Simply cheating won’t solve your problem. You can end your relationship in a better way.
If your relationship is over. It’s over. And yet you’re thinking about cheating to get out of it.
If you’ve already decided to end the relationship, why cheat?
There are three reasons why people believe cheating to get out of a relationship is a good idea.
- They’re afraid of telling their spouse that they want to end it.Owning up to the fact that you’re done with your marriage or relationship is difficult – especially if you’re afraid of how your mate will respond.
- They think their partner will end the relationship for them when s/he finds out.Cheating so that your spouse or partner will end the relationship for you is still avoiding owning up to the fact that you’re done.
- It’s the only “acceptable” reason to end your relationship.
It’s unfortunate, but true that many people believe that being miserable in marriage despite working on things is not enough of a reason to end things.
Despite these reasons, cheating to get out of a relationship is a bad idea. It may solve your immediate issue of wanting out, but your mate, your children (if you have any), your family, close friends, your community and especially you will suffer for your actions.
If you choose to cheat and after the initial thrill wears off, you’ll likely feel anxiety, guilt, shame, worry regret, confusion, embarrassment, and self-loathing when you contemplate how your actions impact those you love.
When your mate discovers your infidelity, they’ll feel the stabbing pain of betrayal. They will begin wondering what part of the relationship they had with you was real and which part was a lie. The torture they’ll experience will be beyond words.
And because of their excruciating pain, they’ll lash out at you. It’s likely that you’ll get your wish and they will end your relationship, but it won’t be pretty. They’ll want to make sure you pay for the pain you’ve caused them.
They’ll probably also torture themselves in a variety of ways as they try to come to terms with your lies about your love for them.
But your partner isn’t the only one who will judge you for cheating to end your relationship. Your in-laws, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and even your children will look down on you for your behavior.
Although you may achieve your goal of ending your relationship if you cheat, the long-term repercussions to you (and likely to your spouse/partner as well as others you care about) will be deleterious.
So, instead of cheating to get out of your relationship, the best thing you can do is prepare to have a courageous conversation with your mate to share your truth. As uncomfortable as it is to contemplate telling them that you’re ready to end the relationship, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
If you’ve been afraid to tell them you want to end your marriage, what is it that you’re truly afraid of? Hurting them? Feeling guilty? What they will do?
If you’re afraid of what they’ll do when you tell them it’s over, then you need to prepare for the worst reaction and hope for the best. You might even need help telling them you’re leaving and that’s OK. The point is that you’re being honest about what’s best for you.
If you’re afraid of hurting them, there’s no way around that if they want the relationship. However, you can minimize the hurt they feel by being honest and direct about things being over. And when you do your best to minimize the pain you cause them, you’ll have fewer feelings of guilt.
If you’re hoping that your partner/spouse will end the relationship for you, you’re disrespecting yourself and them. When you manipulate someone else to make your decisions for you, you’re not behaving in an ethical manner which hurts both of you.
If you’re loath to break your marriage vows of for better or worse and ‘til death do us part, but you’re miserable in your marriage, then you need to do some soul searching.
For a marriage work, both spouses need to work to maintain it. You can’t do it on your own and you don’t need to remain miserable.
Regardless of the reasons you are considering cheating to end your relationship, if things are over for you, then they’re over.
The kindest and most ethical way you can end your relationship for yourself and your mate is not by choosing to cheat, but by having an honest, direct and respectful conversation with them.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. I help people make it through their divorce journey and create a happy post-divorce life. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
Looking for more information about the repercussions of cheating? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Surviving Infidelity.
These 13 steps will help you figure out how to heal from divorce heartbreak.
Going through a divorce is one of the most agonizing experiences you’ll ever face. And when you’re going through it, you’ll yearn for answers to your nearly incessant questions:
- How can I heal my divorce heartbreak?
- Will I hurt like this forever?
- Will I ever feel normal again?
- Can I survive this?
Logically you know that others have been through divorce and survived. So, there must be a way for you to get through it too.
But emotionally, you’re not so sure you’re going to make it.
Yet you will make it.
