How do you cope when you find out your husband is cheating? There is no simple answer. Webster’s dictionary has two definitions of the word “cope”. One is “to struggle or deal, on fairly even terms with some degree of success”. The second one is “to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, successfully or in a calm or adequate manner.” My definition of cope is to survive by any means necessary.
Up to two months ago I had always thought that women who stayed with a cheating spouse were crazy but now I understand them. It has been almost two months now since my husbands affair came into light. I had to find out on my own. The first day I cried, or rather, sobbed and slept a lot. My eyes remained puffy and swollen and in that first week after finding out I lost 9 pounds. My only coping mechanism was to cry and sleep, that seemed to be all I could do. During the second week I had this insatiable need to know every sordid little detail. I grilled him like a detective would his suspect, convinced that the more I knew the less it would hurt. The truth was the more I found out the more pain and betrayal I felt. All of our friends were really “his” friends so I quickly lost my support group. I turned to my family, mostly telling them only bits and pieces. I wanted to spare them from my pain but needed them badly.
Looking for something to really help me cope with how I was feeling, I turned to my MP 3 player. Music is healing. I found a song that seemed to be speaking out of my heart. It was as if the singer’s voice was really my voice and I was expressing myself openly and honestly to my husband, something I had yet to find a way to do. Finally I realized that I wasn’t able to express myself because in order to cope with his cheating and my broken heart I had begun to shut down with him. Emotionally I was closed off, no longer letting him in; I didn’t feel like he deserved to see my pain. Mutually we’ve decided to end our marriage. Letting him continue to call himself my husband is something I no longer feel I can do. My wedding rings have not left the jewelry box since the day I found out.
There isn’t a day that goes by that a twinge of sadness doesn’t touch my heart. A song playing on the radio, or a memory of an event or a day we spent together, could even be as simple as walking by a picture of us. Any and or all of these things can sadden me. Each new day also seems to bring with it a coping mechanism. Some days I want to hear the sad songs, some I want to read and lose myself in someone else’s life. Journaling, walking, crying, talking, writing and even playing with my dogs are all ways I cope with the fact that my husband cheated on me. There is not just one way to cope. There are thousands and each of us just has to keep trying until we find out what works for us. To cope is to survive and every morning when I wake up I have to find a new way to do that. I may not always do it calmly or even adequately but I believe Webster’s would be proud because I am doing it with some degree of success.