If you find yourself confronting the fact that your partner has cheated, it’s important to not make any rash decisions, says Zrenchik. Instead, take time to process what’s happened and what you want to do moving forward. Cooper emphasizes the importance of finding professional help from an individual therapist “to explore whether you want to work on this relationship. It’s totally normal to feel ambivalent about staying and leaving in the first stage post-discovery.”
One of the hardest things to deal with when discovering your partner’s betrayal is a lost sense of trust for all future partners. Whether you decide to stay or go, getting a trusted friend or therapist whom you can pour your heart out to or joining a support group is so important as you go through your own mourning process, Cooper says.
And there are ways to work on rebuilding the relationship if you choose, Zrenchik notes. “If desired, work on reestablishing commitment, trust, and respect with the other person, finding small things to do together, and allowing for hurt and pain to be present,” Zrenchik suggests.
It”s really important to take things slowly. Mourning isn’t some curriculum that should take a certain amount of time. The feelings will come in waves. Try not to be harsh with yourself if you reach out to your partner for sex, for solace, or for comfort, while at other times you regard them as awful. Your body and mind are going through a lot, says Cooper, so have compassion for yourself.
And as a last note, Cooper recommends that you get an STI test to check your sexual health status in case you have been exposed. Even if your partner says it’s not necessary, it can be good for your peace of mind.