And although the exact way for you to heal from your divorce heartbreak will be unique to you, there is a general path to follow for your healing and restoration.
The following 13 steps are the most helpful ones for finding your direction as you figure out how to heal divorce heartbreak and feel normal again.
- Have compassion for yourself.You can’t force, cajole or talk yourself into getting over your divorce. You have to go through it and feel the heartbreak.
It’s an exhausting process. Your ability to function physically and mentally will decrease dramatically as you wrestle with this dramatic change in your life. You may even have problems sleeping and eating.
With all the stress you’re going through, you’ll need to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. When you do, you’ll discover that you’ll slowly begin to have the energy for your healing journey.
- Allow yourself to grieve.
One of the aspects of divorce that most people are surprised by is the intensity and depth of grief they experience.
There are so many things both large and small that you lose when you divorce. So, it makes sense that you will feel bad about saying goodbye to them.
Allow yourself to grieve and let out all the disappointment and sadness about your divorce instead of bottling it up or trying to rationalize it away. It’s OK to cry – a lot. In fact, it’s probably necessary for your healing.
- Maintain as many of your routines as possible.It can seem like divorce turns your entire world upside down. Your living situation has changed. Your responsibilities have changed. Your financial status has changed. Your marital status has changed. The list of changes goes on and on.
However, if you can keep a few of your routines unchanged, then you’ll have pockets of “normal” that you can retreat to instead of remaining caught up in the whirlwind of change.
- Redefine the meaning of forever for yourself.
You probably took your marriage vows seriously and meant it when you said something like “until death do us part.” When you got married, you were in it forever.
However, getting divorced means that forever isn’t going to happen for this marriage.
Rather than beating yourself up because you didn’t have a fairy tale marriage that made it to the mythical destination of happily ever after, you can think about what forever meant in terms of your marriage.
Maybe it meant until the death of the marriage, or until your love died, or until your relationship ran it’s course, or something else entirely. The point is that the gentler you are about accepting the end of your marriage without unnecessarily judging yourself harshly, the easier time you have finding your unique path to healing your divorce heartbreak.
- Don’t seek your happiness in the past.
Part of getting over your divorce is trusting that you will feel happy again. The past is the past and you may have been very happy for the majority of your marriage, however you can’t live in the past. So, as uncomfortable as it is, going through the tumult of your emotions and the repercussions of your divorce is the only way you’ll find happiness again.
And the reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past is not near as important as what’s in your future. – Joel Osteen
- Vent to family, friends, your therapist or divorce coach.
Taking your anger, fear and upset out on your ex or yourself will just keep you trapped in the misery of your divorce instead of helping you heal.
Although, you don’t want to bottle your emotions up. You do need to express them. Just choose the appropriate people to express them to so they can help you process them.
- Find your center and remind yourself that you are loved and lovable.
One of the most difficult thoughts that nearly everyone who divorces struggles with is wondering if they’re lovable or not.
The truth is that you are loved. Even if your ex doesn’t love you any more, you have plenty of family and friends who do.
It’s also true that you are lovable. If you weren’t, your friends and family wouldn’t love you.
So when you struggle with thoughts of being unanchored because you aren’t married, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you are loved and lovable. Then, treat yourself with love.
- Reaffirm your values.
When you get divorced, your whole perspective of life can shift. It’s natural to begin questioning what’s truly important to you. And when you take the time to gain clarity about what you want out of life and how you want to interact with others, you’ll begin finding your way forward toward creating a meaningful life for yourself post-divorce.
- Stop fighting with your ex, reframe your anger and aim for indifference.
Many exes see each other as adversaries and the source of the immense pain and anger they are feeling. When you react from pain, you lash out.
Instead of remaining in the pain, you can work through it by expressing your anger in more helpful ways than arguing with your ex. When you persist in arguing, you are still controlled by the connection you have with your ex instead of letting the connection go.
You’ll know you’ve let the connection between the two of you go when you feel indifference toward your ex.
- Take responsibility for your part.
This is a tough concept to deal with. The reason that taking responsibility for your part in the end of your marriage is important is because it allows you step out of being a victim of your divorce and allows you to become the hero in your healing story.
