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.
• TEN STRATEGIES FOR INFIDELITY SURVIVAL
• 17 STRATEGIES TO COMBAT OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS
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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Filed under: Surviving Infidelity
6 responses to “Strategies to Survive Infidelity”
(ZIMBABWE) Thank you so much for the articles on this subject marriage. This is one of the critical areas in life that affects mostly women. Please advise. I have a friend whose husband left in 2004 for UK promising to take his wife and children when he settled. In 2006 he sold a vehicle without the knowledge of the wife. She only found a man coming with papers and affidavits signed by the husband selling the truck which the wife was using to take their daughter to school. If the house was not in both their names I am sure he would have sold it too.
As of now he is leaving with a girlfriend who is now pregnant with a second child. The husband only sent the child’s school but does not support the wife or provide transport money for the child. This friend asked for advice from me as what she should do now. She is really hurt and bitter and had opened up, that she misses companionship, to be admired, loved.
From 2004 up to 2009 she has been waiting for this man and now she is hurt as there is no hope of any future with this man. The lady is now 47 years of age. She hasn’t had an affair so far but she says she no longer wants to go on waiting for someone who does not love her. Your urgent advice will be appreciated please.
(USA) I believe your friend has every biblical reason to leave. Her “husband” has deserted them and has forsaken her for another woman, not even bothering to provide financially. To hold on to someone like this is to only invite more pain. He sounds to have no intention of staying married to her and has moved on to a different life. He has commited adultery and the Bible offers a place of protection for this.
Divorce has been abused in our worldly culture to mean something only given by man for anything we may not like about our spouse. From the way they smell to how annoying they are in the morning. But in a biblical sense, I believe divorce can be a place of protection for someone like your friend whose husband has commited adultery and has no intention of coming back from his sin and trying to rebuild the marriage. God wants us to live in freedom to love him and have a life that can bring some level of Christian joy. How can this happen for your friend if she can never move forward with her life when she is married but not “really” married as her husband is living with another woman? I think she should divorce him and pray that the Lord would bless her with either a Godly husband that would love her rightly, or just a single life that could be spared so much cruel, senseless pain.
(ZIMBABWE) I am one of the people who was betrayed by my husband. I can’t get over it because his mistress is always phoning me and telling me hurting words. My husband has apologised but denies he ever slept with this secretary. I am in such a painful situation and we are always quarreling over this issue. How may I get over it and know whether they have split or call off the affair? I need to forgive him and move on. Kindly assist.
(UNITED STATES) I have been betrayed and I don’t know what to do. I have been married a very long time and then boom out of the blue I get the news that my wife is seeing someone else.
This article really spoke to me; thank you for writing it. Its been about a month since my husband confessed and confirmed suspicions I’ve had for a while that he had broken his marriage vows. I really do feel like my heart has literally died. I believe in God and follow Jesus with all my heart. I know He has been with me through this whole thing, but I still feel like my heart, my loving muscle, has died. We’ve been married about 9 years and have three small children all under age 5.
He confessed that he paid for sex with a prostitute during a business trip three years ago. During the past three years, he has been so distant and unloving; now I know it was probably guilt. I confronted him before with suspicions, he was always very hurtful, telling me I was crazy and over sensitive, and if I kept asking and doubting him, it would surely drive him to an affair. Finally, after lying for years, he had an interview with our church leaders and it came out. I’m happy he’s finally admitting something, otherwise we could never move forward. But I’m so depressed.
I’ve tried to forgive; I’m really working on it, but my heart isn’t working. I’ve prayed, I’ve tried to give up this burden, but I feel a little hopeless. My church leader gave me the advice that I need to forgive as God forgives and forget, but I feel that level is so far from me. Sometimes I feel like I hate him. How could he be so selfish to destroy my heart for sex? It makes me feel worthless, unloved, taken for granted. I’ve also never been with anyone else, saved myself for him. And now I am scared to get myself checked for STDs. Again, how could he do this to me?
I need so much help from the savior, I’m so alone. How can I find enough energy or love in this dead heart to keep going? He is sorry, but doesn’t understand what he has done. He’s still so immature. How can I trust him to love me as I need to be loved? Sometimes it’s so tempting to give up. If I wasn’t sure giving up on my marriage would destroy these beautiful angel daughters I have, I would be sorely tempted to leave him. But I can’t do that to my kids. My parents divorced, and the greatest victims were us kids. I don’t know; I’m just shouting into the void, hoping to get a little comfort in all this pain. Thanks for listening.
Yes, I know it hurts. I will say that you are pretty lucky for your husband to confess his sins. wow!! But here it is, you have to forgive and let go not only for him but for yourself. Make a sincere list of all your sins before and after you met Christ. Yet He chose to wipe it off and remember it no more, and there you are…It’s hard to forgive and accept him wholeheartedly??? If you love your marriage and your soul, be strong to work this out. Be the man in this situation. Really, it could happen to anyone. You could have been the culprit here. So, keep your marriage, gather the broken pieces and give the marriage the life it should have.