Infidelity can seem like the ultimate form of betrayal in a relationship. Oftentimes, it completely breaks all the trust even the strongest of relationships can have any any given time. It only takes one act of infidelity to completely break down a marriage, but more often than not, cases of infidelity come from more long-term actions, or extended cheating. If infidelity is a major reason you’re considering divorce, it can be difficult to cope with. Feelings of inadequacy, a lack of trust, and insecurities can all come forward in ways you never thought imaginable. However, the most important thing you can do, or rather, not do, is blame yourself for your partner’s infidelity. It can be far too easy to look at ourselves as a possible source, but the bottom line is this: There is no blame you can place on yourself that would measure up to the cost infidelity brings to a relationship.
If you’re going through a divorce because of infidelity, and find yourself struggling, consider the following helpful tools to get you through.
Your Spouse’s Behavior Is Their Own Choice – Not Yours
One of the most important things to remind yourself of is that your spouse’s infidelity was their doing. Even if your marriage may have been in a rough spot, there is never an excuse when it comes to infidelity, and you have absolutely no control over their actions when it comes to cheating. Don’t place the blame on yourself, and don’t let your spouse place blame on you. Their cheating is a reflection on them – not you.
Find An Exit Plan That Works For Both Of You
Chances are, there will be a lot of negative emotions involved with infidelity, and it can be easy to use anger as fuel for your decisions. It’s important to communicate with your spouse however you can in order to work through the aspects of your relationship. If you both agree on a divorce, or you personally feel as though divorce is the only option, take time to think about your decision before taking immediate action.
First and foremost, you need to forgive yourself if you harbor any guilt. Again, you cannot control the actions of your spouse, and you shouldn’t place blame on yourself. It’s also a good idea to practice forgiveness of your spouse as well, even if it takes a longer period of time to do so. If you’re not able to forgive and eventually ‘let it go,’ you’ll be carrying around a burden you don’t deserve for the rest of your life. If you’re struggling with this forgiveness, it might be a good idea to seek professional counseling that can guide you down that specific path, so you can finally let yourself be ‘free.’
It’s an unfortunate circumstance when infidelity destroys any marriage, but you’re not alone in how you might feel, and you’re certainly not alone in whatever path you choose to take in order to cope with it.
For couples therapy Pasadena, Donna Shanahan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.