- Forgive yourself and your ex – you can’t change the past.
When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that you approve of what they did. It just means that you’re choosing to no longer be controlled by it.
- Envision a new life for yourself without your ex by reconnecting with your dreams
Remember how you dreamed about what you wanted for your life before you married?
Remember how you chose to put those dreams to the side for the sake of your marriage?
Well, now’s the time to dust those dreams off. See which of them still inspire you. Allow yourself to have new dreams and goals for yourself too.
When you start can imagining a new life for yourself that doesn’t include your ex, you’re truly breaking free from the heartbreak of divorce.
- Create meaning from your losses. – can make you a better spouse in your next marriage
Being able to learn from your past so you don’t repeat it is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself as you figure out how to heal divorce heartbreak.
You might discover that because of your divorce, you’re no longer a co-dependent person.
You might discover that you can be a better spouse in your next marriage.
You might discover that you’re a better parent than you ever imagined you could be.
Whatever you learn about yourself as a result of your divorce, will be gifts that you couldn’t have received otherwise. Use these gifts to make your life after divorce great.
At some point as you’re working through these 13 steps, you’ll realize that your divorce is no longer the most important thing about you. And the exact moment you realize this will be when you’ll know that you have healed from your divorce heartbreak.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. I help people with their journey of healing from divorce heartbreak. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And if you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
Looking for more information about having a great life after divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Dealing With Grief.
You’ll need to be proactive, but living a great life post-divorce is totally worth it.
You might not believe it now, but that doesn’t make it any less true. You can have a better life after divorce than you had when you were married. It probably won’t happen for you right away, but it will happen – if that’s what you truly want.
You’ll have to really want it because you’ll have to work for it. A great life post-divorce won’t be handed to you on a silver platter no matter how much you wish it would be.
A few of the things you’ll need to be proactive about to have a better life after divorce include:
- Grieve what was and what will never be.When you divorce, you say goodbye to a lot – your marriage, your lifestyle, seeing your children every day, and your dreams of happily ever after with your spouse to name just a few. You need to mourn all of it before you can fully move on.
- Let go of feelings of failure, blame, regret and guilt through compassion and forgiveness.Letting go of the painful feelings means that you work through them – not ignore them or stuff them down. It’s only by coming to terms with your emotions and the thoughts behind them that you’ll find the emotional freedom you’re looking for.
- Feel grateful for what you do have and can do by releasing resentment for what you can no longer do or don’t have.When you focus on what you don’t have or can no longer do, you’re living in the past and ignoring the present. Your life is happening in the present, so when you ignore it you’re not really living and can’t be happy.
- Gently remind yourself of why you divorced and learn what you can from it.Divorce is heartbreaking and it’s natural to feel sad about the end of your marriage. However, there was a reason you divorced, and that reason had to do with the fact that you and your ex weren’t both happy in your marriage.
And that’s OK because you both deserve to be happy now. The way to find happiness now is to learn from what didn’t work in your marriage and use that knowledge to make your life better now.
- Rediscover who you are before you find another partner.In marriage, it’s not uncommon that you compromised away bits and pieces of yourself to keep the peace and make your relationship less volatile. However, now that you’re divorced, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with yourself before entering another relationship.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have any relationships until you feel like yourself again. It just means that you don’t get into another “permanent” one yet.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
- Create a plan for your future that excites you.When you’re excited about where you’re headed in your life and you’re consistently and persistently working toward it every day you’ll feel happy. And when you take the time to celebrate each of your victories and learnings along the way, you’ll know the meaning of the saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters.”
- Look at the challenges you face as opportunities.
Just because you’ve chosen to have a better life after divorce than you had during your marriage, expecting that you’ll never face another challenge is unrealistic.
However, if you can look at each challenge you face as an opportunity to either course correct or learn something, you’ll be much more likely to continue having a great life instead of getting derailed by the inevitable problems of living.
- Ask for help when you need it.
There’s absolutely no reason why you should even consider living your life without the support of others. So, ask for assistance when you need it and be willing to give it in return when someone asks for your help.You’ll find that when you interact with people in meaningful ways that you’ll develop deeper and more satisfying relationships which will definitely make your life even more rich and wonderful.
