creating a focus on social support, promoting talk and reducing isolation, counseling improvements are definitely expected. This seems particularly effective in breaking the collusion and secrecy around the extramarital affair. With the shame of infidelity being reduced and the respect for autonomy enhanced, autonomy and true independence can be restored to the victimized party.

Joining Support Groups or Online Communities

Another way to deal with the pain and devastation of infidelity is to join a support group, which can be found in many communities. Speaking and interacting with other women who have been through the same thing is very helpful. Support groups have been known to help people feel less alone and more hopeful because it provides an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, thus helping one another. Women may have the opportunity to share their own experiences or just listen to others. There are many online forums and communities set up for women who are going through a similar experience such as infidelity in marriage or long-term relationships. Unlike support groups, these online forums are accessible from anywhere in the world so members will be able to connect and help each other out 24/7. Not only will you be able to communicate with women who are going through infidelity, but some popular forums often have blogs by women who have been through similar situations and how they got through it, articles on surviving infidelity, and the chance to share and read real-life survival stories.

Healing and Rebuilding Trust

How to Handle Infidelity of Partner: A Guide for Women

The healing process may differ for everyone, and it is important to be patient with yourself and allow time to fully heal from the pain of infidelity. It is common to feel a wide range of different emotions after being the victim of infidelity, such as anger, sadness, betrayal, loss of trust, and confusion. Remember to prioritize self-care and allow yourself to feel and process these emotions. For example, engage in activities that you enjoy and find fulfilling, such as taking a walk in nature, reading a good book, spending time with a beloved pet, or trying out a new hobby. Many women find it helpful to also express their feelings in a concrete way, such as through journaling, painting, or playing music. Not only does this allow for an emotional release, but it can also help cultivate a sense of empowerment and control. Additionally, it is important to avoid blame and focus on forgiveness, as it will help not only yourself heal, but also lay a foundation for the overall rebuilding of the relationship. However, forgiveness is a process and it is alright to not find it in yourself to fully forgive right away. As mentioned before, the healing process takes time and patience.

Taking Time to Heal and Process Your Emotions

It can be easy to want to cover up and hide the pain after discovering a partner’s infidelity. However, trying to avoid or mask the pain with too much activity or too many quick fixes is not helpful, and it may even be harmful. It is important to allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise when facing infidelity, for example, to experience sadness if you need to mourn the loss of the idea of a perfect relationship or to experience anger if you need to assert and protect your sense of self-worth. Creating healthy ways to express and release emotions is also key to long-term healing and may include talking to friends and family, engaging in exercise or writing in a journal. In many ways, forgiveness is more about freeing yourself than it is about releasing the person who has done you wrong from responsibility. First of all, forgiveness requires that you come to terms with the reality of what has happened. Reconciliation is a separate and distinct issue. No one, not even your most trusted friend, can tell you what the right thing for you to do in your life is or what the specific path you should follow. However, most people do find that sharing and discussing common experiences is very helpful and it can be an important aid in the resolution of grief.

Setting Boundaries and Reestablishing Trust

After the infidelity of your partner, the first priority that you have in your mind is to put an end to the practice of the extramarital affair. In this regard, the foremost thing that you need to do is to establish proper boundaries. You should tell your partner that the extramarital affair is not acceptable and you are not going to tolerate it anymore. In case, your partner is not cooperating with you to end the extramarital affair, you can take help from the family members or professional counselors to help you deal with the infidelity of your partner. Secondly, in order to stop an extramarital affair, it is very much necessary to start building up trust with your partner. If the trust level is already very low due to certain reasons, then it is time to start working with a vision of a better future. Remember that in a healthy relationship, trust builds up slowly and it is not a matter of the night. In this regard, one of the most important suggestions is to start discussing the matter with your partner openly and try to minimize the communication gap that exists between both of you. Because of the open relationship and the comfort level with each other, it becomes very easy for the life partners to avoid indulging in extramarital affairs. It is a well-known fact that the elements of dishonesty and cheating in a relationship generate a lack of interest and passion among life partners. In the case of an extramarital affair, this fact becomes stronger because the person who is involved in the extramarital affair becomes so absorbed in that illegal relationship that he or she starts ignoring the family matters and the emotions and feelings of the spouse.

