Monday, November 2, 2009

You found out he cheated: How to survive the first weeks

My heart beats faster when I remember back – almost three years ago – to the day when I confronted my husband with my suspicions that he was having an affair. I can feel my pulse race, my breathing get shallow. His answer – 'yes' – was the biggest shock of my life.
If you're just finding out, you too are likely in shock. Many women report feeling bizarrely calm in the hours and days after first finding out. They wonder why they don't feel angry. Or why they're not crying. Your mind is trying to protect you from the shock. Believe me, the tears and rage will come. And when they come, you'll wonder if they'll ever stop. I assure you, they do.
Not all women are shocked. Some women immediately collapse in a heap. Others show their husbands the door. There is no right way to react to betrayal (though I generally advise betrayed wives to resist anything that will land them in jail. You've got enough on your plate without trying to post bail).
There are a few fast-and-true remedies to keep you functioning as you struggle to cope with your new reality.
Eat: It's the last thing you'll be thinking of and often it's the last thing you want to do. But find something that your stomach will tolerate and try to choke it down (tequila isn't recommended, but an alcohol-free smoothie might work!).
Sleep: Ha! I know it's laughable that you'll be able to sleep while your world falls apart. But your poor body and soul needs rest. If sleep eludes you, try caffeine-free teas, melatonin (often used by flight attendants and shift workers to help them sleep) or, if necessary, get your doctor to prescribe something short-term. You're likely messy enough without adding sleep deprivation to the mix. 
Call in favors: If you've got kids, perhaps a friend can help you out with childcare or school pick-up and drop-off. 
Get counselling: I know HE's the problem, but having someone to confide in and help you figure out where you go from here can be invaluable. In the first few weeks (months!), you'll often feel conflicted about what you want. An objective therapist can help you navigate through the confusion.
In the first days, you'll survive minute-by-minute, then hour-by-hour. After a month or two, you'll realize that you've gone a few hours without that knot in your stomach. 
You'll hear it often -- that four-letter word t-i-m-e. But it truly does work its magic.


If you've healed from betrayal, how did you cope? What advice would you offer someone just finding out? Post here and share...

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