Upon immediate discovery that a partner is having an affair or has committed adultery the betrayed person feels a complete loss of control and total fear. The floor of what the betrayed person thought they knew about his/her relationship, his/her partner or his/her world is immediately thrown into question. The loss of any sense of normalcy or knowing what to trust or believe lost in the immediate short term and is incredible frightening.
This crushing fear and sadness can lead to incredible anger or even rage. Infidelity can also make a person feel completely out of control. This lack of control is very frightening.
In the immediate discovery of affair the betrayed person often starts to evaluate all the choices they have now to deal with such as:
· Should I confront my partner?
· Should I kick him/her out of the house?
· Do I call and tell the betrayer’s family?
· Do I tell the children?
· Should I leave the relationship or stay?
· Do I confront the affair-partner and/or his/her family if I know them?
· Do I demand immediate control of my partner’s behavior and money?
· Do I move out or leave the country if I’m an expat
· Should I post on facebook?
· Should I call my partner’s employer?
· Should I tell my family?
· Should I tell my friends?
· Should I tell my betraying partner’s friends?
In the immediate shock and state of pain people are so confused and scared and feeling out of control that the process of making decisions gives them the ILLUSION of control. Decision making in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of an affair is an illusion. Making any major decisions from an extreme point of pain, fear or anger is never advisable.
Upon discovery of an affair people make decisions in the heat of strong distorting emotions and want control. People can make really, really bad decisions that they will great in the weeks or months to come. Sometimes the decisions that a betrayed person makes in the first days or weeks of discovery may result in an ability to repair the relationship later when things calm down.
So what should a person do upon immediate discovery of infidelity.
· Take a big breath and slow down
· Decision to end a marriage a long term relationship never move fast. You do not need to make decisions about your future.
· Focus on the immediate moment to moment on what you need to do to feel safe without harming anyone else
· Focus back on what are the facts. What do you know to be a FACT, not feeling. Feelings while real are not fact. So a fact is actual hard, measurable, concrete proof.
· Focus on what is stable and not changing
· If you are not sure who to speak to and affair you may do something you regret later, seek professional help for yourself. Upon immediate discovery of an affair it is too quick to marriage counselling. Individual counselling for yourself to help your orient, anchor and stabilize what is going is very help. A professional therapist can help you figure out facts, choices and priorities.
· Do not tell the children
· Fight the urge to get even or seek revenge to your partner for the pain they have caused you. No matter how hurt you are you, are always responsible for your pain. So while it is understandable to want to hurt your partner for what they have done, it does not justify your harmful or hurtful behavior. Seek more effective ways to communicate the pain, hurt and anger caused by your partner’s choice. If you need help with this, professional counselling can assist you.