Nothing’s more painful and crushing than finding out that the man you promised to have and hold forever has not only cheated on you, but also lied to you. Your whole world can feel like it has come crashing down like a ton of bricks. Feelings of anger, fear and hurt no doubt will flood your system and along with the shattering news comes shattered dreams, hopes and expectations that you had for the future.

It’s only natural that any of us would feel lost, numb and will change your mind constantly about what you want next. Very often turn to other women for support and find that they’re asking themselves these same questions time and time again:

What’s wrong with me?

What has she got that I haven’t got?

Why did this happen to me?

How come I didn’t see the affair coming?

How could he lie to me?

Will I ever be able to trust any man again?

Will I ever feel good about myself?

Is my marriage over or could we get over this?

Am I unattractive or rubbish in bed?

How could I be so stupid not to notice?

Well, the first thing is this you wouldn’t be the first woman to ever have those thoughts – they’re totally normal. British Mums asked the advice of Nicola Beer, a relationship & connections expert based in Dubai who helps women going through this. Nicola is adamant that women should know that it’s their situation, that women are not stupid for not noticing and that there’s nothing wrong with you for not realising sooner. “Husbands cheat for various reasons, sometimes it’s because things are missing in the relationship but just as common it’s because the pull and excitement of someone new. Then there’s also sex addiction which is a behavioural issue; it’s an illness that needs to be treated. None of this can be your fault. And even if they did cheat because things were not going smoothly in the relationship, it was still a choice. How on earth could you be responsible for them making that conscious decision to cheat? You couldn’t you weren’t there and aren’t them!”

The healing process after an affair is not anything straight forward, although the first 6 months are no doubt one of the hardest times for anyone. “Many women I’ve helped come out the other end happier and stronger than they were before have found that when they gave themselves love, care and time to heal they felt better. Self-focus is important in your recovery after the affair and for the relationship if you want to save it” says Nicola.

So how can you help yourself heal after a cheating husband? Nicola’s got a tried and tested strategy for surviving inferiority and here, she shares it with us:

Give your Self-Esteem and Confidence a Boost

“If you are anything like me when I found out my partner had cheated I compared myself to every woman I saw. I felt my hair looked dull, my clothes were old, my teeth weren’t white enough and my stomach was bulging.  I’d look in the mirror with the sleepless nights and drink I consumed to “help” take in the news I looked a wreck, but the last thing I needed to hear was self-criticism. This made the news even harder to deal with.

So I changed things around and focused on ways to give myself a boost. I started running, even though I had never ran at the time before in my life I joined a group of women in Dubai (stride for life) it was called at the time and signed up for a half marathon. This was an instant mood and physical booster, I felt fit and powerful. There are so many clubs we can join in Dubai, check out meet up, timeout or the wellness, happiness and yoga  centres and find something that makes you feel good. Or you can even ask yourself what could boost yourself esteem right now?

Some women, after their husband’s cheating, treat themselves to some new clothes or shoes, visit a spa, get their teeth whitened or opt for a new hair style. What will make you feel better about yourself quickly? If you are really suffering to stop criticising yourself, then you may also want to invest in some hypnotherapy for releasing the past and loving yourself. I give these sessions regularly and they work wonders, as often are thoughts are driven by our sub-conscious mind and our negative thoughts come out to plague us during the night. A relaxing hypnosis session can enhance the way you feel about yourself. It only takes one session if the hypnotherapist is willing to record if for you, as you will be able to listen again and again for optimum results.”

Look after yourself physically

You may not feel like eating while surviving infidelity or you may feel like eating for comfort all the foods that clog your system. However right now Nicola insists that during this time, what your body needs is quality nutrition and plenty of rest. “I know it’s easier said than done, I turned to alcohol and it made me feel a whole lot worse. I’d wake up in the night tossing, turning and sweating and the morning was much harder. Naturally also my mind became weak. If you really can’t eat you are not alone, at least have protein shakes, soups and smoothies to help you get through it.”

Quiet time

You may well want to distract yourself completely by keeping busy, working excessively or running around your children, so you don’t have the chance to process and reflect. Whilst it’s good to keep busy, Nicola says “Be mindful that this also presses pause on the healing process, and so to heal properly we do need to allow ourselves to come to peace and reflect on our feelings.  Meditation can be great, walks, baths, somewhere you can slow down and just be helps the mind find stillness.”

Avoid Life-Changing Decisions When You’re In an Emotional Trauma

Many women (and men as well) approach Nicola for marriage counseling support after the discovery of an affair. Most want to know what action to take next: whether to stay or leave Dubai, whether to get divorced, whether to tell their children about the affair or what is going on. “Having worked with 100’s of women now through this one thing I know for sure is that it is important to not make any life altering decision while you are in the initial stages of surviving infidelity, still in a state of emotional trauma and shock. Even though you may feel like your situation is hopeless or that you have made up your mind why rush?  Those that give themselves time feel more relaxed and at ease than those that panic their way forward.

When it comes to telling children, you have to question your reasons for wanting to tell them. Some women want to tell the children so they don’t get the blame, or to punish the husband and make them pay for what they have done. This does not benefit the child, remember we learn about relationships and love from our parents. Children often worry, feel guilty or forced to take sides when they learn of affairs.

Then there is the relationship, many women completely end it in the emotion of the moment, only to find themselves later in a 2nd marriage to a man who is 2nd best. Later both spouses realise that they still love each other more than they can love anyone else and with the right help could have worked it out if only they tried. Wait and assess if you are unsure on what to do.”

Don’t let others tell you what to do

It’s great to be around people who love you. But don’t let others tell you how to live your life. We can all relate to this one and whilst everyone is different, well meaning friends and family can often give conflicting and confusing advice. Nicolas advice is that you shouldn’t attempt surviving infidelity alone, but also don’t rely on other people to tell you what to do. If you are stuck, seek advice from an expert or ask a friend to listen without giving advice.

Marriage Counselling

Many women (and men) seek marriage counseling too late, when they could have benefitted from talking it through and getting help to stop painful images and thoughts. “Even if you are undecided on what you want finding a marriage counsellor that has experience in helping individuals and couples survive infidelity. Deciding what to do after an affair is a life changing decision, so you will want to make sure you find a couples counsellor you can trust to support you. The best way to find a good marriage counselor is through referrals or through reviewing their online presence, reading their articles, listening to their podcasts or video’s and seeing if you can relate to them. Just remember you don’t have to stay with a marriage counselor that you don’t like or that focuses on the past. Now more than ever go with what works for you.

As a final word of advice, the most important thing to do is be loving with yourself and give yourself time in surviving infidelity.” If you found this useful and would like to get more support on surviving infidelity or saving a marriage you can read more of Nicola’s articles below:

What To Do If You’re Considering Divorce in the UAE

How To Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

The Stress of Having a Panic Attack

The Dubai Blues 

If you would like to write for British Mums, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at blog@britishmums.com