When one person in the relationship has had an affair, the effects of that betrayal can be devastating. When we are blindsided by the knowledge that our partner has been unfaithful, it can throw us into a vortex of raw feelings and we may wonder if the relationship can ever survive it.
In order for a relationship to survive infidelity, some things need to be considered:
- Are both parties wanting to move towards reconciliation? Very often, the choice to have an affair is based on wanting to leave the relationship. In order for the relationship to heal, both partners have to commit to wanting to repair, heal, and grow.
- Is the transgressor willing to 100% end the affair? Not only does the affair have to end, so does all contact. No friendship, no texts now and then, nothing, nada. Allowing friendly contact only puts more weight on the shoulders of the person who was cheated on and they have too much to sort through already.
- Are both parties willing to get professional help? Because of the extreme sensitivity of infidelity, seeking couples therapy is a safe bet in trying to move forward and heal from the rupture.
- Are both parties willing to commit to re-building trust? For the transgressor, that means earning back your partner’s trust. If they want to look at your phone, you do so willingly. If they need to talk about it, (as much as you may want to forget about it), answer their questions. Be in a position of empathy. For the partner on the other side of the transgression, it is important that you give your partner the benefit of the doubt that they are remorseful and wanting to earn back your trust. The requests you have of your spouse need to be reasonable – you are working towards forgiveness, and although on a roller coaster of emotions, constant attacks or incessant phone checking will not be helpful in the overall repair of the relationship.
- Consider individual counselling as well. In addition the the couple’s work, sometimes it is beneficial that both parties have their own therapists. Deeper exploration into personal issues and feelings, as well as an increased sense of support, can help both parties get through the process of reconciling after an affair.
A relationship can survive infidelity; it may take time and invested effort, but it can also put the couple in the resilient position of having weathered the storm.
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