We all enter love relationships with the hope it will last forever. But what should you do if the man you love betrays you? Talk to your girlfriends... or curl up with a gallon of ice cream... or vow to never fall in love again?
No, what you need is a simple plan to navigate these heart wrenching waters. Here is your 7 step roadmap to healing - a proven plan that has helped thousands of people get through the trauma of infidelity:
1. Don't Blame Yourself
With the Internet, Facebook, texting, and new sites popping up every day designed to help people cheat, there's more ways then ever before to get tempted to have an affair. Yet most faithful partners get tricked into thinking the affair was their fault - as least temporarily.
Let me tell you - it wasn't. We all have "free will" and your man - no matter how unhappy he might have been in the relationship - could have picked a behavior much more kind than cheating on you.
For starters, he could have talked to you about his dissatisfaction, or suggested counseling, or left you BEFORE getting involved with another woman. Yes you both may have contributed to a less than stellar relationship - but you didn't CAUSE his affair. That was his choice.
2. Realize Your Not Alone
For the last 4 years I've been conducting the largest study of infidelity in history. Know what I found? 91% of both men and woman report getting cheated on is the hardest thing they've ever gone through in their entire lives.
So if you're depressed, can't sleep, can't think of anything else, and feel like you'll never get back to your "normal" self again - you're in good company. But don't worry - infidelity is a trauma you will definitely get over, just like most of the people who go through it. You just need some patience...and the right approach.
3. Find Out The Reasons He Was Tempted
It's critical to find out exactly why he cheated - and it's usually for multiple reasons. Did you two not discuss proper "boundaries" when interacting with members of the opposite sex? Was it an ex-flame he had lingering feelings for? Does he have a history of cheating?
Some men are serial cheaters - these guys have a low likelihood of ever been faithful to ANY woman, no matter how great you are. Always find out if a man you're interested in has a history of infidelity - and if he does, steer clear... at least with your heart.
4. Witness His No Contact Letter
Here's something I've seen countless times in the people I help recover from infidelity. I tell them their partner needs to send an email, text, make a call to the other person breaking it off completely. But weeks later they find out the affair was continuing behind their back.
What gives? You have to understand that when someone is having an affair they are literally "drugged" with sexual hormones and are likely to do things they normally wouldn't - like lie straight to your face. The answer?
Make sure you see with your own two eyes the email or text, or hear the call yourself. And don't let your guard down just yet - he must work to earn your trust back before you should let your guard down again.
5. Demand Transparency
Until he's earned back your trust, you must demand his 100% transparency about what he's doing now. This is vital. It means you get free access to his email, cell phone, Facebook and any other accounts he may have. If he balks at this he's either still seeing the other woman - or he's a little boy who won't be bothered by your inconvenient emotions.
Either way, he's not the man for you. If he loves you and he's mature enough, he'll give you the access you need until you feel more secure.
6. He Must Spill The Beans
In order to feel safe again you need to get every question you have about the affair answered. Who was it with, when did it start, how long did it last, and all the lies he told to cover it up.
This is very difficult for a man to do - and when he does it he demonstrates that he values his relationship with you enough to leave his comfort zone and give you what you need to heal. Kudos.
7. Watch His Heart
If his heart is in the right place, there's a very specific emotion he'll feel and show you - remorse. He should feel real bad about betraying your trust and causing you so much pain. If he doesn't, then not only does he not appreciate your feelings - but it makes another affair more likely because he doesn't really "get it."
But remember, if you're continually yelling at him and pulling him through the ringer, he may act defensive and not give you the sympathy you need. So give him some space to express the remorse. If you're unsure he feels it, ask him in a calm way if he has remorse and share with him how hurt your feelings really are. His remorse is critical to the healing process.
Kevin Jackson, M.A., is an internationally recognized infidelity expert and the author of Survive His Affair - Why He Cheated And How To Heal Your Relationship. After being betrayed himself, he's made it his life mission to help as many couples as possible heal from the devastation of affairs.
His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Bloomberg Business Week, Yahoo Radio, and many other online outlets. His ground breaking research includes the largest study of infidelity in history. Over 20,000 people subscribe to his email newsletter. For more information on his online courses, click here to watch Kevin Jackson's Survive His Affair Video.