By Cynthia Battino
Marriages, lives, and relationships were shattered when Ashley Madison’s site was hacked and names and addresses were made public last week. I can only imagine the fear, anger, rage and arguments that were, and still are continuing, in households across the US. I am very sad to think about the relationships lost due to this hacking event as there is much grey area around sexuality, cheating, and taking responsibility in partnerships. Before making any drastic decisions, try to sit back and take some things into consideration.
His or her name is on the list. It’s time to confront your partner with the information you have. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. They deserve to be faced with your knowledge and your fears.
Is It True?
There is evidence that you can no longer trust your partner. Trust is the foundation of a relationship. Before you condemn them, ask these tough questions.
- Is the Ashley Madison site accurate? Maybe not really. Email addresses were used and not verified by this site. This makes for a very untrustworthy source.
- Is it old information? Did this happen before you two were together or during a separation? Timing is very important to examine.
- Has information like this come to light in the past? In other words, has your partner admitted to cheating on you or others? If so, this becomes a game changer. Head straight to a professional marriage counselor. Even if it wasn’t true that they were on the site, you didn’t trust them enough not to check. You HAD to check. This means that the trust foundation of your marriage needs some severe shoring up. You both have some serious work to do.
- Finally, if you asked them if they were really a member on this site during your partnership, and they answered yes, it is now time to work through those uncomfortable, undeniable feelings.
STOP & Feel
As a life and relationship coach, I would counsel any of you who found your partner’s name on this list to not make any drastic decisions while you are in shock and pain. I encourage you to find a safe place to explore and work through your emotions (denial, anger, rage, disappointment, frustration, and much more) and feelings of betrayal, rejection and abandonment. Before you can look at the “grey” of the “why,” these beliefs and feelings need to be heard and honored.
Journal. Talk to your best friend. Find a therapist or relationship coach. Use these venues to cry, rage, and FEEL your feelings. By letting all of these emotions come out, be heard, be valued, you can then come to a place of calm.
You might need some space to get through these feelings without punishing your partner or making rash decisions. Go away for a weekend with your best friend (some wine and a journal). Or take a couple of days to be alone. Maybe head to the mountains or the beach where you are fed and nurtured by mother-nature. You need to be free to scream, cry, write, wail and wallow in the “woe is me” place.
My recommendation would not be to go to your parents – unless you can go there and not share about your spouse and them being a part of the current national scandal. Once your family finds out about your spouse possibly committing this type of act against you, they will not be as willing to forgive if you decide to stay. Your family will want to protect you. Not see you in pain.
Next Week: Part 2 – Looking at the Grey in the “WHY?” Why it happened in the first place. Our goal will be to help you make decisions to move forward from a place of clarity and not anger or fear.
Cynthia Battino is a Life Coach, Healer & Separation/Divorce Specialist, author and speaker. Her company, Transformational Healing, specializes in working with people going through life crisis, specifically separation/divorce. She has written a healthy divorce workbook, You Were In Love, Once Upon A Time, which you can find on her website: www.transform-heal.com.