Once you find out about cheating, it can cut you so deep that it feels as though the pain will never go away. If you are the cheater you start to realize how getting sucked up in the moment can have tremendous consequences on your life. But what are the real aftereffects of cheating on a marriage? If you are staying together, it means trying to pick up the pieces and reestablish trust, no easy feat there. You may feel like you are in jail or constantly on trial in your own house. If you are the victim of cheating you’ll feel like you’re living with a criminal, someone who reminds you constantly of the betrayal, someone you are always suspicious of no matter what they are doing. It’s hard to reestablish trust and it takes lots of time.
If you aren’t staying together, realize that unless the assets were used to conduct an affair, no fault divorce laws in every state means that cheating has no legal bearing on the separation of assets. In Florida the law is such that if a husband was meeting a lover, let’s say at a hotel room using his and his wife’s shared account, if she can prove it she can recoup that money. Adultery may come into play in a custody battle if the lawyer can prove that it shows evidence of that person being a bad parent.
The psychological aftereffects of cheating after divorce are low self-esteem, anxiety, anger and the need for revenge, depression and for some a disconnect from reality. Sometimes you realize the affair all of a sudden and it ends the marriage. Sometimes it’s one person’s dirty little secret that the other knows about, but tolerates for a time. But sooner or later enough is enough. Either way when you find out you’ve been cheated on the pain can be overwhelming. And when it leads to a divorce it is compounded, especially if it is a long, drawn out and painful divorce with fighting over the assets or custody of the children.
Lots of people need to rest after that, reconnect with themselves, their friends, and their family. They have to get used to being divorced and being single again. There are lots of adjustments to be made. Where will you live? Do you have to go back to work? There’s the need for validation which usually comes from dating again or a rebound relationship. Am I attractive? Will others find me sexy? Sooner or later everyone gets over infidelity even if it leads to divorce. It’s a painful journey but light is at the end of that tunnel. Usually things fall into place in the long run. For more help with recovering from an affair, read the book, Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennis C. Ortman, Ph.D.