Marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity, which undermines the foundation of marriage itself.
However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.
It can be very distressing to discover that your partner is having or has had an affair. These tips will help you take practical steps to cope with it.
Talk to your partner
Although bringing the affair up with your partner may feel painful, it's important you can ask questions so you can assess exactly what has happened.
Find somewhere private to talk where you won't be interrupted. If you don't feel ready to talk together you may want to consider Relationship Counselling, where you'll have a safe and confidential space to discuss things.
Give yourself some time
Finding out such shocking news can leave you feeling angry and hurt. Seek support from trusted friends, family members or talk to trained relationship counsellor in a free Live Chat.
Let him/her finish before responding. You will undoubtedly be shocked and upset, but try not to start shouting or rush out of the room.
Also, ask your partner to tell you the truth, however painful. Recovery after an affair is always worse if lies are told early on.
Avoid blaming your partner, the affair partner or yourself
It may seem tempting to hurl an insult at your partner or get into name-calling of their affair partner, but this often gets in the way of true understanding. You should also resist self-blame.
You may wonder if your own short-comings have caused the affair, but while you were both responsible for your relationship, you can never be responsible for your partner’s choices. An affair can never be the 'fault' of a faithful partner.
Try to focus on the facts
For example you might ask how long the affair has lasted and what your partner wants to happen now. The most urgent question for many people is 'why?' but sometimes a partner can't tell you this immediately and his/her perspective often changes over time.
Avoid asking questions such as 'Were they better in bed than me?' You may want to talk about this kind of thing later on, but it's better to establish the facts first.
Take time to think about what you want to happen next
Once you have established the facts, if your partner resolves to end the affair and re-commit to your relationship, be slow to judge. You'll need to reflect on whether you're able to forgive the breach of trust and you may not yet have all the information with which to make that decision.
Only after talking and establishing the reasons for the affair, will you be able to decide. You can however say that you're willing to work with your partner and to try to understand why this has happened. At this point, you may find it helpful to talk to a Relationship Counsellor who can work with you both to determine your next steps.