Surviving infidelity can be the hardest thing you’ll have to do, but if you love the other person very much, it’s totally worth it, at least if they don’t end up doing it again. It’s also important to take into consideration that you can’t overcome infidelity on your own, you and your partner need to work together to rebuild the relationship/marriage.
While marriage can survive after an affair, I won’t lie to you and tell you it isn’t going to be very hard and challenging. There will be moments when you feel like giving up, or that you can’t take it anymore, that it’s not worth it. In order to overcome those moments, both of you must work together on rebuilding the trust, repairing the damage, and reconnecting.
But some things you just can’t control. Your partner/spouse needs to end the affair, offer you all the details about it, answer all of your questions, be very honest with you, and make effort to prove that they’re trustworthy. The betrayed spouse must focus on healing and let it all out, without trying to hide or minimize their feelings. Also, it’s important to understand that you can’t speed the healing process. It will take some time until things will get back to normal in your relationship.
There will be a lot of phases, you’ll have to deal with anger, despair, overwhelming sadness, curiosity, blame, and many other negative feelings. The good part, however, is that you’re strong enough to overcome them all. You won’t feel like this forever, that’s for sure.
Read on to discover how to survive infidelity in a marriage, and learn how to regain the other person’s trust again!
Tips for the one who cheated:
1. Don’t blame your spouse for your infidelity.
While blaming other people for your own mistakes is always easier, you need to take responsibility for your actions and admit where you went wrong. Blaming your partner for your infidelity won’t help you solve the problem faster.
In fact, it does more harm than good, because your spouse will see that you’re not able to take responsibility, which means that you’re not even sorry for hurting their feelings the way you did. And if you don’t show remorse, chances are you’ll do it again.
Instead, showing sincere regret is very important. Don’t be afraid to apologize as much as possible, and reassure the other person that you love them very much and you’ll never do anything to hurt their feeling ever again. Even though you might be certain that you’ll never do this again, your spouse cannot know that, that’s why you need to make sure they know it as well.
2. You need to end your affair immediately and stop seeing that person.
Firstly and very importantly, you need to end your affair immediately and cut off all contact. If you do this, your spouse will know that even though you betrayed their trust, you’re ready to make up for it.
If you’re 100 percent sure that you want to make things right with your partner, there’s no room for texting, phone calls, or meeting the other person for lunch. If you find it impossible to let go, it might be that you don’t love your partner as much as you thought.
If you can’t avoid the person you had an affair with because you work together or they’re your business partner, make sure to keep your encounters strictly professional and be honest with your partner about the situation.
It would be recommended to avoid closed-door meetings or a private lunch date, because this way you’ll make your spouse feel like you’re hiding something, again. You need to inform your partner every time you get in contact with the person you had an affair with, even when it’s strictly professional, and make sure to do it before they even ask.
Moreover, if the person you had an affair with calls or texts you, make sure you let your partner know, as it will help them start trusting you again if they feel like you can be honest.
3. Be prepared to answer all questions.
You need to be certain that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions because your betrayed spouse will likely want to know everything that happened, every little detail to be more precise. But this is actually a good thing, as many marriage experts believe couples can overcome infidelity faster when the cheating spouse provides all the information requested by the betrayed partner.
According to affairs expert Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth: A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs, who developed the international Beyond Affairs Network, a study on more than 1,000 betrayed husbands and wives have shown that couples who are able to talk openly about their situation healed faster and managed to overcome infidelity by working together.
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As Vaughan has explained, many people are proudly saying that they never talked with their partner again after they had an affair. However, you can’t heal that way. In order to overcome the situation, you need to talk about it until it doesn’t hurt anymore.
When you neglect the fact that it happened and you don’t ever talk about it, be sure that it will come back to you and hurt you in ways you can’t even imagine.
“My own husband had 12 affairs over seven years. I’m convinced the main reason I recovered was his willingness to answer all of my questions,” she added.
Even though many people assume that going through all the details over and over again does more harm than good for the relationship’s future, it’s quite the contrary. According to Peggy Vaughan, willingness to talk rebuilds trust in a relationship.
The key to a healthy relationship is no more secrets. If you’re able to do that, then your relationship might have a future. If not, and you keep hiding important details from your partner, be sure that they will emerge later, and your partner might never forgive you afterward.
4. Continue to talk and listen.
Rebuilding trust doesn’t come overnight, so both partners need to have a lot of patience with one another, even when it means talking and listening for a while. Even though communication is key in a relationship, is just as important to be a good listener. That’s why you should focus on strengthening your listening skills.
It will take time, and it won’t be easy, but it’s important to understand that you just can’t speed the healing process. Additionally, make sure to not minimize your spouse’s feelings, even though you might feel that they’re being too dramatic.
If they cry a lot, it’s because being cheated on by the person you love the most in this life hurts like hell. If they want to talk about it over and over again, make sure to do it no matter how long it takes.
