The Ashley Madison hack has brought to the forefront stories of unfaithful spouses and concerns about infidelity are more prevalent since the hacking occurred. If you have recently discovered that your spouse has cheated, or the news of Ashley Madison has triggered concerns about your spouse’s behavior, you may be struggling to figure out what you can do. Here are a few suggestions to help you through what is likely a very difficult time.
- Get Educated. First and foremost, don’t act hastily. It is critical to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Many, but not all, incidents of infidelity, lead to divorce. Once you understand the situation and your rights, you will be able to decide from a position of strength – rather than anger or revenge – what is best for you and, if you have children, your family.
- Seek out trusted professionals. You do not need to, and should not, cope with this challenging and emotional situation alone. Reach out to an experienced professional, such as a divorce attorney, a mental health professional, or a member of the clergy, to discuss what has been happening with your spouse. A divorce attorney can help you to understand your rights and the legal implications of adultery as well as talk through different approaches to your individual situation. A mental health professional can assist you in thinking through your concerns, values and goals – as well as coping with feelings of betrayal and anger. And each of these professionals can help you to weigh what is best for you – whether it be divorce, marital counseling, or other options – in light of your spouse’s actions.
- You may be torn. The implications of infidelity need to be viewed with an eye towards your individual situation. When you’ve gathered more information and consulted one or more trusted professionals, you may be faced with a choice: Is it time for a parting of the ways from your spouse or do you want to (and is it possible to) work to save your marriage? You may feel, like many others, so betrayed and deceived by your spouse that the only option is to proceed with separation and divorce – and there is no real choice to make. Or you may decide that this situation is a wake-up call and not a fatal blow to your marriage. Take the time to explore your options with your chosen professional(s) at this crossroads to ensure that you understand the legal, financial and emotional implications of your decisions – particularly if you decide that marriage is no longer a viable option for you.
- Know that you are not alone. Although the statistics are unclear as to the percentage of unfaithful spouses, infidelity is one of the leading reasons that our services are sought. If you determine that you want to proceed with divorce, you will be faced with the task of planning how to move forward with your life, while also processing the betrayal you’ve experienced. A betrayal of this magnitude may be the most painful thing you’ve ever been through and, for many, the most difficult to overcome. Remember that you are not alone – you are unfortunately not the first or the last spouse to face this situation. Use your family, friends, and trusted professionals, as well as others who have navigated through this life transition, for empathy and guidance as you create a new future for yourself and your family.
If you have questions about this topic or would like more information about family law and the options available to you, please call Sarah Zimmerman at 202-466-8960 to schedule a consultation.