That mix of emotions can be UNBEARABLE.
When my first husband confessed that he had cheated on me, I was hurt — but mostly, I was PISSED.
I married him because I thought that was what I was supposed to do (I was pregnant — but miscarried a month later). After our wedding, I naively had stayed with him for six years — all the while enduring his verbal abuse, lies and manipulation.
So you see, I was REALLY resentful, and I was angry at myself for losing my integrity, my self worth — and honestly, the prime years of my life.
It ended up though, that in my case, his cheating was my ultimate ticket to freedom. Sure, I still had feelings of failure and shame for a while, but those feelings soon disappeared and I quickly recaptured the essence of the old ‘me’. I was actually joyful and thankful that it had happened.
Now, if the scenario had been repeated in my second marriage to the love of my life (my late husband), my reactions would have definitely been completely different. Just thinking about it, even after being without him now for 14 years, I have strong mixed feelings of pain, anger, betrayal, and mostly confusion. I can’t fathom the intensity of these feelings had the cheating actually happened!
What would I have done? The whirling of my thoughts makes this question almost impossible to consider.
Truthfully, as much as I loved him, liked him — and yes, NEEDED him — I think I would have actually tried to make it work if he were of the same mind and willing to match my efforts of reconciliation. Don't get me wrong — I probably would have left — or asked him to leave — for some time for quiet consideration of what to do. Everyone needs time to lick and nurse their wounds in a private cocoon.
But in my heart I would have longed for the mending of our marriage. Would the healing have been quick? Oh, HELL no. Realistically it probably wouldn't have worked.
We were both hard-headed and I was so very sensitive (and somewhat needy). Plus, communication was never his strong suit.
If this were my current reality, I would probably be one step from some form of mental or physical collapse.
For one thing I am certain: we would have absolutely had to agree on some form of counseling. There is NO WAY I could have handled the inevitable, excruciating conversations and conflicts without some form of professional guidance.
So what should YOU do if you find out your spouse has been cheating on YOU? Where do you start?
Our panel of YourTango Experts explores this problem in a modern way with advice and perspectives that may help you in your choice of direction.
Melanie Gorman (YourTango Expert Senior VP) is joined by author John Gray, relationship coach Ravid Yosef, psychic/medium Bee Herz and sex coach Lauren Brim.
Are you confused and tormented about what you should do? Watch this video ... and if you need more help, please visit the websites of John, Ravid, Bee and Lauren for more information or to contact them personally.