The worst thing that could ever happen to your life did: your spouse had an affair. Life as you know it has changed. You're probably wondering why this awful thing has happened to you and what you did to deserve it. Now that a bomb has gone off in your marriage, you have to respond in some way. What will you say to convey your pain without making a bad situation worse? Here are the steps you need to take to ensure that you get through this terrible tragedy as painless as possible.

Be careful who you tell about the affair.

It’s natural to want to confide in somebody about your husband’s affair, or rally friends and family to your side. However be cautious about who you tell the details to. Make sure you’re confiding in someone you know you can trust.

For example, confiding in a male friend about your husband’s affair could complicate your situation, because you are in a vulnerable state. Telling your husband’s friends or family may not produce the results you want, and they may grow to resent you or not believe you accusations.

Confiding in your own family and friends can eventually come back to haunt you. If you and your husband decide to reconcile, they could make things difficult by harboring anger and hostility toward him for what he did to you. They may even show resentment toward you for taking him back. While you do need someone you can lean on during this difficult time, just be thoughtful and wise about who you choose.

Make sure you have solid evidence.

Wrongly accusing your husband of cheating on you could absolutely destroy the marriage. Sometimes our intuition can be off and we jump to the wrong conclusion. Do you have cold, hard evidence of wrongdoing or just a creeping suspension? Nothing is more irritating than a spouse who is constantly questioning their partner's faithfulness.

Furthermore, when you do not have any physical proof it could simply give him a heads up to be more careful moving forward. If he is cheating, it gives him the chance to hide the other woman better so that you may never find proof. Only confront him if you are feeling confident in your suspension.

Take a moment to breathe.

This is hands down the hardest step to follow. It's important though to focus only on the facts and to not let your emotions control you. While yes, you are hurt beyond belief and feel that your whole life is crumbling in front of you, it's imperative that you only confront him when you are feeling calm and collected.

If you come at him screaming and crying, he will use it as an opportunity to walk out of the situation. This gives him time to get his story straight, leading you further away from the truth. If he tries to turn the focus of the conversation to your snooping, you can say something like "Yes, I admit snooping was wrong, however the facts show that I had a good reason to do so." From there, you can present the evidence.

Consult an attorney.

If, after confirming your spouse is cheating, you decide to divorce, consult an attorney. An attorney can give you advice regarding your legal options, your state’s laws pertaining to infidelity, and what your next move should be. Most states have no-fault divorce laws, but they also give judges great discretion when deciding divorce cases. Infidelity can play a role in what kind of divorce settlement you get, especially if your spouse has spent money on their affair partner. One important piece of advice any attorney will tell you is to not engage in conflict with your spouse, and especially not with the other woman.

Don't blame yourself.

Don’t take responsibility for your spouse’s cheating. It is normal for you to question yourself and your role in it, but ultimately, you are not to blame for their affair. Doubts about your value and worth as a spouse will cause you to second guess yourself because infidelity destroys its victim’s self-esteem. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically so you are better equipped to deal with the stress the divorce process brings with it.

Don’t chase after the other woman for answers.

One of the worst things you can do is become obsessed with the other woman. It’s natural for you to be curious about her, but she’s not worth your time and energy. You should focus that energy instead into restoring your marriage and getting it back on track, or on growing yourself. Stressing over every detail of what happened between the two of them will only drive you even crazier, and drilling your husband about her will only leave him feeling more frustrated. Do not humiliate yourself by trying to name call or belittle her, or leave yourself feeling broken by comparing yourself to her. Concentrate on working on your own mental health instead.

Will you end up sabotaging your marriage or saving it? The final outcome depends on the way you handle things when you first discover your husband’s affair. Whether you stay with your husband or leave him, following these key rules will clear the way for whatever decision you eventually make.

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