avatarCecilia Presley Williams


Things To Do If You Plan On Staying After The Discovery Of An Affair

Affairs are downright hurtful and devastating to a marriage. It doesn’t matter if this is the 1st one or the 20th you have known about. If you want to protect yourself and enact real change, here are some things you can do about it.

Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash

Let’s face it, there are some things in life that you really do have to go through before you can know how you’ll act.

Before I had kids, I knew how I would discipline and what I would allow. Before I taught a class I knew how I would act in front of a crowd. And, before I was cheated on I knew exactly what I would do… until it happened.

After the discovery of my husband’s first affair I stayed for many years. Another 12 years to be exact. Looking back now, there are many things I would do differently to set myself up for success.

Not just success in a divorce, but also emotional/ psychological success.

There are a lot of reasons to stay after finding out about a spouse’s infidelity. Culture, finances, fear, obligation, religion, kids, etc… There are as many as there are reasons to leave.

Some (like me) need a bit more education and time to come to terms with the reality of the world they are living in. Only then will they activate and be able to do what needs to be done.

Until that happens, there are things you can do to set yourself up in a way that protects you while giving your broken relationship a fighting chance at healing.

Self Care Is Not Me First → It’s *Me Too*

I can’t stress enough that having a self-care practice is the most important thing you can do for yourself in the aftermath of affair discovery. If you don’t have one already established, this is the time to do so.

It can feel unimportant to focus on solely yourself when your world is in shambles. It may feel like you don’t have the energy to be able to do it.

That is your brain lying to you!

Your brain is focused on survival right now, not healing. It’s trying to do what it does best, to make sure you get through another day. Our brains are focused on keeping us alive and only that.

It does its job of sorting through information and sending out signals to protect us and keep us going.

It’s up to us to make sense of those signals and decide what to do about them. There is no way to do that if you don’t get a bit selfish and take care of yourself in this highly stressful moment. (Selfish isn’t the correct word, but it gets the point across)

There is always time later to go into fix-it mode. To figure out what you will do and what you want to do, but for now, getting your nervous system to de-escalate is the goal.

I have a visualization exercise that is good for understanding what is happening in the brain when something emotionally traumatic happens. It’s a good way to make sense of the brain fog, fatigue, and confusion that happens.

Insure Your Investment

Marriage is an investment. Staying married is an investment. Staying married to a known cheater is a risky investment.

When risk is involved you need insurance.

How does that work after the paperwork has long been filed? By getting a post-nuptial agreement.

Post-nuptial agreements can be a wonderful way to protect yourself in the wake of an affair. It not only gets down in righting what the outcome should be if a divorce does occur, it also can save you a lot of time and money. Divorces take longer than expected and are more expensive than you want them to be.

You can put clauses in there for affairs, abuse, and addictions. I like to recommend clients go all out and have all bases covered.

Many don’t want to do this step because it discusses divorce. You’ll have to put aside those feelings because divorce is a real option and choosing to remain unprotected leaves you vulnerable.

Get Therapy or Coaching For Yourself

There is always time later to get marriage counseling. Like with a self-care routine, getting help for yourself is about getting you back on track to be able to make sound decisions that include rationale instead of relying heavily on emotions. Emotions will be frantic at this time. An outsider’s perspective is like a cool breeze that helps calm the emotions down.

It also gives you somewhere safe to expel those thoughts and emotions in a way that is solely focused on your healing and growth. You don’t have to go through the pain alone.

Look for a coach or counselor that specializes in trauma and/or infidelity. I have coached clients through this and often recommend counseling on top of coaching.

When I was going through it I went to 3 types of support each week for the first 4 months. A support group on Mondays, life coaching on Tuesdays, and a therapist on Thursdays.

Do Not Isolate Yourself

Having someone cheat on you can feel embarrassing. It is an extremely lonely moment in time. If you have decided to stay, you may not want to share what happened with those around you. The easiest way to do that is to not engage with them.

This is the worst thing you can do.

When you isolate it only leaves two people in your world. You and the person who cheated on you. There is no one there to support you.

The person who cheated cannot do that role right now.

They are the ones that hurt you. The person who hurt you cannot heal you. Even if you want them to.

Here are some of the common things that a husband may say after he is caught cheating.

You don’t have to tell the people in your life what happened, though it would be a good idea to do so. I don’t mean so they can bash your partner. It is so they can know how to best be there for you and so everything is out in the open.

Healing takes fresh air, clean water, sunlight. Dysfunction lives in the dark.

If you don’t want to tell them the whole truth, just tell them the part you need help with:

  • I am really sad and hurting. I need your support.
  • I feel unloved and unwanted. I need your love.
  • I don’t feel like talking. Will you talk to me without asking questions?
  • I need to cry. Will you hug me?

You get to decide how much you want to share while still getting the kind of care you need. This doesn’t happen when you’re isolated.

We are social creatures. Finding strength in others is normal when we are depleted. An affair discovery can suck you dry and leave you empty fast.

Good luck.

It shouldn’t have happened and I wish there was a way to make the pain magically go away.

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Narcissism Informed Trauma and Abuse Life Coach- for links to my life coaching services, you can find me at www.cpresleycoaching.com or email me at [email protected]

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Trauma Recovery
Cheating Spouse
Self Care
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