by Sheila Brennan~Just discovered your spouse is having an affair? Now what?
Recently I read an informative blog post by Dr. Anne Malec on goodtherapy.org titled, “An Affair is not the Beginning of the End”. The blog tackles the emotions that overcome a spouse when an affair is discovered. The emotions range from sadness to rage to denial to a physical reaction to acceptance. Dr. Malec suggests that a marriage can be saved and it may be the opportunity your union needs to make the changes necessary to re-commit to one another.
Feelings are normal! This is a great reminder as you may feel like you’re losing your mind. Maybe you think you misinterpreted something and that it’s you who may be too paranoid. Maybe you’ve ignored the gut feeling that’s been in your stomach for months or even years. Whatever the case, what’s the 911 call that needs to be made?
You call your best friend, your sister, your mother, first to see if they have any suggestions on what to do? You google marriage counselor, affairs, local divorce attorneys in an effort to find an answer although you may not know the question yet.
Be discerning when you choose to share your news. You want to be sure this person is a trusted ally who will support you and take control for a while until you’re calmer. You don’t want to ask someone who will encourage you to do something dramatic. You might also ask someone to watch the kids so you can be alone in the house to emote as required.
Dr. Malec provides a list of things to do shortly after the discovery or disclosure. One of the greatest tips is not to do anything for 90 days. So much can change in three months. And most importantly, you will not be as intensely emotional as you are during that first 24-48 hours. During that first day or so, it is crucial to take care of yourself.
Read Dr. Malec’s suggestions on what do to take care of yourself. Try to incorporate at least 1 of the 10 recommendations into your routine. It’s the basics of self-care: eat well, sleep, exercise.
The following is a list of ten things you SHOULDN’T do. Let me repeat that, things you SHOULDN’T do.
- Change the locks
- File for divorce
- Pack up their belongings
- Post anything on Facebook or any other social media
- Damage property – permanently
- Clear out the bank accounts
- Call the other person’s spouse
- Borrow someone’s attack dog
- Put something really disgusting in the trunk of the alleged perpetrator’s car
- Create an online dating account
After a while, you’ll feel more settled and will begin to make clearer decisions. But remember those first few days/weeks are challenging so refer often to the blog post, “An Affair is not the Beginning of the End”. You’ll be happy you did.