Coping Strategies to Deal With Infidelity

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Coping Strategies to Deal With Infidelity

Everybody copes. Coping is necessary to move through life. Anything that is thrown at us, we
need to learn how to cope with. The problem is, not everyone knows or chooses the helpful and
healthy way to cope. Many people choose the unhelpful, unhealthy, “feel good in the moment”
way to cope to get through it. Unfortunately, that is not going to help anyone in the long run.
Today I wanted to detail some coping strategies by giving contrasts of unhelpful versus helpful
ways. You can also gauge your coping skills here

Powerless vs. Helpless:

You are powerless over people, places, and things. Some of us have the need for control and we seek the power to control others. You have to identify and realize that you don't have power over anyone. We cannot make people do, think, or feel any sort of way. But you are not helpless. YOU are powerful within your own strengths. You can regain power by taking control of your coping and feelings and emotions.

Processing vs. Suppressing:

Figuring out ways to process the pain to cope. Processing is when you are taking steps to cope with the pain and hurt. While suppressing is ignoring because it hurts too bad. Work, drugs, sex, alcohol are means to suppress. You need to be able to feel. You need to go through the steps.

Seeking help vs. Seeking Sympathy:

While both are actually important because you need to connect and you need someone to confide in or relate to but you need help. Seeking sympathy solely is unhealthy.

Solving vs. Obsessing:

We tend to obsess when something very emotional or traumatic happens. Remember you have a problem, that problem is discovering that your spouse was unfaithful. But now you have to think about how you are going to move forward for you, and/or your relationship. Obsessing will keep you in a negative mental state. Think of obsessing as being on a treadmill - you're doing the motions however you are stationary, you're going nowhere. You have to move forward and process through the pain.

Rational vs. emotional decisions:

Making emotional decisions aren't the best decisions we would make. You have to get yourself to a place where you are thinking logically so you can base your decisions on fact than on momentary feelings because it may not be what you ultimately want to do.

Correction vs. Punishment:

You may want your spouse to feel pain and the same emotions as you. But remember punishment is not correction. Punishment is not the way to reconcile or move forward. It's like the saying "two wrongs don't make a right." Although it may feel like the more satisfying thing to do, it's adding more damage than reconciliation. Punishment doesn't take away the pain in the long run.

I hope this helps give more of a distinction between helpful and unhelpful coping strategies. If
you need or would like to learn more about coping with your specific situation click here for
further information. 

5 Steps to Manage After Infidelity

5 Steps to Manage After Infidelity

So here you are completely shocked, you have no words and you suddenly are numb. The spouse you once thought you knew inside and out has revealed to you a side you never fathomed existed. They shared with you the reality of their infidelity. The emotions you feel, if you are able to feel any, are so overwhelming you are unsure of what to do next.

This experience is very common when you find yourself in a crisis situation, and I assure you when someone finds out their partner has been unfaithful it most certainly is categorized as a crisis situation. The last blog we spoke of surprising feelings, if you missed it you can read it here.

Today I want to talk about what to do after you find out about the infidelity. I want to give you tangible steps to take to manage the crisis situation. I've also included a crisis management inventory worksheet. There are five steps and they are as follows:


This is where you assess the immediate needs of the situation. Just as in the hospital, you need to asses what is most important to tend to with your life. Look at it as a nice vs. necessary. You need to eat, sleep, bathe, take care of your kids, etc. because you still need to take care of your responsibilities. Something nice would be helping a friend, baking cookies, or organizing your closet. Those are nice to do but not necessary and can add stress to this difficult time. Put yourself first. It's exhausting to have all of the thoughts that come with learning of an affair. Think about the things you need to do to get through the day.


Think of a toxic spill, when it spills you quickly try to contain it because you don't want to do any more damage. The same is with this crisis situation, you want to contain it until you figure out what happens next. The way you do this is to think of whom you are confiding in and how much you want to tell people. Use discernment with whom you seek comfort in.


