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Your Spouse Cheated: Should you Work on Things or just Leave? From Cary and McHenry, IL

Apr 22, 2008
If you recently discovered that your spouse cheated on you, you are probably devastated, hurt, furious or some combination thereof. You are probably nervous, preoccupied and wondering what you should do.

Should you stay? Should you go? Or, should you ask your spouse to leave? When confronted with extramarital affairs, the first thing people feel is often knee-jerk reactions such as, hurt, rage, despondency or disbelief.

If you are in this nerve-wracking situation, keep the following pointers in mind:

1. The infidelity may be the unfortunate result of a lapse in judgment on your partners part, rather than an indication that anything is fundamentally wrong with your relationship. So, even though you are feeling devastated, do not be too quick to decide what to do.

Do not decide to stay or go on impulse... unless you or other family members are in danger. Once you are hurt by your spouses infidelity, it can sometimes take up to 4 years to work through it.

Do not make a decision today or even next month. Wait a while and take some time. This is literally a life-changing decision.

Explore your feelings, read a book, talk to a counselor. Allow the initial panicky feelings to move from the foreground to the background of your consciousness. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by friends or relatives who tell you recklessly to just throw him/her out.

Be patient and reflective. However, if danger for you or your kids is an issue, you must make immediate arrangements to guarantee your safety-whatever that may entail.

This is often true in the case of a partner who is abusive, punitive or particularly controlling. You do not need to decide to divorce, at this time, but it is your responsibility to yourself and your kids to have a practical plan for safety, if that is an issue.

2. As you consider whether to divorce, get counseling or separate, you will be changing your mind a lot. Do not let that discourage you.

Very seldom will you experience this life-changing decision to be self-evident or obvious. At one point you may decide to consider counseling. At another day or time you may decide to divorce. Remember, it is normal to vacillate in decisions which have a life-changing consequence.

3. Identify your alternate selves. You will, more than likely, find that one self will want to stay, while another will want to leave.

Get to know your different selves. They all should be heard. Acknowledge what each part of you desires, feels and thinks. They are all important.

They all need their voices heard. All of your alternate selves are important and none should be considered totally right or wrong. They all are part of you and want the best for your life.

4. Consider counseling for yourself or your relationship. There are numerous resources available throughout northern Illinois and elsewhere to help you get your head straight.

Clinical psychologists and family and marriage counselors study many years beyond college and have usually passed rigorous licensing examinations in the states where they practice. In counseling, they share with you what they have learned in their broad experience and academic training.

It is common sense: It just helps to get objective feedback from a professional who has no bias or axe to grind. Clinical psychologists study counseling and psychology for 3 to 4 full years beyond college.

They earn a doctoral degree in psychology, serve a 1 to 2 year internship and take their states licensing exam. It is a very rigorous and highly relevant course of study.

Those specifically labeled as marriage and family counselors can come from the ranks of 2 professions. They can have their masters degree in counseling or social work.

This usually reflects the completion of one to two years of study in their discipline beyond college. They often are required to serve at least a year of supervised internship and to pass their states licensing examination.

Psychiatrists are a strange breed. They study general medicine for 4 years beyond college and serve a one year internship in general medicine.

Board certification is important for a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist practicing without board certification may have been exposed to little or no coursework in family counseling at all.

A psychiatrist, however, who has been board-certified in psychiatry usually, has three years of post-internship training specifically in mental health types of treatment. Their most frequent task in prescribing psychiatric medications and most do little, if any, counseling.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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