It may seem hard to believe, but your partner's infidelity has provided you with a special opportunity: to reassess your life, your needs, and to discover who you really are. It's probably been ages since you did that, perhaps having spent years in a marriage. Have you lost sight of the person you used to be? Read on to discover how to recover from an affair and reconnect with your real self. You can even get free, professional help to survive the aftermath of an affair at the end of this article.

Your partner's cheating has left you shell-shocked, and you're caught up in the emotionally devastating aftermath of the awful mess they've created. You thought you knew this person, and yourself, and that you had a secure relationship. Now, you're feeling alone and probably have a strong desire to rediscover the real you.

Here are some crucial points to consider before you can start your journey of self-discovery, and learn to recover from an affair by surviving the emotional havoc it's wreaked.

There will be Negative Effects for the Cheater

Your partner has elected to step outside the boundaries of your relationship and be unfaithful. Rather than taking a taking a good look at their life, and your relationship, or coming to you to talk about their feelings, your partner has taken the foolish, selfish decision to cheat. Now, they will have to deal with the negative consequences of their actions.

Despite what you may be thinking, the person your partner has cheated with isn't necessarily better, smarter, or more talented than you. They may not be a god or goddess in the bedroom department either. However these are probably the type of thoughts going round in your head, undermining your feelings of self-worth. We can never really know what another person is feeling, and their motivations for cheating and destroying the relationship. Most of the time, those who cheat can't provide any specific, solid reason that could even vaguely explain their foolish decision.

However, that's enough about your cheating partner. Let's concentrate on what your most important needs are, and how you can survive an affair. It's time to look after you!

Three Steps for Rediscovering Your True Self

When everything you know and rely on has been ripped apart by unfaithfulness, you might feel you are trying to start your life all over again. However, before you can really rediscover - or reinvent - yourself, the following vital steps must be taken so you can recover from an affair and create the best possible life for yourself. This needs to be a life that allows for your wants, needs and values.

Step 1: Face up to the Pain You're Feeling.

You're hurting like crazy at the moment. Emotional pain is no less distressing than physical pain - it can even be more so. Emotional pain can't be ignored, avoided or escaped - not permanently anyway. You must deal with what you're feeling and define the emotions you're experiencing. Yes, this will be deeply unpleasant and uncomfortable, but acknowledgment is the path towards acceptance of the situation, and this should help you begin to heal and recover from an affair.

Step 2: Gain Perspective by Taking Time for Yourself.

We've looked at some thoughts that are common in those hurt by a partner's affair. Many victims of affairs admit to being plagued by thoughts that the other man or woman was in some way better than themselves. This "negative self-talk" can be quite destructive for the person concerned. It will probably take quite a while to process these painful thoughts and deal with all the negative ideas your mind creates. At the moment your perspective is out of kilter. Accept this for the moment - it's quite normal. As you begin to recover from an affair, you will regain a more balanced of perspective on things.

Step 3: You Need a Plan

Acceptance and acknowledgment of distressing thought and emotions is just a part of the solution. Don't let the negativity you're experiencing fester away inside. To recover from an affair and find the path to healing you must process this negativity in order to eliminate it. Make a plan which allows for frequent activities like lunch with friends, exercise, and just getting out and about. The important point here is that you need reminding that there is a whole external world out there, not just your internal pain. As you start feeling that you can once more be part of that world, you will realise that you're not doomed to a life of sadness, and that you really can recover from an affair.

Author's Bio: 

Get free instant access to the 21-step healing plan and "survive an affair" email course, provided by experienced, certified marriage therapists.

Robert Hamer has a long standing interest in Psychology and relationships, and is currently studying to become a Chartered Counselling Psychologist.