How do you survive infidelity? How can you ever live with the fact that your spouse has betrayed you? You trusted your spouse more than anyone else in the world. And for this reason it can be impossible to comprehend that anyone could ever make it through something this horrendous. And yet, many spouses who have lived through this painful experience testify that they have, and they are now actually doing well. You can survive infidelity!
Despite feeling absolute despair, please hang onto the hope that you will survive this infidelity and get to a better place in your life. It can, and I’m praying and believing for you, that it will happen. But for right now, just making it through one minute at a time is the task at hand. Your heart has suffered a horrible attack, and you need to address it as such, one step at a time.
A Blindsided Attack
One minute everything in your relationship appears to be going along good and “normal.” Yes, you had some problems; but who doesn’t? But then you’re blindsided by this painful revelation —the likes of which, you can’t even put into words. If you could liken it to anything it would be a severe, paralyzing attack directed straight into the depths of your heart! The moment you found out that your spouse cheated on you in this way, NOTHING looked, felt, or functioned the same. Pain, fear, and confusion pierced your heart, and absolutely EVERYTHING you thought you knew previously changed in a nano-second.
Attack on Your Heart
You experienced a massive attack on your heart the moment this devastating news was revealed to you. It can be likened to suffering a physical heart attack. It’s a type of paralyzing stroke against every aspect of your marital relationship that you ever thought you knew. How could someone you so deeply trusted, and gave every part of your being to, cheat on you, and betray your trust? It’s almost as if your spouse took an eraser to wipe out your feelings and turned completely away, ignoring all of the history you’ve ever had together. How could he/she do something this cruel to you? How do you survive infidelity, and cheating on this level? It’s difficult to even start to wrap your mind around all of this.
It’s not only that you had a heart attack, but your spouse —your marital partner stabbed you in the heart with this news.
Learn to Survive Infidelity
As difficult as it is, things will now be different within your relationship “from this day forward.” You will have to learn how to survive this, then create a new type of “normal” for your life. The purity of the love you had is now gone, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost. You can survive infidelity. A new foundation can be built, and new love can grow in its place as you lean upon the Lord to help and guide you.
You CAN come out of this stronger, and healthier, than you ever could think possible at this time. I’ve seen it happen many, many times. I witnessed this in my mom’s life, after my dad had an affair, and tore her heart and our home apart. They eventually reconciled and built a good, and very loving marriage. I’ve also seen it happen with many, many others (relatives, friends, and acquaintances). The betrayed spouse eventually learned how to survive infidelity and then thrive, despite all that happened, when they fought against embracing bitterness.
God can give you a new heart, a new hope, and a healthier future than you could ever imagine possible right now. But it will take leaning upon Him, and doing what He shows you, to get to that healing place.
Our Great Physician
Just as a surgeon often times has to cut away dead tissue so the new can grow in it’s place, God, as our Great Physician, has to do the same thing. God says in His word, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you…” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Through His Holy Spirit —our Wonderful Counselor, He can guide you to the help you need. The dead and hurting emotions you feel right now, can be cut out, worked through and healed. But you must lean into the work that needs to be done, for this to be accomplished.
I won’t kid you, this won’t happen without more tears being shed than you ever thought possible. A lot of painful work will need to be done. And here is the unfairness of it all. YOU didn’t commit the actions of betrayal, but YOU are the one who will have to pay the highest price to get to a place of recovery. Sadly, those who shouldn’t have to, often suffer the most. That’s the reality of what happens as a result of living in a fallen world.
And just as it is true with heart attack victims —you will also have to put forth horrendous effort to get to a healthy place. The important thing is to lean into the healing. It will be painful, but as they say, without pain, there really is no gain. It’s not just a saying, it is reality.
Everything will be shaky, especially at first. Sometimes you will fall, or even appear to go backward in your progress. But eventually, as you persevere, you will get your footing, and you will move forward. Sometimes it will be two steps forward, and one step back, or visa versa. But prayerfully, you will eventually be falling forward instead of backward, and your strength build.
You might look at what I am saying here and think that you don’t have the strength. You also may simply do not want to do it. I don’t blame you. This is monumental to think about, but it’s not impossible.
Something that Peter Jenkins said, a number of years ago comes to mind. He was on a journey to walk across America. A reporter asked him to explain how he was able to do it. He said:
“I don’t look at the big picture —that’s too daunting. Instead, I look at what is right before me for this day. I do what it takes to get prepared; and I start the journey, taking one step at a time. Eventually I’m surprised at how far I’ve been able to go as I look back.”
Peter Jenkins did finish walking across America (and many other countries since). The journey was difficult in many ways; but with determination, and perseverance, he finished it successfully.
You also have a very difficult journey ahead of you. But don’t look at the big picture, take one day at a time and deal with each obstacle one step at a time as it comes. Lean into maturity and the outlook that you want to come out of this as healthy as it is possible. As they say, “that which will not kill you will make you stronger”… and this sure seems to apply here.
Help from an Infidelity Survivor
To help you with this journey, I encourage you to read through an article written by Anne Bercht. Anne is an infidelity survivor. She knows what it is like to grasp for “strategies” to help her survive infidelity from one minute to the next.
She has learned to survive infidelity so well, that she wrote a book titled, My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. It’s a book that you may want to obtain to read for yourself. I’m sure you will find many things that Anne writes about that you could find helpful.
Strategies for Survival
Below, you will find 10 strategies written by Anne Bercht to help you in your mission to survive. And then you will find another 17 to help, as well. I encourage you to read and glean through them to see what you can apply to your situation.
I pray the best for you —that God somehow brings redemption into this painful situation. I pray the Lord helps, comforts, ministers, and speaks to you in personal ways. May He infuse hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days —ones that will make you smile.
“Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright.“ (Psalm 112:4)
This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.
We welcome any encouraging marriage tips, and/or prayer requests that you can share below.
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