For some people, it might take months, while others need years to fully trust their partner again after betrayal. Be patient if you truly want to get there, and make sure not to react with anger or blame t what they have to say.
5. Be empathetic.
As infidelity expert Shirley Glass, Ph.D. has explained, you can know early on whether a relationship can overcome infidelity or not, by the way, the partner that’s feel infidel shows empathy towards the other person’s feelings and emotions.
You need to be aware of how much pain your actions have caused because it’s definitely not easy having to forgive and forget infidelity. However, if you manage to be empathetic and understand why your partner is feeling this way, things might work out between you two in the end.
6. Don’t ask for quick forgiveness.
Infidelity is a serious matter and hurts very badly. Therefore, it can’t be forgotten and forgiven overnight. The betrayed partner might need some time before they feel like they can trust you again.
Give them time and space, because they might be in deep pain and shock. So expect there will be a lot of tears and rage. But even so, don’t ask them to just forgive you and move on, because you should know better than that.
After all, they’re in a lot of pain because of you, so at least show some empathy.
Tips for the betrayed one:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you want.
It’s natural to feel rage, sadness, and even despise your partner. In fact, you can feel all those things even when you love them very much. Infidelity hurts a lot, and hard work is needed in order to overcome the unfortunate event.
However, the only way in which you can heal is by understanding why and how it happened. Even though it might be hard to hear some of the answers, you need to make sure you’re asking all the questions that are on your mind.
From now on, there’s no room for secrets between you two, so don’t be afraid to ask even the most uncomfortable questions. This will help you heal, repair your marriage, rebuild your trust and move on with your life.
2. Find a balance between rage and your need for information.
It’s natural to want to cry, scream and lash out at your partner, and you should definitely take as much time as you need. However, communication is very important in a relationship, so you need to make sure you’re asking your partner everything you want to know about the unfortunate event.
Even though they’re the ones that hurt you, you need to be compassionate with their emotions in order to get to the truth. If you want the truth, be prepared that it might hurt more than you imagine.
“When you get all the facts, you’re not obsessed anymore,” Vaughan says. “The only way your spouse will be willing to answer is if you can manage not to lash out and attack every time. Spouses who’ve had affairs are afraid to reveal everything because they’re worried it will become a marathon, with a downward spiral of out-of-control emotions.”
If things go overboard and you or your spouse get very angry, make sure to stop the discussion and leave it for another day.
Make sure to also check: 20 Effects of Divorce That People Don’t Talk About.
3. But don’t talk about the affair all day long.
Even though it might be the only thing on your mind 24/7, marriage experts believe it would be better not to let it take over your lives. Instead, you should restrict yourselves to 30 minutes each day for talking about it.
However, make sure to ask questions as they arise, instead of letting them build-up, which will eventually lead to even more resentment and anger. “Don’t let your worries go underground. Keep talking,” Vaughan added.
4. You need to be prepared for your spouse’s anger, as well.
Even though they’re the ones that broke your trust, there will be times when they’ll try to blame you as well. Maybe they blame you for not giving them enough attention, or maybe they try to falsely accuse you of cheating. But no matter what they say, try to focus on the affair itself.
5. Open up about your feelings.
Your spouse needs to know how you feel, so you need to make sure you’re telling them. You can’t make your marriage work if you don’t talk about how everything made you feel. So be prepared to discuss grief, betrayal, disappointment, rage, and even vulnerability.
It won’t be easy, and there will be times where you’ll feel like giving up, but don’t quit just yet. Additionally, share your expectations with your partner and even establish some rules that you both need to follow from no on. And don’t forget, no more secrets!
6. Don’t rush to forgive quickly or easily.
Infidelity is a serious matter, so you don’t need to get over it just like that. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the fact that it happened, that’s why you need to learn how to deal with all the pain that comes after.
Don’t rush to forgive them. Instead, let them be aware of the fact that they could lose you if they do it again.
7. Find support.
You can’t go through all of this on your own, that’s why you need your family and friends to help you get through it. Isolating yourself in these situations is definitely not going to help, instead, you need someone to talk to, someone who’s willing to listen and give you advice, even though I recommend you to follow your heart instead.
You can also join a support group or seek professional help if you feel like you need it. Surviving infidelity it’s not easy, so you need all the support you can get.
8. Spend time with your spouse without talking about the unfortunate event.
Even though it might be hard not to talk about it, and you might still be angry with them, it’s important that you connect as friends and romantic partners as well. Spend time in each other’s company even when you don’t feel like talking. Sitting there in silence might also help you clear your thoughts.
9. Don’t forgive unless you’re ready to.
Even though forgetting is impossible, the not-so-great memories will fade over time. However, you can’t go there without learning how to forgive your partner. But this step should only be made when you’re feeling ready, and you definitely shouldn’t let them rush you into it.
Listen to your heart instead and hear what it has to say. If you feel like your partner is honest with you and they truly want to make things work from now on, give them another chance and learn to forgive them. It’s all about baby steps because you might need some time to rebuild your trust.