The Ultimate Guidelines For Surviving Infidelity: 12 Ways To Heal Yourself And Your Relationship
Don't assume the relationship is over
While it may feel like your relationship is over after a major breach of trust, it certainly doesn't have to be. Sometimes people move very quickly to thinking that the relationship must be over, when in fact repair and healing of the relationship may be possible.
If it feels truly over, that's OK. You can certainly move on. But if you'd both like to work on repairing things, it'll be important to get into a mindset of healing, and away from one that feels like everything's ruined. Then you can start to move on.
Recommit to the relationship
Both partners must recommit to the relationship. If the affair is current, there must be a commitment to immediately stop it and to end all communication with the “other” person.
A clear communication to the other person should include that the involved partner will no longer have any communication with him or her and that the couple is focusing on this primary relationship. If the other person is in a group of mutual friends or a co-worker, a serious discussion on how to shift contact with them needs to occur. The involved partner must also commit to not going down the road of infidelity again.
The betrayed partner must also recommit to the relationship. Due to the emotional intensity, the betrayed partner often contemplates leaving the relationship. In order to work through an infidelity, the commitment to heal must come from both partners.
Get professional help
Seek professional help with a skilled licensed therapist or master relationship coach who has had experience in assisting couples with healing from infidelity.
Healing from infidelity is a complicated process, and having a skilled professional help you through it is vital. Ideally, both partners will seek individual therapy or coaching to help each person work through their individual issues and emotions.
For the person who engaged in infidelity, it is vital to look at why you made the choices you did, so you can address change with self-awareness. For the betrayed partner, the emotional charge can be overwhelming; having a safe place to express and process these emotions is vital.
Cut all contact with the other person
As long as the potential for temptation exists, your partner will never, ever be able to relax or trust you being around the other person. Without doubt, the best thing you can do for yourself and your marriage is to cut all contact with the other person immediately.
Block them from your social media and phone. Let your spouse have full access to all of your email and social media accounts. Let your spouse have full access to your phone.
And in case you have a “private” phone or tablet that your partner doesn’t know about, cut service to that technology right now. Then, let your spouse have possession of it.
Listen and try to understand
I know it’s really hard to understand why someone would do such a thing to you, but they probably had no intention of hurting you at all. It could be their own personal problems that they’re working through and that’s the way they tried to get through them. Listen to their reasons and try to understand where they’re coming from—even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
Talk about how you feel
You shouldn't go on with your lives and pretend like the incident didn't happen, since that can slow down the recovery process, too. It is important that the couple be open in talking about their different experiences and emotions about the betrayal in trust, as a means to process their emotions and continue moving forward. Otherwise they can get stuck in resentments, unvoiced feelings, anger, and sadness.
Let it ALL out. I mean it. If you have to throw a temper tantrum that makes a bratty 3-year-old look like a perfect angel, then do it! You need to tell them how you feel and get all of your emotions out. Holding onto feelings is like holding onto resentment, and that will hinder any progress you’re hoping to make toward surviving this incident.
But don't ask for too much details
Even if you're dying to know how the betrayal happened, what went down, where it happened, etc., asking your partner for details is never a good idea. Rather than feel better, you will feel worse because you now have vivid images of your partner in bed with someone else. And that can be an image that's difficult to shake.
Feel free to ask questions. Get the info you need to know. But resist the urge to learn everything. Too many details can actually make moving on difficult, and way too painful.
Recovering from infidelity may take years. The first year is usually the toughest. Both partners will need an immense amount of patience during this process.
The partner who engaged in the affair will likely need to focus his/her patience on the emotional intensity that will often come from the partner. This person must also be prepared to reassure his/her mate — possibly on daily basis — that he/she is committed to the relationship, doesn’t intend to engage in this behavior again, and loves and desires them. It’s crucial for the wronged partner to know that they are wanted, and that their trust won’t be breached again.
The betrayed partner must also have patience with themselves and their partner. It takes a lot of hard work to be able to let go of resentments toward a partner for their behavior, and a commitment to vulnerability in order to begin rebuilding trust.
Try to trust them
It won’t be easy and it won’t happen right away, but try to trust them again. If they came to you about this and really want to fix things, then you have to give it your all to make it right, too. Try to trust that what they say is true and that their actions will match their words.
Don't be paranoid and suspicious
If your partner betrayed your trust, it makes perfect sense why you'd feel paranoid or suspicious. You might be tempted to keep a closer eye on what they do or say in order to make sure it doesn't happen again.
But doing so will only further damage the trust in your relationship. True trust demands that we tolerate what we don’t know about our partners, and intimacy can easily be squeezed out by these attempts at control. Moving on is less about "protecting the borders" of your relationship, and instead figuring out new ways to trust each other.
Love each other
Show each other that you care. If there’s one thing that can heal any relationship, it’s love. Get back to that phase where you can’t leave each other alone, because you just always want to be around each other, and because you love one another so much. Finding that place is a perfect way to survive infidelity without tearing apart.
Don't try to heal all by yourself
If you're going to remain a couple, you'll have to lean on each other during this time — just like you would during any other tough situation. And yet, it's not uncommon for people to try to go it alone.
It is often overlooked that the offending partner is hurting, too. They may have very reasonable grievances that, while not justifying the affair, need to be addressed. So be there for each other as much as possible, and it will be easier to move on.
Cheating is rough. Mending a relationship after that kind of trust is broken is not an easy process, but rest assured, recovering from infidelity is possible. With focused attention, dedication, and a qualified third party to help, your relationship can be even stronger than before.