When you find out about the infidelity, you lose your sense of security and it makes you feel out of control. In order to feel secure, you need a certain level of predictability, reliability, and trust. You need to understand that you don’t nor did you ever have control over your spouse. Do not try to gain a sense of control by trying to change what has happened or take responsibility for it. Rather, think about you and take control over what happens next and take responsibility for solutions.


You need healthy strategies and tools in order to work through this crisis. There's a right way and a wrong way to cope. Solve vs obsess. Powerless vs helpless. Seek help vs seeking sympathy. Correct vs punish. There is a right way to cope, so learn how to seek proper help if you feel that would be best. This process does take time so do not pressure yourself.


Unfortunately, things are different now and there's no going back, which means you have to adjust to this new piece of information and reality. You either can adjust or resist. In order to adjust, forgiveness is the key. Even if you don't plan to reconcile the marriage, it's healthiest for you to move forward with forgiveness, especially if there are children involved.

Those are the five steps to manage this crisis situation of infidelity. I strongly encourage you to seek help to facilitate your movement through this time in your life. This is not a situation best left to be done alone. You are struggling and experiencing a great deal of emotions, it is best to get the support you need to help you manage the best way you can. To take the first step in helping you understand where you might rate in regards to these five steps, click here to take a brief inventory.



5 Surprising Emotions From an Affair

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5 Surprising Emotions From an Affair

What feelings come to mind when you think about the possibility of your spouse or significant other cheating on you? I am sure just even having that thought makes your blood boil or your stomach turn. Rightfully so, because the thought of your partner betraying you elicits anger, sadness and possibly even fear. There is nothing positive about the unfaithfulness of a partner; though there are some surprising emotions that can be experienced.

Let’s explore five surprising emotions one can feel when they have found out their partner has been unfaithful. Additionally, here's a worksheet to help you work through your emotions. 

1. Shame/ Humiliation

You would think that the person who committed infidelity would be the one feeling shame or humiliation but the victim in the situation very well can experience this emotion. You may find yourself replaying your entire relationship and seeking answers as to why this happened. Questioning where you went wrong and seeking proof as to how it “must be your fault.” Also, the shame of having family and friends find out can be very overwhelming. To feel humiliated that your marriage was not as strong as you might have portrayed it to be.

2. Emptiness

Often times people misinterpret emptiness as sadness. But emptiness is really the absence of feelings. You feel void. Nothing is present. Hollow. This is the psychological mechanism of protecting your mental wellbeing from the shock of the reality of what your partner has done.

3. Possession

This, I feel, is the most shocking of the five emotions for people. The thought of wanting to be possessive of someone who has just betrayed you seems completely backward. But it is not unlikely if you feel the need to draw your partner closer and want to claim them as your’s; not as a piece of property to take ownership but a stake in the commitment you had both made. Feelings of wanting them back and not wanting to let others take them away.

4. Annoyance

You can feel irritated, thinking “they are stupid” for throwing the marriage away by engaging in such a negligent act. Annoyed that they were so foolish and careless. Feeling disappointed in their lack of judgment and annoyed that you trusted them to be more committed to your relationship.

5. Relief

This is felt because maybe you had a feeling that something wasn't right but you weren't sure. You felt like something was going on but couldn’t put your finger on it but then when you found out, you were able to put a name to it, process it and work towards a resolution. Some people might even be relieved because they feel they now have a justified reason to finally leave an otherwise unhappy marriage, often found among religious couples.

No matter what emotions you are experiencing, it is important to let yourself feel them. Give yourself permission to do so and tell yourself that it's okay. Don't push it away because that does not do you any good. Those emotions are still there and they need to be processed. Give yourself room to feel and process these emotions; however, don't let yourself dwell. It's healthy to either journal or talk to someone like your spouse or a professional when you feel you are dwelling and getting stuck.

Click here for a worksheet to help yourself begin the process of expressing your feelings. As always, if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you!

8 Causes of Infidelity and Betrayal

There are common signs or factors that can potentially lead to infidelity and I want to discuss those here with you because this can be helpful for those of you who might be a marriage where it may not be great and infidelity has not occurred but the possibility is not out of reach. It is important to not take our marriage for granted, also to be aware of the emotional state of our marriage.