You still can’t fully wrap your head around what has happened. You may even refuse to believe that your mate has cheated on you. Though it is a normal part of the process, you should do your best to avoid getting stuck in this stage. Eventually, you will need to acknowledge what has happened because if you don’t, you are just prolonging the healing process. Again, I recommend that you stay away from him because right now, you have to focus on your needs in order to move forward.
Now you are finding it hard to stay focused on anything other than his infidelity. Every minute, every hour of every day, you can’t get his cheating ass out of your head. You start to wonder why this is happening to you and what could you have done differently to prevent it. The truth is that there was probably little you could have done. Once a cheater has rationalized it in their head that what they are about to do is ok, there really no stopping them. You could have done everything right and still ended up on the butt end of the stick.
Again, this goes back to the mindset of the person who has cheated. There something deeper within them that they have not dealt with and the cheating is a result of that issue. Unless he has taken actions to fix whatever it is that has driven him to betray you… he is not going to change and that has nothing to do with you as a person. You may have made mistakes but at this point, your only crime is falling in love with someone and not getting that same love in return and that is NOT your fault.
You are mad as hell and you have every right to be! You may not have let it show, but it is definitely there and it’s waiting to come out. Reality has set in and everything that you have bottled up inside is about to manifest. This is a natural and healthy reaction to everything you have gone through and you have every right to release it upon the cheater in question. Yell, scream, and curse, whatever… just get it out! Do be careful of your method of expression. If at any time, you feel that things are going to become physical, please remove yourself from the situation. The last thing that you need is someone getting physically hurt or running into any type of legal issues.
So now the dust has settled and you have had some time to think. You might be telling yourself that things aren’t as bad as they seem. Maybe this can be fixed and you guys can work through it. You start thinking of ways you can compromise and make things better. If that is the path you choose, I say go for it! I do want you to be careful though. Don’t start excusing behaviors that you find unacceptable for the sake of maintaining your relationship. This type of thinking can really make things harder for you in the future.
The truth is, bargaining is a result of fear. You are scared that you are going to lose your relationship and the fear of being alone is clouding your judgment. Force yourself to be realistic and take time to really think about things as they were. Do not feel like you have to settle for the sake of keeping an unhealthy relationship. Guaranteed you will hate yourself in the future if things do not go the way you want them to.
Things have become dark for you. Everyday seems like a chore and it becomes harder and harder for you to deal. You might even lash out by engaging in unhealthy behavior such as alcohol, drugs or even hyper-sexuality. These things will not be helpful to you in the long-run because they are being used as a distraction from the pain and the hurt that has taken over your life.
I consider this the wild card of these stages because it can take place simultaneously with all of the other stages. You have to be very careful not to let this get the best of you. If the depression is becoming something that keeps getting harder for you to handle, I would strongly suggest seeing a therapist to help sort through your emotions. Sometimes, it just helps to have someone objective to listen to what you are experiencing and help you work through it. If you can’t afford a therapist, talk to someone you trust or even start keeping a journal. You have to find some sort of a healthy outlet to help release yourself.
So you are at the point now where you can acknowledge everything that you have gone through and start taking action to move forward. This doesn’t mean that you let the cheater off the hook. Acceptance doesn’t exactly mean forgiveness. If anything, this is where you start taking control of your life and moving on.
If you decide to stay with your partner, I strongly suggest enlisting the help of a couple’s counselor to start working on putting the pieces together. This is going to be a 50/50 effort so you and your partner are going to have to really put in work if you want things to work out. Eventually, you will have to forgive him but he will need to take the burden of proof as to whether or not he can be trusted again.
Now if you decide to move on alone, be comfortable in the fact that you have gotten over your hurt and anger and you are able to do so. Dig deep and figure out what it is that you want out of life. Start focusing on you and your needs and leave all of the extra BS behind you. Take as much time as you need in order to get back into the swing of things. You will know when you are ready to start dating again.
At the end of the day, have fun and enjoy your regained single status. It’s your time and you deserve it.