The holidays predictably bring an onslaught of newly betrayed. Cheaters get careless, affair partners get jealous and demand more time, there is too much to juggle between fantasy life and real life, someone lets the cat out of the bag...first, I'm sorry you find yourself here! Do not for one minute accept any of the blame or responsibility for your cheater's behavior. Grown ups who are unhappy or dissatisfied tell their partner how they are feeling before engaging in an affair. You will go crazy trying to unravel the skein of "why did they do this?". There are no real answers here or valid reasons just excuses and blameshifting. The reality is these people are selfish, entitled and have exceedingly poor impulse control. They do not have the same morals, values, and conscience as you. They have been hiding from you who they really are underneath. Of course they fooled you; you loved them! Their version of love is not the same. It comes from a place of "what is in it for me?" not "what can I do to make my partner feel loved or appreciated?".
What to do now? First, get tested for STDs regardless if they told you they used protection. Are you really going to believe a liar? Next, individual counseling for yourself to help you through this trauma, ascertain your true worth, and decide for yourself what you find to be acceptable/unacceptable in a relationship. No marriage counseling right off the bat, as many cheaters will use this tactic to dupe you into believing they are all-in for repairing the relationship. Many of them in fact learn the right things to say to fool you even more and then take their affair further underground. Some of them will take what you say in counseling when you are hurt and vulnerable and use that against you.
Your cheater should be on their knees beging for forgiveness and showing genuine remorse (not regret at getting caught). Your cheater needs to willingly be 100% transparent: checking in often, being where they say they are, no locked phones or devices, passwords freely given to all email accounts and social media. Some agree to GPS tracking. Watch their actions and pay little attention to their words. Do the 2 match up? Are they saying they're sorry but then disappearing on a mysterious errand they "forgot" to tell you about, for example. Have your cheater read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda J. MacDonald. It will tell your cheater exactly what they need to do to even begin the recovery process. Ask your cheater to sign a post-nuptial agreement. Their response to that will speak volumes about the future of your marriage!!!
Consider getting a free consultation from an attorney so that you are informed about your options. Just because you get a consult doesn't mean you have to proceed with a separation or divorce. Don't feel disloyal about doing it. Did your cheater feel disloyal when they were up to their shenanigans? If you have evidence, consider storing that away from your residence. You may not need it, but you may. Even if you are in a no-fault state, the threat of exposure can sometimes be used to leverage a better settlement. Cheaters are generally concerned with impression management and don't want people to know what they have been doing. Start gathering financial information, tax returns, pay stubs, 401K, account numbers etc. If you have not been in charge of or privy to the finances in your relationship, now is the time to start educating yourself. If you have children in the home, you need to make sure their interests are protected. Go to secondsaturday.com for a low cost seminar that offers education on finance and divorce. While it is geared towards educating women in financial literacy, all are welcome to attend. And attending does not mean divorce is imminent. Knowledge is power. What you do with that knowledge is up to you.
Make sure you are eating, sleeping, drinking plenty of water, and exercising if possible. It is common for the betrayed to lose a lot of weight after DDay. It is common to not be able to sleep or feel like eating. Learn to practice self care. Burn off steam and nerves by exercising, hitting a heavy bag, or smashing up junk you had planned to get rid of. While you're seeing your doctor for STD testing, ask about medication for sleep or anxiety if that pertains to your situation. Know that extreme anxiety and even PTS/PTSD is very common in the newly betrayed. You are not alone. Hang in there. Reach out for help if you need it!
When in this recovery/rebuilding process does it get better? It's been 2.5 months since D-Day and although there have been some good moments, every day I experience raw, unbearable anger and pain. The whole thing seems unfair to me. We're both attending marriage counseling, but I'm also seeing an individual therapist. I'm learning how to relieve my stress, manage my anger, deal with the sadness...
I found out my partner is cheating. I started noticing changes in her. I can’t explain it. I knew something was off. Soo, I looked on her phone and saw text messages with someone I assumed she met on some dating site. The next day I looked on her IPad and saw all th searches for dating sites. I said to her that I had a dream that she was cheating on me to see her reaction. Her answer...