So you just learned that your mate has been unfaithful. You feel hurt, angry, and most important, betrayed. All your trust has been violated. All your hopes and expectations are destroyed. Does it mean the end of the relationship? What about the kids? The pets?
Not necessarily. So, what should you do? You’ll be angry at first. You may want to be alone or have the other person out of the house. If there are kids involved, you’ll have to consider them first. While you’re hurt and hurting, nevertheless you are an adult and your kids are likely to be more hurt and more confused than you are. So, first, think of what’s best for them.
That means no prolonged yelling and screaming at your erring partner. No physical violence. No smashing of plates, cars, and so on.
Then it’s time for you to go to your therapist. Go by yourself and try to arrange couples therapy. Also, get the kids into therapy as well, since they’re feeling all the stresses you are. And, by the way, if your kids are in school, tell the teacher there’s some stress going on at home and to keep a head’s up on your offspring. It may be necessary for your partner to go to therapy by her/himself as well. The therapists should be able to consult with each other.
Of course, what you also will be thinking is: Why? With whom? How often? What does/did it mean? Is it still going on? You need to know the answers to those questions before deciding what to do next. Research has shown that you can forgive the person and rebuild trust if your partner sees that he/she’s done wrong and can offer some explanations from her/his past or from your relationship.
This last point is crucial: Sometimes people have affairs because they feel unsatisfied sexually and/or emotionally in the relationship. These are concerns your couples therapist can help you address. Your therapist and your couples therapist can help you find your part in what happened. Did you take some things for granted or turn a blind eye at the start or throughout the time you’ve been together?
Once you start to answer these questions, you can decide on how to proceed. Trust can be rebuilt if a person is willing to do their part. Nothing is written in stone.