Many relationships do not survive an extramarital affair. The pain is often too great and the bond of trust too shattered. The anger and fear may be too pervasive and overpowering. To be betrayed by the one person who is supposed to love you unconditionally and eternally is incredibly hurtful and damaging. When you are in the throes of such heartache, it can be hard to see any hope for salvaging the relationship. You might even forget why you fell in love with your partner in the first place or question if the relationship is worth saving.
Dealing with the aftermath of betrayal is difficult, and it isn’t something everyone wants to go through. However, if you do decide that you want to stay with your partner and salvage your bond, then you are going to have quite a bit of work in front of you. Consider the following tips to help you repair after the affair.
Therapy is a crucial resource for couples who are crippled by the pain of betrayal. A combination of couples’ therapy and individual therapy can help you get your relationship back on track and discover what led to the affair in the first place.
It’s okay to be sad, angry, lost, and hurt. Just make sure you express those emotions. If you keep them inside, they will poison you from the inside out and further destroy your marriage.
If you were the betrayer, it’s time to be completely honest about the facts of your affair. Tell your partner the whole truth and nothing but the truth — but keep salacious details (such as the numerous positions your lover enjoyed) to yourself. The key is to be honest without being destructive.
If you are the betrayer, you must cut any and all ties with your paramour. If you met this person online, delete that cyber account (and perhaps any other social media sites as well, such as Facebook and the like). At this point, nothing is more important than your relationship, and your deletion of these accounts is a sign of your good faith and intention to change.
Limit Your Grievance Period
As I said before, it’s okay to cry, rant, and let those negative emotions out. However, it’s important not to wallow in grief and allow these emotions to completely derail your relationship. Limit yourself to 15 minutes of rage a day, and use this time to yell, cry, and let your partner know exactly how you’re feeling. When that time is up, move on and focus on the day at hand.
Make Positive Changes
It’s hard to accept the reasons for infidelity. Although no one is to blame for the affair but the betraying partner, the truth is that almost no one cheats unless there is something missing from the relationship. This is hard to hear, yet it’s important to take a close look at your bond and see what role you might have played in your partner’s unhappiness and subsequent cheating. Do you spend too much time at work or do you shut your partner down in the bedroom? This doesn’t give your partner a “right” to cheat, but it can help you to understand what you both need to do differently.
Honor Your Bond
Once you realize what might have gone wrong, it’s time to recommit to your relationship and honor your bond. If you haven’t been meeting your partner’s needs sexually, it’s important to understand that this isn’t exactly fair on your part. You are each other’s only sexual outlet, and if you refuse to hold up your end of the bargain, your mate will end up feeling unloved and unwanted.
Talk About What's Happening in the Bedroom
If there are issues in the bedroom, now is the time to talk about it and find out what they are. If the problem is physical, you can visit your doctor or talk to a sex therapist. If the problem is a lack of spark or excitement, you need to find ways to bring that fire back into the bedroom.
Don't Gossip About Your Spouse
It’s tempting to bad-mouth your partner to your friends and family, especially when the wound is fresh, but by doing so you are only further damaging your bond. It’s okay to talk about how you are feeling, but ranting to your sister for four hours isn’t useful nor does it feel good.
Find It in Your Heart to Forgive
Only you can do this. It will take time. It will take a lot of love and a lot of effort. But when you are finally able to do so, you will feel a weight removed from your shoulders. You might even eventually be able to forgive the person your partner cheated on you with, although this will likely take plenty of will and mercy. Work on letting your anger go, a little bit at a time, and focus on your own peace of mind and happiness. Forgiveness can’t happen overnight, but with love, patience, and faith, you can restore your bond and make your relationship whole again. It helps to talk things through with a trained professional. To find a therapist, visit: http://www.aasect.org.