The question that we get asked most frequently is how we managed to survive infidelity in our marriage. Is it really possible to get over it at all, let alone end up with a much stronger relationship than before? How do you forgive, and how do you start to trust again? Well there's a whole process you have to go through first and of course it's different depending upon whether you're the cheated or the cheating partner.
## How to survive infidelity - the cheated partner
If you're the cheated partner you have to be able to deal with discovering that your partner has been unfaithful to you. The first thing you need to do is accept that you'll be on an emotional rollercoaster ride for a while.
Here are some things you can do initially:
1. It's human nature that you'll probably want to confront your partner as soon as possible with a list of questions. A lot of these will probably be pretty specific and will touch a lot of nerves. When? where? how, how many times? why? etc. It sounds easy to say, but you'll achieve a lot more if you can avoid anger as much as possible. Also try to ask yourself whether it will really help you if you know some of the specifics.
2. You need to establish whether your partner's affair is over. If it isn't, find out what their intentions are and give them an ultimatum.
3. Set some initial boundaries.
4. Give yourself time to come to terms with your situation. If possible spend time apart from your partner whilst you're doing this. The minimum you should be doing is sleeping apart.
5. You need to be aware that there is one main decision that you will have to make at some point - should you stay or should you go?
6. Remember that you are the one who has to live with your decision, not anyone else
## How to survive infidelity - the cheating partner
If you're the cheating partner you're likely to feel guilty, exposed, scared, uncertain and foolish amongst other things and in times like this when you're emotionally charged it's very easy to say or do things that you might regret later. Here are some tips on what to do:
1. Stay calm as much as you can when your partner confronts you with an inevitable barrage of questions, snipes and insults. Let them know that you're ready and willing to answer all their questions truthfully and that you're not prepared to get confrontational, not because you're trying to be smart but because it won't help.
2. Be aware of your tone when talking to your partner and answering their questions as that's even more important than the actual words you say.
3. Tell your close family and friends yourself. The chances are your partner will be gunning for you and will tell them anyway, so if they're going to get caught up in the crossfire they will probably prefer hearing it from you.
4. Recognise that your partner is going to need time and space to come to terms with the situation and to decide what they want to do. Pushing them into talking about the situation before they're ready won't help.
5. Don't think that simply saying sorry is going to solve everything. It's much more beneficial to instead tell your partner what you've learnt from it all.
6. Start thinking about what led you to being unfaithful and what needs to be done in your relationship to correct it.
The information above is an extract from a free mini course that we have created to help others who find themselves in the same situation that we were in. To get the complete free 8 part course all about understanding, coping with and surviving infidelity based on what we went through and how we dealt with it visit www.askdougandchris.com/subscribe
Doug and Chris Young are Relationship Coaches who really can walk the talk, having survived infidelity in their own marriage and come out of it much stronger http://www.askdougandchris.com