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What to do in the days after discovering an affair?

Finding out that your partner has had an affair is a shocking and painful discovery.

Knowing how to proceed over the next few days will be crucial in figuring out how you will move forward with your relationship. An affair does not always mean the end of a relationship, but there will certainly be changes.

Many couples feel that relationship counselling is the right next step for them in the journey to restoring their relationship. Remainly helps couples rebuild their relationships and improve their communication skills with expert advice and counselling. Seeking professional help is something important to consider when attempting to deal with infidelity in your relationship.

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An affair can be an earthquake that shakes your whole word. Here, we take a look at the initial steps that can be taken when a partner is unfaithful.

Take time to process and accept your emotions

You will feel a whole range of emotions in the days after an affair. Overwhelming feelings of anger, confusion and devastation are common. You should give yourself time to process these emotions and begin working through them. Accept that it may be a long process; these emotions will not go away overnight. Acknowledging their presence and not letting them consume you will be helpful.

Giving yourself time will stop you from making any big decisions before you’ve had time to talk with your partner and decide what will happen next.

Letting yourself have an initial emotional outburst may help stop you from needing to emotionally explode later down the line. During this initial stage, it can also be wise to postpone involving others, possibly with the exception of one, close confidante. If you involve your whole network at this time, you will regret it later.  

Tips for regulating your emotions

If you find it challenging to regulate your emotions, there are some simple things you can try to calm down your mind and help you back to a healthier mindset. Breathing exercises are useful in getting your body and mind to slow down and be present. Going on a solitary walk can also help give your mind a moment to be peaceful, while also getting you away from the difficult situation for a moment. Writing down your feelings can be cathartic and will help you to articulate overwhelming emotions.

A man sat by the sea on his own

Find effective methods of communication

Working through the discovery of an affair will hinge on effective methods of communication. In the days following a discovery, you will need to have many uncomfortable and difficult conversations.

Upon finding out about an affair, many people will shut down. While it is important to give yourself time to react and process all the emotions you may be feeling, it is also necessary to start having conversations to figure out where you both stand and what will happen next. Knowing the best ways to communicate can help make things less painful.

Trying to find ways to communicate peacefully will be necessary. Sit apart or not facing each other if you feel you need distance while talking.

Make sure both parties are giving the discussion their full attention. Step away from phones and other screens to show you are ready to give your time and attention to the conversation. Schedule dedicated times to talk to make sure you both have enough time to say what you need to say.

Contain the crisis

Between the two of you, after the initial shock is over, agree on how much you will tell your children, family and friends, and which details will stay private. Containing the details until you are ready to share more will give you time to work through your emotions and plan what will happen in the future without outside influences getting involved.

Establish safe zones

Having moments in the day where you do regular everyday things will be essential to make sure that neither party burns out. Too much discussion about hurtful things can lead to becoming emotionally overwhelmed; this will prevent any constructive discussions from occurring.

Establish points in the day for talking about the affair and safe zones where you aren’t actively working through the crisis.

A couple in a field

Find out what happened

This stage will be different for every couple. For some, it may be a month-long process; others may go over the details of the affair in the first couple of days.

Finding out everything that happened in the affair will be painful. Generally, you should try not to ask about every tiny detail at first as this will only increase further pain. Asking questions about sex should also be avoided at this stage..

Making a timeline of what happened can be an unpleasant but helpful task in understanding what actually happened over the course of the affair. How detailed this timeline is will depend on how much the hurt partner wants to know.

Reacting to an affair will be a long and painful process. Hopefully, these initial steps will help you move in the right direction in the immediate aftermath.

If your relationship is struggling from the discovery of an affair and you are considering professional counselling, Remainly can help. Our expertly guided video pathways will lead you through the steps needed in order to restore your relationship.

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