Teri feels horrible. She doesn’t think she could feel any worse than she does right now. Her husband, Clint, admitted that he cheated. He’s temporarily moved out while they each decide what to do next.
Other than confessing that, over the course of several months, he had an affair with a woman he works with, Clint has not provided much information at all. He did tell Teri that he’s sorry the affair happened, but he has mainly been cold and distant.
Clint’s admission certainly clears up some of the confusion that Teri was feeling about their relationship. Over the past year, he’d begun to act differently than usual. He tried to explain away his erratic schedule and increased time taking private calls by claiming that he’d been assigned to new projects at work.
Now Teri knows that his “projects at work” were actually this affair!
Your partner might not have admitted to you that he or she is having an affair. You may have discovered the painful truth by yourself or heard it from a reliable source.
It could even be that you feel certain that your mate is cheating, but you haven’t been able to prove it.
In all of these circumstances, you are probably in a lot of emotional pain and turmoil.
You are undoubtedly facing the prospect of making a decision about whether you will stay in this relationship or leave it– and you probably never wanted to have to make that decision.
Attain clarity in the moment.
All of your anger, grief, worry, fear and other emotions are completely understandable right now.
Unfortunately, in the midst of these emotions it’s can be tough to make a long-term (or even a short-term) decision about your relationship and your life.
What you need to learn how to do is to allow yourself to feel these feelings and to also find ways to become clear about what you want.
You might not be able to guess what you might want a year from now– or even a month from now. But it is vital that you determine what it is that you want for yourself and from your partner right now.
To do this, give yourself time and space. You could start to regularly write down how you are feeling and what you are thinking about in a journal.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, set aside as few as 10 minutes every day to sit down, close your eyes and breathe. It’s amazing the way that a deep, abdominal breath can help to clear the mind.
Teri is very conflicted and upset about her current situation. Her parents and sister are urging her to file for divorce and her friends are just about ready to hunt Clint down. Their love and support is great, but it adds pressure.
Teri doesn’t feel ready to give up on her marriage. She still loves Clint. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, to Teri, that they were happy together.
At the same time, Teri knows that she needs to be able to trust Clint again in order to stay. She decides to ask him to meet and talk. She plans to write down a list of questions that she has for Clint.
Among them are these:
Have you ended this affair?
Are you willing to stay in and work on our marriage?
Would you consider meeting with a relationship coach either individually or with me?
Teri does not know how this talk with Clint will go. She has no idea if she will still want to stay in their marriage after she hears what he has to say (if he will open up). But she does feel certain that she needs to try to communicate with Clint in order to proceed with her decision-making.
With the clarity that you are gaining, you can come up with some agreements that will help you to further heal from the pain of infidelity and/or suspicion and mistrust.
Now it’s time to make some agreements.
The first agreements that we encourage you to make are with yourself. Before you pose questions to your partner about what happened and where you two will go from here, make some promises to yourself.
You might make an agreement with yourself that you will come to the talk with your mate with specific questions that you’d like answered– and you will not get side-tracked. You might also promise yourself that you will end the conversation (or take a break from it) if you feel like you are only hearing more lies.
We don’t know what is most important to you at this time, but you do. Promise yourself that you will communicate with your partner in ways that feel as good to you as possible.
If you are going to stay in this relationship– even for a conditional period of time– be sure to make agreements with him or her.
Create agreements that can help your partner prove that he or she is trustable to you. Be specific about this and make sure that there are concrete ways you can know positive changes are happening.
As out of your control as this whole situation may seem, it’s helpful to remember that you do have choice. Offer yourself extra care and love right now and honor that sense of choice.