The covers of tabloids are always full of the latest infidelity scandal involving some well-known person; be it a politician, a movie star or an athlete.
While they show the world the awful things that the celebrity did, they typically ignore the feelings of the betrayed spouse. Not only are they coming to grips with the hurtful behaviors of their spouse, they are faced with the embarrassment and shame of having the entire world as a spectator to their personal pain.
Most likely, if you are in a relationship where your spouse cheated, it will not be front page news. You don’t have to worry about wondering if the neighbors saw the paper, if the reporters are going to follow you around, if your personal life is about to become fodder for public amusement.
But the feelings are still the same, and your personal shame will feel very public. You may find yourself walking through a store and wonder if people could tell that you had been betrayed.
Can your co-workers see on your face that something horrible has happened? What will other people think about you now? You can lose yourself in the worry about what other people think of you based on the actions that your spouse took.
|Getting Past the Shame|
Don’t fall into that trap. It’s destructive and self-defeating. First of all, no one knows. Chances are good that no one would ever know unless you (or your wayward spouse) choose to tell them. While you may be obviously sad, or upset, without you giving other people the details, they’ll have no idea.
It is important to come to grips with the reality: your spouse cheated. Give yourself a time limit for being in shock, and then it will be time to start putting things back together. Set a date (2 or 3 days, max) to wear pajamas, eat copious amounts of ice cream and go through a couple boxes of tissues. During those couple of days you can cry, yell, or sit in silence.
At the end of your shock deadline, put your attention on getting past the shame of what happened. The fault for another’s actions can only lie with that person. Trying to figure out why they did it to you or how they could betray you will only use up time and energy; you will come up with very little in the way of answers.
Regardless of what reasons and excuses were used to get to the point of cheating, the truth is that your spouse is the one responsible for their actions. Don’t take the shame of the situation on yourself – you are not the one who cheated.
Once you have confronted your new reality and have worked through the pain of realizing it is not your fault, you can start to make changes and decisions about how to move forward. It is possible to recover and move on. The pain will linger and it will take time, but you can do it.