An affair can take a huge toll on your relationship. You may struggle for a time with arguments. You may feel paralysed by the betrayal or feel outraged. You may feel hopeless at some point. Know there is light at the end of this relationship turmoil. Infidelity need not ruin what you and your significant other have built over the years.
Whether you are married or have been living together for a long time, you can survive relationship infidelity. And here are several ways to start the road to recovery for the two of you.
Think clearly and postpone decisions that have finality.
Your immediate solution might not be the best decision. Postpone permanent decisions until you are able to think with clarity.
Do this by feeling the wave of the shock wash over you. Let the pain, the anger, and the grief ride to a crest and then crash. You need to face your feelings fully, to feel the heartache.
Focus on the good things in your relationship.
What do you appreciate most about your partner? Take a moment to see the good things in your significant other and in your relationship. This coping technique will help you see past the betrayal and pain for a time. In many relationships, a positive transformation can lay a powerful foundation for healing.
Ask what you need to know about the affair.
Sit down with your partner and have a calm conversation about the affair. It is difficult to know, but knowing now will prevent sudden bursts of anger or bitterness about the betrayal. But keep the graphic details out. Don’t focus on comparing your relationship (or yourself to the other man or woman) with the indiscretion. Some of the questions you may want to ask:
- How long was the affair?
- To what extent did your partner lie to cover up the affair?
- Was it purely physical?
- Is there risk of STI?
These are all valid questions. And your partner should have the courage to answer honestly.
Improve the emotional intimacy of your relationship.
Most affairs are not always about sex. Sometimes, a relationship betrayal occurs because certain needs are not met. You might not spend enough time together. You might not talk as often as you used to talk. Begin developing (or restoring) a deeper level of emotional intimacy. And allow moments to bring you and your partner closer once again.
Recommit to making your relationship better than ever.
Recovery from infidelity is not easy. But it is achievable through perseverance, kindness, understanding, love, and commitment. It will also take time, so have patience.
You need to keep talking and listening to one another. You need to stay open and honest about issues in your relationship. You also need to seek counselling to fix the problems that led to the betrayal.
With professional guidance, you can recover from the infidelity and reach a mutually satisfying relationship that could strengthen your bond further.