Rebuilding Intimacy and Connection in the Relationship

Close the distance between yourselves. Physical contacts help to reduce insecurity. Embrace your partner more frequently, hold your partner’s hand while walking on the street… these mean a lot. But remember, it must come from the bottom of your heart. A fake move can only bring the opposite result.

Show your care to your partner. It is also a way to reassure your partner has chosen the right person to fall in love with. If necessary, remind yourself to do something sweet for your partner at least once every few days. Like leaving a sweet message for your partner before he/she goes to work in the morning.

If necessary, try to seek relationship counseling. It is not a shameful thing or something only people with mental disorders do, it is a new trend to seek professional advice on your daily life matters.

Find any activities or common interests to re-tighten your relationship, to bring both of you closer, if you have not found one till now.

Have you ever been honest with your partner? If, before the discovery of the infidelity, both you and your partner are not honest with each other, maybe it is time to start from yourself. Do not hide anything from your partner, anything means anything.

It is understandable if you need to know about your partner’s daily schedule. But make sure you are anonymous, because if your partner discovers that you are checking every step of him/her, you are actually blowing the situation up.

Forgiving and Moving Forward

If you and your partner have been able to rebuild the trust in your relationship and you are both serious about moving on together, then rebuilding the levels of trust emotionally and physically can mean that you both forgive and put the affair in the past. Forgiveness is difficult but we all have the capacity to forgive. It is really important to try and start afresh and not throw the affair back at your partner, particularly when you have rows or if you have had a major disagreement about something. Start doing activities together which are fun and which you can both enjoy. As well as having fun with your partner, it is essential to have some fun on your own. When you are overflowing with good experiences, it makes it easier to forget about the affair and move on with life. Good times tend to block out the bad. Try to organize doing things that you want to do with your partner. This helps to put variety into your life so you can strengthen the relationship and forget about the affair. Use what happened as a learning opportunity and try to develop the relationship from the experience. Counseling will offer support and help to put dynamics in place in the relationship that prevent infidelity in the future. Engaging in honest self-help will offer the strength to tackle issues and make positive changes. At Marriage Care we believe that your relationship will benefit greatly through making new adjustments and learning through new experiences.

Self-Care and Personal Growth

So, as you continue to heal and let go of the toxic situation that you had been in before, it’s important to prioritize your own emotional well-being. And this means getting in the habit of practicing self-care regularly. Self-care refers to anything that we do to maintain or improve our own health and well-being. It could be anything from regular exercise, healthy eating, staying hydrated, good sleep hygiene, and spending time with loved ones, practicing meditation or relaxation strategies, getting out in nature, or just spending some quiet time alone to reflect. It’s so important to pay attention to your own needs and nurture your relationship with yourself. You’ll create a positive ripple effect in other areas of your life. You also need to work on rebuilding the psychological and emotional facets of your life, and one way of doing this is by finding things that make you happy and participating in activities that are fulfilling. For example, I took up golf – I have absolutely zero hand-eye coordination, so I’m never going to be any good at it. But it’s just great fun – it’s a chance to be with friends, to have a good chat and to laugh, and so in the process of doing – and then there I am experiencing all of these positive emotions. So, you do something that brings you joy and just the word of it is absolutely with you. Also, it’s important to recognize those things in our life that challenge our sense of inner strength and nurture your personal growth. This journey of self-reflection, growth, and healing is not a linear process. You might not even notice the changes day to day, but if you make a concerted effort to put in place good habits and to try and pursue personal growth, then in time you’ll be able to reflect back and see how far you’ve come. Maybe at first, your friends and family were only able to see you as a victim of infidelity, but now you’re in a position where people look at you and go, ‘You know what, you’re a survivor.’ And as the new and improved you begins to shine through, your emotional and physical well-being will start to thrive – day by day, little bit by little bit. And you will realize that you are literally the master of your own happiness.

