Typical midlife crisis affair - you've been married for years, and one day your husband (or wife) comes home and tells you that he doesn't love you anymore ... that he is seeing someone else ... and that he is moving out. What about you? What about the children ... the house ...the insurance ... the cars? What about all the things that you've worked for together all these years? What do you do?
Here at midlifebachelor.com, I am asked for advice every single week from someone
in this exact situation ... on the opposing side of a spouse who is likely going through a midlife crisis. The majority of them are women in their forties and fifties ... but sometimes I get asked for advice by a husband whose wife is leaving him. They all want to know what to do. My advice in cases like this has evolved over the past seven years, and is pretty similar across-the-board ... because it takes into account HOW TO KNOW if the affair has actually occurred ... all of the various REASONS WHY the infidelities can happen ... what you need to do in order to RECOGNIZE and ACCEPT the current situation, and then what proactive STEPS YOU CAN TAKE in order to successfully recover from this situation, in the shortest amount of time possible ... and also to ensure that you learn enough that this sort of thing NEVER HAPPENS TO YOU AGAIN.
First, you need to know for sure if you have actually been cheated on. You don't want to jump to any unnecessary conclusions - so there are a number of different types of proof to consider, including solid proof versus eyewitness versus circumstantial. You can also ask your partner if he or she has cheated on you, too - but is that wise? What kind of answer would you expect, and how should you react? This is what I mean when I say there is a lot to this first step of knowing with certainty whether you've actually been cheated on. More on this in a bit - as it is actually a science in and of itself.
Second, in order to actually start your healing process, you need to understand specifically why this infidelity happened to you. The likelihood of cheating increases under certain conditions, and you need to learn what those conditions are, and how they apply to your relationship. Plus - in all cases, an infidelity results from a COMBINATION of things ... such as your own actions or inactions, your partner's actions, and / or issues that your partner is going through. You really have to look at the entire universe of possible causes, and then decide which ones apply in your specific case ... only then can you truly hope to understand why this midlife crisis affair happened to you. Again - understanding WHY is a huge topic ... and I'll go into a lot more detail shortly.
After you know for sure the midlife crisis affair occurred, and also how or why it happened to you, the next phase of your recover revolves around RECOGNITION and ACCEPTANCE of 10 UNIVERSAL TRUTHS that apply in all such situations. Here is a very short summary of the first two ...
THINGS TO RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT
- You cannot change someone else's feelings. You can want or pray or beg for someone to change their feelings toward you, but in the end - it is completely up to them (not you). You cannot control anyone's actions or feelings other than your own. The best thing to do is to conserve your energy and your dignity as you move forward through the process in front of you.
- Try not to take this midlife crisis affair too personally. This I, myself, struggled a lot with during my own divorce - my marriage ended when my wife cheated on me. I took everything extremely personally, and it ripped my heart and soul apart at the time. I later decided (after seeing similar things happen to many others) that things like this simply happen ... often to very good people ... and I've concluded that the faster you divorce yourself from taking this personally, the faster you will recover both mentally and emotionally.
Yes - there are actually 8 more THINGS TO RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT, but the above two are a good start - for now. Once you know for sure the midlife crisis affair actually happened, and then have studied and decided upon why the affair happened to you, in your particular case, and then after recognition and acceptance of the ten universal truths about adulterous affairs ... then and only then will you have your foundation or launch pad for a successful recovery. And from that launch pad, there are actually 16 specific actions you must take in order to successfully recover. This is how I envision your recovery taking shape:
Actions to Take Immediately
Every single request for advice that comes into ASK MIDLIFE BACHELOR concerning a midlife crisis affair and pending divorce asks WHAT DO I DO?
Well here are the first two (of 16 total) ACTIONS TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY ... which I only briefly explain here, but will go into much more depth later on:
- Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. This short but very wise statement should guide every single action you take during this difficult period in your life.
- Focus on making one decision at a time. This "action" comes from one of the women on our Midlife Forum - and it means just be deliberate with everything you do. Think each decision through, and focus on getting through each hurdle as it happens. Try not to get overwhelmed - each decision is one small part of the overall process.
Yes - there are exactly 14 more ACTIONS TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY ... those plus the first two actions above are not brief, and won't fit in a one page article here. This article is more of an introduction to the whole topic of how to recover from having been cheated on. There is actually an entire science behind recovering from the situation you are in ... and I'm here to tell you that you can recover, you can get past it all, you can overcome the obstacles created by your cheating significant other ... but it is a process that will take you several months, at the very least. I will take you through the entire recovery process, via my new e-book entitled,
After the Infidelity - How to Successfully Recover from Having Been Cheated On
The reason I created this 134 page book was to help people in your exact situation recover, and find happiness. Recovery doesn't happen overnight - it is a process that begins just the way I outlined and introduced it above ... but there are a lot more steps involved in recovery from infidelity. By reading it, you will benefit from the past seven years of experience that I've had helping women and men get through these difficult adulterous situations, and ultimately find peace and happiness in their lives ... whether or not they continue to stay married to the person who cheated on them.
For now, let me leave you with one more very important thought. Believe it or not, you are square in the middle of the most significant personal growth phase of your entire life - it is pretty much all up to you in terms of how you recover, and how quickly it happens. Better times await you - I promise.
The e-book described above will take you there, and help you develop your own personal recovery plan - which you can use and refer to for years ... to ensure you never forget, and to keep you far away from individuals and/or situations that increase the likelihood of extra-marital affairs happening.
In addition to the e-book, be sure to also consider joining our Midlife Forum
here on midlifebachelor.com. That's an online discussion forum where people in their 30s/40s/50s and sometimes their 60s discuss all things related to dating (or returning to dating after having been married then divorced), cheating, etc. We'd be happy to have you among our group, if you wish.