How do you carry on after infidelity has been discovered? In close to 20 years of working with couples who have struggled with surviving infidelity I can say that there are general patterns that people tend to follow. Its almost like the old Kubler-Ross five stages of death and dying – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Oftentimes learning of an affair is so shocking that one can go into a kind of denial as a way to deal with the overwhelming feelings that come over you. After all everything you took for granted is suddenly turned upside down. What felt secure isn’t that way anymore. You had a vision of your future that all of a sudden doesn’t look so certain. This is a lot to deal with and denial or minimization is often one of the ways your nervous system deals with the shock.
Anger is a protective response to a perceived hurt or threat and there are few things more hurtful or threatening than learning trying to figure out your life after infidelity has been discovered.
Bargaining after infidelity can often come within yourself – how much are you willing to live with? can you accept or ever trust your partner again?
Depression is a common reaction after infidelity because your sense of basic trust in the world may be violated and you may feel powerless in dealing with the crisis.
Finally, comes acceptance. Acceptance occurs when you come to terms with the affair, you feel in charge of your life again and begin to realize that you can deal with this. This can take weeks, months or in some cases years to fully arrive at.
These stages usually do not occur in the order described. In fact, you may find yourself rapidly cycling through the first four on a daily basis. The important thing to know is that these are normal reactions to recovery after infidelity has been found out.
Watch the free after infidelity survival guide video!