Surviving Infidelity: How To Reboot Your Relationship
Have you been surviving infidelity?
Have you ever been cheated on?
Or have you been a home-wrecker?
Adultery – as with other supplements and shopping sprees and pleasure quests – is at least a reliable way of proving to ourselves that we’re not in the ground quite yet, especially when feeling a little dead inside. Or at least until a better solution comes along. – Laura Kipnis
For those who are surviving infidelity, I commend you! This is SO challenging.
I personally have been fascinated and curious about affairs my entire life. From age 19, I began reading every single book and article I could get my hands on.
WHY do people cheat? What is this devastation that lingers in the heart after you find out your partner is unfaithful?
If you are surviving infidelity, you know that incredibly intense feeling you have that your world is falling apart and you will die of heartbreak.
When you discover that your partner was unfaithful and has been having an affair, the world you once knew starts to become questionable.
In a flood of angry, sad, and fearful emotions, not even the most prepared person is able to manage the emotional, mental and physician damage when this type of secret is revealed or found out.
It is possible to overcome infidelity!
Infidelity affects a critical part of a couple’s relationship – the breaking of trust and intimate connection. It is not surprising that it ends up being one of the three most common reasons why couples come to see us for therapy in the first place!
Questioning why infidelity happened?
Coupledom isn’t always simple. Although we love to pair-bond as a species, the truth is that cohabitation, extended family dynamics, financial stressors, the monotony of the weekly routine, and raising children (or pets or neither) makes it an incredibly complex and intertwined reality.
Behind most cases of infidelity, there are usually other aspects of the relationship that have caused a huge gap between you as partners… a gap in which the infidelity may have been consummated.
How long will it take you to overcome the pain of infidelity?
The most honest answer I can offer you is… it all depends. The most important thing is that you do not have a deadline for your healing.
Overcoming infidelity and improving your relationship is possible, and I have seen at least a hundred couples do it. Sometimes it takes four months, sometimes longer! You are NOT obligated to do this alone though. This would be between you and your partner.
It will not be easy, but ensuring that you are both on the same team is crucial!
For some couples, coming into therapy can be the difference between staying together or divorcing.
Things You Need To Do:
Take it Easy – Don’t Rush Thing
After finding out that your partner has been unfaithful, there is usually a mix of anger, fear, and pain that manifests itself within the partner who has been betrayed.
You have to create someplace that is a “safe place” where you can go alone to take breaks if you need to from the emotional intensity.
Sometimes, this is in your bed, sometimes a separate room, and sometimes for me, it has been in the closet surrounded by “stuff” because it makes me feel contained.
Talk To Your Partner About Surviving Infidelity
If you want to stay in the relationship, you must talk to your partner about the infidelity – no matter how difficult it may seem.
If you think you have questions and you need certainty (to ask why, how often, with whom, where, etc), reach out to your partner about the questions.
Let them have time to think on it. Just because YOU want them to tell you NOW doesn’t mean you are allowed to force them to answer. I KNOW… that may sound challenging.
However, it is the way to face what happened and to try to overcome it, as a couple. It is important to show your partner that you still are respecting their boundaries, even though trust was broken.
Try To Trust
Yes, some people say that this sounds impossible, yet if you have decided that you want to continue with the relationship, you need to work on trusting in small steps. Trusting with work, or chores, or date night. If you want, sit down and talk about how both of you can assure this situation is not going to happen again.
Do Not Live In Fear
It is possible that the unfaithful person is afraid that his or her or their partner will get revenge. However, not all relationships work this way. Not everyone retaliates to get even. In fact, if the other person loves you, they will end up forgiving you.
A Special Note of Divorce – from what I have witnessed as a therapist, many women, especially those who don’t work, and those that have kids, are very afraid of getting a divorce.
They are concerned about what happens to them, their kids, and their home. Find out from a lawyer instead of living in fear. Ask the questions and get the information.
The truth sets us free!
Regain Sexual Passion
Sometimes, infidelities occur because the relationship fell into the routine or there is not enough passion. Try to rekindle the passion as well as the trust. Seek out sex therapy if you have no idea where to start!
Couples therapy can be an important part of the healing process. Many couples therapists see infidelities and know how to best handle them. Although surviving infidelity is complicated, couples therapists know the patterns to get you to a place of healing.
Start a New Relationship
Understand that forgiveness is not synonymous with surviving infidelity and continuing on as if nothing had happened. Nor is it the same as ignoring it and following the path that led you to this place within the relationship.
The main part of surviving infidelity is the willingness to START A NEW RELATIONSHIP.
Your old marriage is over… you get to both consent to wanting a new one!
You must find real reasons to convince your partner and yourself that there are still emotional building-blocks of trust needed to rebuild your relationship, and ultimately, forgive the infidelity.
If you want to hold onto anger at your partner, just know that as a couples therapist, I would not want you to continue to berate the other person due to what has happened.
Sooner or later, this pattern of not-forgiving will end up causing a huge conflict that will end the relationship.
If your partner is willing to rebuild trust and end the affair, then it is up to you to decide if you want to continue in the relationship.
If you want to learn more about surviving infidelity, please comment below!
Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists!