You hear about the survivors after a storm. You hear about the survivors after a plane crash or car crash. People want to talk to them to get their stories about how they were so close to death but were somehow able to make it through.
We all love a good survivor story except when it comes to surviving infidelity.
No, those survivors keep their stories to themselves. People don’t think even to ask them their stories. They are the quiet, unsung survivors who still get up every day, who battle the moments of fear and sorrow, and try to see rays of light amid the clouds that plague their lives.
Who are the survivors?
The spouse who was cheated on, the children of the couple, the baby who is a result of the infidelity, friends, extended family—infidelity leaves a loud wake.
If your spouse has been unfaithful to you, and you feel unheard, you’re not alone. So many are suffering in silence, just trying to get through each day and construct their new life. You don’t have to go through surviving infidelity alone.
If you are bogged down with questions like, ‘can a marriage survive infidelity‘, and if it does, ‘how many marriages survive infidelity’ and ‘how to survive infidelity’, look no further.
Here are some essential steps for surviving infidelity in marriage and getting back to normalcy.
Some friends may shy away from you right now, and that will hurt. But you can’t be alone right now. Reach out if you have to, and be grateful for those friends who are there for you.
Schedule regular coffee meetups, movies out, shopping trips, or anything that you like. You need to know that someone cares regularly. Realize that some friends can’t be what you need, but they can help in some way.
Perhaps a long-distance friend can help by texting inspiring messages, or another friend could help motivate you to go to local events. Build your team to help you survive infidelity and restore your relationship.
2. Join a support group
There are others out there who know what you are going through while surviving infidelity.
Even if the circumstances are different, they will know that the hurt you feel is all-encompassing, and they will be way more open with you about your own experience than anyone else. You need to share your story and know that others are surviving.
Join a support group to get answers to your numerous thronging questions like, ‘can a marriage survive an affair,’ ‘how many marriages survive affairs ‘ and more alike.
3. Be as open as possible
Your feelings are probably all over the place. One day you may feel ok, and other days your mind may play tricks on you.
It’s important to be as open as possible. When you need assurance or details about the affair, don’t hold those feelings in.
Ask your spouse as calmly as possible, but do ask. If you’re frustrated, angry, scared, etc., say so. Your spouse needs to know how you feel during this process.
After an affair, you will feel so disconnected, and you may not even feel like you know your spouse at all. You may not feel ready to do things that you used to do together.
So maybe, find something new!
Go on regular dates, so you have alone time to talk. Be sure to designate this time as “non-affair talk” time. It’ll be hard to reconnect and move on if that’s all you talk about. But, try to venture into new avenues.
5. Take a break if you need to
If you can’t be together right now, then take a break. Agree to a specific time limit, and revisit your relationship later.
Sometimes a break is necessary, so things don’t get worse, and also so you have some time to think and process. Just make the terms of the trial separation clear, so you don’t have to stress about it.
6. Pour energy into exercise
Lift some weights, swim some laps, whack that tennis ball across the court—doesn’t that sound cathartic?
That’s because it is. And you need that now more than ever. Your physical body and your emotional state are connected. When you feel good physically, it will lift your mood.
Exercising can also help take your mind off your life for 30 minutes or more. Exercise can help alleviate anger, sadness, and stress. You can also be around others who are positive, which can help you feel better, too.
7. Automate what you can
While going about how to survive infidelity in a marriage, one of the crucial steps is to automate every little job that you can.
Order your groceries online and pick them up or have them delivered; hire a housekeeper to come in once a week; pay the neighbor kid a few dollars to mow your lawn.
Your life is in upheaval at the moment. You can’t take care of all the things you need to. So find ways to delegate, hire out, and automate.
8. Figure out how to laugh again
You may feel like you’ll never have the ability to laugh again, but slowly, you’ll smile, chuckle, and then full out belly laugh again. And it will feel good.
Welcome happiness and laughter with open arms. You are a survivor, and that means you are moving past what happened.
In this case, laughter really can be the best medicine for surviving infidelity. So, spend time having fun with friends, watch a funny movie, go to a comedy club, etc.
9. Go somewhere completely new
Everything reminds you of your past and what happened. So, go somewhere entirely new for you when you are in the process of surviving infidelity.
It could be a coffee shop in your town that could become your new place, or perhaps you could take a quick road trip to a nearby village where you could be a tourist for a day or two.
New surroundings distract our minds and take them to better places.
10. Forgive as best as you can
You won’t be able to move forward with your life until you let go of what happened. This will be difficult and will take some time, but it is possible.
An affair can be a massive weight on your shoulders that you are carrying around—so let it go. When you are able to forgive, you will feel liberated and ready to move on.
11. Go for counseling
When you are not able to get over the nudging questions like ‘can your marriage survive an affair’ or ‘how to survive infidelity in marriage’ by doing everything possible in your scope of action, it is time to go for counseling.
There are therapists out there who have professional experience helping infidelity survivors like you.
Find a good counselor and visit regularly. They can help you make sense of your feelings and process what has happened. Also, they can help you in surviving infidelity in the best possible way.
Watch this video:
12. Finally, spend some time in the Sun
Several people suffering from depression have been found to have Vitamin D deficiency. So, get outside and be in nature, and be sure to get a little sun here and there.
You may want to stay inside and cry in bed—that’s normal. You can certainly do that.
But balance it by pulling on your sweats and going for a walk. Smell the flowers, look at the trees, and soak in some Vitamin D. It will help your body feel better and lift your spirits.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.