Perhaps you had suspicions for a while, or maybe you were blindsided, but your discovery that your spouse was cheating on you undoubtedly came as a shock and a betrayal. You may be feeling emotions you have never experienced with intensity you never imagined, and while you know you need to take the next step, you may not be sure what that step should be.

Of course, reason says that you should avoid acting on your base emotions, so keying your spouse’s car or spreading the news on social media are not wise behaviors. Instead, you will want to take some slow, deep breaths and give yourself the time you need to make a rational decision about your future.

What to do next?

Your first objective is to make sure you have a safe place to stay. You may have decided to leave the family home, or you might have commanded your spouse to leave. In either case, it is important to know you are safe and that you have the resources you need to get by while you weigh your options.

It is possible that your spouse may try to contact you soon after your discovery. He or she may want a chance to explain or to discuss reconciliation, and you will want to be prepared with a plan for how you will allow any communication. You may not be ready to talk about it, and you may need legal help to get your spouse to respect your space. Other steps you can take include the following:

  • Decide who to include in your support network. It is never a good idea to tell everyone or every detail, but a few trusted friends and family members can provide you with a safety net.
  • Work through your emotions rationally. Do not allow yourself to give in to vengeful thoughts or to make drastic decisions out of anger.
  • Social media should be the last to know. Resist the urge to change your relationship status or post cryptic messages that will pique curiosity.
  • Give yourself quiet time to think. You may come to realizations about your spouse’s behavior that may lead you to decide on forgiveness or divorce.
  • Make a plan for the future. Start listing the issues you and your spouse need to resolve and the goals you want to accomplish, either in the marriage or in a divorce settlement.

Infidelity is grounds for divorce in Arkansas, and divorce may certainly be an option you are considering after learning of your spouse’s unfaithfulness. However, before making your decision, you would be wise to gain as much information as possible about your rights and what you can expect from the legal process.