Prioritizing Self-Care and Emotional Well-being

Additionally, the practices of mindfulness and self-discovery are effective means of quieting the mind and restoring a sense of balance and tranquility to one’s emotional state. Cultivating mindfulness, which involves focusing one’s attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment, is a proven way to calm inner emotional turmoil and distress. A mind that is continually racing and caught up in the whirlwind of negative thoughts prevents the healing of emotional pain and creates further negative energy. In essence, by having a greater connection to oneself and an understanding of the inner workings of the mind and emotions, it is possible to begin to develop a more compassionate and positive perspective of life.

Research shows that physical exercise can actually help to relieve the symptoms of depression and can leave a person with an improved mood, increased energy levels, and a better sense of well-being. It also provides a healthy way to release and manage stress in a person’s life. Likewise, when the body is properly fueled and receiving the right nutrients, this can also help to lift mood and improve emotional health. Eating a well-balanced diet on a regular basis can combat feelings of fatigue and can increase a person’s energy levels throughout the day.

Providing your body, mind, and soul with self-nourishing activities can help to restore the sense of balance in life. It is important to take steps to maintain your sense of well-being, despite the deep hurt that has been caused. This can be achieved through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and incorporating practices that generate a sense of relaxation and calm. These practices can include regular exercise, eating healthily, self-discovery, and mindfulness.

Another critical element in healing and recovering from infidelity involves prioritizing self-care and emotional well-being. Infidelity has a way of chipping away at one’s self-worth, and it is not uncommon for women who have been cheated on to suffer from feelings of low self-esteem and self-doubt. In addition, the intense emotional distress of infidelity can sometimes lead to problems with eating, sleeping, and worsen existing mood disorders. Therefore, it becomes very important for women to care for themselves, both physically and emotionally, during this difficult time.

Engaging in Activities that Bring Joy and Empowerment

Take some time to think about the things that you used to enjoy and things that you may have always wanted to do. Make a list of things that you could do to make yourself happy and start ticking them off. As time goes on, you will realize that the list will grow with ideas. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to do something – like rock climbing, for example – now is the perfect time to do it. Learning something new will help to occupy your mind and give you a great sense of achievement. Also, you will get the chance to meet new people and create even more happy memories along the way. Sometimes when people are cheated on, they have a lack of self-worth and can actually blame themselves for their partner’s behavior. It’s important to remind yourself of the positive attributes that you have and demonstrate it to yourself by engaging in self-love. Take a step back and think about what you love about yourself – are you proud of what you have done in your life, what feature you pride or is it quite simply being always there for other people. Treat yourself to something positive – by engaging in self-love, you will gain a real consciousness and appreciation for your strengths. This will help you to uncover even more reasons to love who you are.

Exploring Personal Growth and Self-Reflection

From a broader perspective, infidelity can be a powerful catalyst for appraisal and growth in your personal and spiritual life. It can be a transformational journey to a more authentic self, a better self. However, personal growth is not automatic. You will need to make a conscious effort to evolve and grow. This is an important step, not only to heal from the wounds caused by infidelity, but also to prevent that such event will happen again. People who undertake personal growth will question their life values and beliefs. They will, at some point, be uncomfortable about their current lifestyles or certain relationships with others. This self-reflection will lead to an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses. In the process of self-discovery, they will gain more self-confidence and perception, become wiser, and change their lives to reach bigger and more rewarding goals. The first step of personal growth is to start a journal. A journal is the place for you to express your innermost thoughts and feelings, be it anger, doubts, fear, or sorrow. It is a safe place for you to be honest with yourself. When you start to see the reasons why you act or feel in some way from your journal writing, you have taken the first key in your journey of personal growth. Another very powerful tool for self-discovery is meditation. Meditation fosters awareness. It is among the most potent tools for personal and spiritual growth. When you meditate, you concentrate your attention with the intention of dismissing the stream of thoughts that are crowding your mind and causing stress. Try to find somewhere calming and tranquil to sit for at least half an hour and contemplate in total silence. Meditation has been found to be linked with an increase in grey matter in the brain. This would be responsible for higher mental functions such as decision making and problem-solving. Also, it has been found to reduce the feeling of loneliness and increase emotional well-being.

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