Love, Family

4 Unexpected Ways Infidelity Hurts Beyond Heartbreak (& What You Can Do About It)

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infidelity and affairs in relationships

The impact a cheating partner can have on not only your relationship, but your life, goes far beyond the act of infidelity itself.

This unfaithful behavior bleeds into many other areas of the life you share together, so it’s really important to keep your eyes open to the ways in which these things need to be dealt with.

Cheating in a relationship can have serious long-term effects on your physical, financial, and emotional well-being. Awareness of these is the best way to understand the risks and how to minimize them when you're trying to save your marriage after infidelity.

RELATED: The Harsh Reality Of Cheating On The Person You Love

Here are the 4 ways your partner's cheating affects your life and what you can do about it:

1. You're at risk for STDs or pregnancy.

Whenever a partner strays, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) become a very real risk. While some can be quickly and simply treated with a rigorous course of antibiotics, others can become lifelong, chronic illnesses or worse.

So do you broach the subject of testing for STDs? Or is it better to cut off the cheating partner from any physical intimacy once the affair is suspected? After all, who’s to say that the person your partner is cheating with isn't cheating on him with someone else?

It’s vitally important to — at the very least — take care of your own health and consult with a trusted healthcare provider at any signs of concern. Other issues in the relationship (physical, emotional, or verbal domestic violence) could make dealing with this far more complicated so make your plans accordingly, but for your own sake, don’t overlook your own health.

Another possible health-related issue where life could get especially messy is pregnancy. What if you and your partner get pregnant? What if your partner is expecting a child with someone else? Both of these conditions add serious stress to an already stressful situation.

Working out the details of new family roles and obligations can get extremely tangled, and may push the relationship (yours, theirs, or both) to a breaking point.

2. You might face financial and legal concerns during a fallout.

Perhaps the messiest part of dealing with a cheating partner is the realization that if someone’s cheating on you, they might be stealing from you, too. No one thinks that the old relationship saying "what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine" extends to things like bank accounts when your partner is stepping out on you.

Of course, not every cheater will go to the extreme of stealing money, too. But it is possible. If it happens to you, the financial mess could take years to climb out from, if ever. The same goes for things like opening and maxing out credit card accounts, bank loans you might not know about and selling assets like jewelry or family heirlooms.

Consider protecting assets, legally. What happens if a cheating partner decides to leave? They probably have some assumption as to what they’re entitled to; where does that leave you? Plan ahead.

Consider what you need to do to protect your family home, the welfare and custody of your children or pets, and other assets. Conflict doesn't usually bring out the best in people. If things get dirty between you and your cheating partner, you want to make sure you’re protected well enough to carry on in providing adequately for your family.

At some point, the "we" becomes "me".

RELATED: Why Infidelity Is So Painful To The Betrayed Spouse

3. You have an emotional fallout.

Dealing with a cheating partner on a regular basis can cause intense feelings of humiliation, anger, and sadness. After all, your relationship wasn't supposed to be like this, was it? And the stress of keeping it all inside so that everything still looks great to the outside world can make you sick.

You’re left making implausible excuses because he breaks plans, misses events, and has become unreliable and unpredictable to friends, family members, and even your own kids.

Life gets even more complicated when the affair is with someone you know and still more damaging when everyone else in town knows about it, too. The whispers, looks of pity, and gossip can be enough to drive the average person insane.

The emotional burden can color other interpersonal relationships as well as all other aspects of life. An affair can be an emotional minefield for the partner being cheated on. How on earth can you carry on an ordinary daily life living in the same house if you know they're cheating on you?

If you’re emotionally drained by the aftershocks of an affair, chances are good your boss or your kids (or both!) will notice. You might think you’re doing a passable job faking it but you might actually be off your game.

Talking to a qualified therapist or good friend (who can be discreet!) can take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Self-care is critically important.

4. You feel burdened by the infidelity.

Being the partner who’s being cheated on is a hard role. There are a lot of things that can happen to make it even harder. For example, what if he’s bringing her home to your house to fool around? Or what if she’s already introduced him to your children without your knowledge?

It’s up to you to decide how long you’re willing to bear the infidelity.

The toll it takes on your physical, financial, and emotional well-being varies from person to person, but trusted friends and professionals (like physicians, attorneys, and accountants) can help you manage the most unpleasant aspects while still protecting yourself as much as possible.

It’s most important to remember though, that whatever happens isn’t your fault. You didn't ask for any of this. You might be stuck dealing with it now, but that doesn't mean it’s forever.

RELATED: Why Emotional Cheating Hurts More For Women Than Physical Cheating

C. Mellie Smith and her blog Infidelity Healing specializes in providing her readers with tips and tools to survive infidelity. With her expertise and studies, she hopes to help others rise from their struggles even stronger than before. You CAN get past this! Visit Infidelity Healing to get started building towards a happier, healthier marriage.