The Healing Library > Articles > Quick Start Guidelines
Quick Start Guidelines
These guidelines are intended as a way to help folks when they are first assaulted by knowledge of infidelity and they need to know what to do. ~ What to do indeed! My hope is that this rather long post helps answer that question and will in fact fill a void for guidance, particularly in the early phases, when you have just discovered the affair. Because let's face it, it's at this point that most of us are totally caught off guard?and feel helplessly hopeless.
Also, so that you all know, lots of this comes from personal experience and from the experiences shared by many other betrayed spouses. But while I call this Poodle's Reality Check for Betrayed Spouses, much?make that most?of it has been taken from or adapted from other sites. So here it!
- Don't try to make sense out of what's happening or those that have made it happen. You are not dealing with rational people or situations. Normal thought processes won't work. That's why you're confused! Your spouse will act as if having been abducted by "aliens." Further they will seem to mentally be in almost a hypnotic state, which you will hear people on this site call the "fog." In short, their brains will seem scrambled. So what to do?
- At the beginning, say as little as possible and just watch. Try not to take any of what they say or do personally. Impossible I know but you must try. And what ever you say or do, do it calmly! YES! Confront your spouse with the evidence?but expect denials and lies beyond belief. Just be firm in your resolve?let them know that you know?. Don't ever dignify their lies by arguing!
- Don't be in a hurry. There is little, if anything, you can do to stop what's going on. The cheaters have to do this on their own. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEM! You can control yourself, however. You can hasten the end of the affair but only with constant and planned pressure. But to do so, you can't confront it head on. The fact is, that there's almost nothing you can say or do to make the situation immediately better but there's a WHOLE LOT you can do to make it worse.
- All spying is good and necessary, but be ready for an ANGRY reaction if you're detected. If this happens, do not be deterred! Keep on spying! And please! Get past any childish notion that spying is disrespectful. If you're really troubled by this aspect of the situation, think of it as "affair research."
- Even if the WS claims to have ended "it," keep on spying! Cheaters lie and lyres cheat! Believe nothing that you have not verified on your own.
- Don't beat yourself up for "causing" the affair, because you didn't! You MAY be partly responsible for creating the environment which made the affair possible,? you may even need to examine yourself critically in terms of the relationship? but you are NOT responsible for your spouse's decision to have an affair. Never the less, your WS will accuse you of just that, as well as all sorts of other nasty things. In fact expect your WS to rewrite your marital history, exaggerating every trivial issues they ever had with you!?And then shift the blame to you! They do this in their attempt to lessen their own guilt and to justify their decision to cheat. In affairs, culprits are everywhere?. except in the mirror.
- This will likely be the worst experience of your life. You are a prime candidate for depression, so see a doctor if you feel like you're having difficulty coping. You may need medication. As for your mental health seek counseling immediately. This is not something that a person can or should handle alone. Get professional help!
- Don't recruit your cheating spouse's family or friends to "help" convince any one about anything. Tell them for sure and if they ask questions, answer honestly, but don't expect their support. If you get it, great, otherwise forget about it. "Blood is always thicker then water."
- Do not expect too much right away from the wayward spouse...even if they have already ended the affair. But if they claim to have ended the affair, always respectfully request that they send a No Contact letter. Also understand that you may feel like you are they only one trying to save the marriage. To prevent feeling like a doormat, take a pro-active position. Tell your WS what you feel is acceptable behavior...just do it in a loving, respectful way. In fact, always communicate in a loving, respectful way, no matter how angry you are or how stupid the things said to you may be. Further and no matter what, never beg or plead! Never! Never cry in front of your cheating spouse. Never! Try never to appear needy. Just stand up for yourself with all dignity and grace that the good lord provided you.
- You will be told by the well intentioned to "Throw him/her out!!!" And indeed, this may end up being the proper course of action. However, at the beginning and before doing anything permanent, learn everything you can?first both about your specific problem and then about the phenomenon of infidelity in general. Seek professional advice. Make no immediate life changing decisions. Time is your friend. Do things at your own pace and only do that which is in your own best interest. Take action only after much thought and reflection.
- Very important! If your spouse's OP is married, tell the OP's spouse! If you don't know their identity find out. In fact inform everybody you know that can influence the situation. Just be honest in your interpretation of the facts. The purpose of revealing the affair to the OP's spouse is get help in motivating the OP to end it while you are working on your own WS to end it!
Exposing the affair and making it public knowledge is not a mean or underhanded thing to do. Only the cheater will feel that it is. The world knowing need embarrass only the cheaters.
Understand?affairs flourish in secrecy! Remove the secrecy and romance from the affair and you expose it as what it is...a nasty, shabby, little lie!~
So that's it. Hope it helps. For some who may feel that actions recommended here may not be right for them, I urge a little more thought. If you do, it should occur to you that all of us here are really and essentially in the same situation so what we need to do is essentially the same. The sad truth is that we are all just walking cliches. So take it all or take part of it.
Best to all.