As you can see from this list none of the items on it are impossible to achieve. But they will take effort on your part.
And even if doing this work is difficult or takes longer than you thought it would, having a better life after divorce is worth every single ounce of proactive effort it takes.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. I help people figure out how to have a better life after divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
Looking for more information about having a great life after divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Life After Divorce.
When you stop feeling victimized and start feeling happy, you’ll be able to move on with your life.
No matter how you look at it, all divorces are unfair.
Is it fair that you’ve devoted x number of years to trying to make your marriage work only to wind up divorced? No.
Is it fair that you’re now paying child support instead of living with your children? Absolutely not.
Is it fair that s/he has already moved on with their life and you’re still in so much pain? No way in H#LL!
There’s nothing fair about divorce. But there’s a problem living with nearly constant thoughts of how unfair your divorce is. You will remain bitter, resentful and unhappy.
And when you remain in these emotions, you’ll be nearly unrecognizable to yourself and those you love. You won’t be the same fun, positive, energetic person you were before all of this happened.
Just in case you’re wondering if how you’re dealing with the unfairness of your divorce is really all that bad, here are some of the tell-tale signs that you’re focusing too much on the unfairness:
- Complaining to anyone who will listen about how unjust things are.
- Talking about your ex or the court or whomever you blame for the unfairness and who you view as responsible for destroying your life
- Allowing yourself to focus on the past and continue to fume about the injustice of it all
The solution for finding yourself and your happiness again is to use the emotions you feel when you think about the iniquity of your divorce as the fuel you need to begin taking constructive action that will build your future and move you forward.
Here is one strategy you can use to get over an unfair divorce:
- Quickly list all the things that are unfair about your divorce.
Doing this quickly is key here. You want to touch on the unfairness, but you don’t want to get sucked into dwelling on it.
To help you get started, here are a few of the unfair things my clients have dealt with.
S/he hid a lot of money when they were planning to divorce me. And now they’re living the easy life and I’m stuck scrounging for every penny!
S/he won’t actively participate in co-parenting. They’re waiting for me to make every decision and then complaining about the decisions I make!
S/he is still trying to control me. They’re threatening to take the children from me unless I agree to what they want.
- Identify which emotions you would rather have right now.
Hopefully this step is fairly easy for you and the emotions you would rather have center around feeling happy again.
- Quickly list all the things that you are happy about.No matter how unfair things are with your divorce, you can find things to be genuinely happy about. Maybe it’s that you’re healthy, or that your kids are amazing, or that you’re not married to your ex anymore.
- Now look at each of the items on your list from step 1 and ask yourself “What’s one thing I can do about this item to move me forward?”It can be difficult to come up with action steps when you’re mired in the iniquity of the situation. So, here are some examples of things you might consider doing.
Call your attorney. Just remember that if you choose to do this that there will be a cost in doing so, so be clear that calling your attorney will be worth the cost.
Decide you want to increase your income and figure out what you need to do to make that happen. Maybe you need to take a second job or start a side gig. Maybe you can go back to school. Maybe you can ask your boss for a raise.
Spend time every day being grateful for what you do have. Sometimes shifting your focus to the positive can make all the difference in your outlook.
Establish and communicate the boundaries needed with your ex. This is important if you’re feeling manipulated or controlled by your ex. (Here’s an article to help you get started.)
- Get into action to take your life back
Begin working on at least one of the ideas you came up with from the previous step. The longer you remain focused on how unfair things are, the longer you’re letting your ex continue to control you and the longer it will take you to get over your unfair divorce. You’ll be spending the majority of your time and energy focused on what has already happened instead of using it to live your life.
In some ways it feels really good to know that it’s not your fault that things are the way they are for you now and to vilify the one(s) responsible. However, if you’re not doing anything to move yourself forward from the unfairness and victimhood, then that is your fault.
And the beautiful thing about being able to take some responsibility for moving yourself forward from where you are now is that you will start to feel better and much less bitter.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach. I help people navigate all the challenges of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.