He cheated. The golden commandment of your relationship was trespassed and your whole world has been shattered into millions of pieces by someone you believed you could trust.
How do you learn to live with the knife poking out of your back and move on? Here are four steps to get you through this painful time and help you to reach a decision on the future of your relationship:
Let him have it
You have just discovered the man you trusted to protect you is the very one to viciously betray you - you have every right to express your feelings and vent your anger. Make yourself heard by using your words and body language.
However badly you would like to injure him or liberally apply a can of neon spray paint to his beloved car, refrain from doing so – that will only feel good for a moment, but will bring you down to his level. He may feel justified in cheating if you become physically violent.
Show that you are the bigger person by carrying yourself with grace and dignity, despite your pain and anger. You will garner the respect of others and make him feel worse for it.
Take time out for yourself
The trauma you have just suffered is tantamount to having been in a serious car accident; the one you loved was the reckless driver culpable for your relationship being demolished. Before you even begin to survey the damage, you should focus on yourself.
Take time away from your partner to recover
Any decision you make now will be emotionally charged and irrational. Being in a committed relationship did not keep him from straying, so don’t be concerned about losing him to the other woman while you take your time-out.
In the meantime, nurture yourself. Do the things you love to do, spend time with good friends and family and keep busy. In your own time, when you are ready and so wish, you can have a composed conversation with him and hear his side of the story before you decide whether to end it or take him back.
Don’t obsess or blame yourself for his cheating
In the aftermath of an affair, women often spend hours obsessing and wondering what they could possibly have done to have prevented it. Feelings of depression, self doubt and low self esteem can cripple you.
Remember, even the most beautiful, talented and smartest women with the world at their feet are cheated on. The affair has everything to do with your partner’s issues, and nothing to do with you. Don’t obsess over it or blame yourself for it.
Focus your energy and extra time on taking care of you. Eat healthily and exercise instead of moping with a two litre tub of chocolate ice cream and that big bag of chips. Dress up and look your best for you. You will feel better and look good, and looking good is the best revenge, after all.
Don’t allow your partner to play mind games and manipulate you into believing you are to blame for his mistake. He will use this tactic in future to pin all of his indiscretions on you, and you are perhaps better off alone than with someone like that in your life.
Forgive him for cheating - even if you don't take him back
In time, whether you decide to take him back or not, you will have to forgive him. Your forgiveness is for yourself, not for him. Harbouring ill feelings will only poison future relationships you may have and leave you bitter and resentful.
If you decide to take him back, you need to forgive with all your heart and be sure he is worth it
It will take a long time to regain the broken trust – he has to be willing to work for it, and you have to give him the chance. You will need to completely wipe the slate clean, as it will do your relationship no good to hold it over him forever, and will make you both miserable.
You need to decide if you are able to trust again
Perhaps it will be impossible to live without that omnipresent suspicion that your partner may be cheating again, or you may find yourself constantly questioning the authenticity of his feelings for you due to the broken trust. If so, it may be better to cut ties and move on.
No excuse justifies cheating
Everyone in a committed relationship deserves the right to have their partner come to them and tell them they are unhappy, before going exploring outside of the relationship and having an affair.
Some relationships can survive infidelity
What’s important is that the guilty party expresses his remorse and is willing to do what it takes to make things right.
He was responsible for damaging the relationship, the onus should be on him to fix it and earn his way back into your heart.