It can’t be true. This only happens to other couples. Now what?
Infidelity is a shocking game-changer, and when it happens, it sets off a toxic brew of emotions and alters your reality. So how can you bounce back from such a significant betrayal? Will you ever trust again? Can the relationship be saved?
Every situation is different, of course, but there are some universal post-affair suggestions. Recovery is a long process, but it can and does happen. If both partners are willing to work, the relationship can be saved.
Getting to couples therapy is often essential, but first, let’s talk about some self-help steps.
What to do if Your Partner Had an Affair
Feel What You Need to Feel
You have suffered a kind of loss. You’ll need to grieve and do a lot of processing. There is no value in trying to “move on” or “get over it.” If you repress your emotions, they will bubble up and cause bigger issues at a later date. Individual therapy is a beneficial option for this challenging time period.
Do Not Seek Revenge
Anger will be one of your reactions—and it’s justifiable. However, you must resist the urge to get even or seek revenge of some kind. If that feels difficult, lean on your support system. Talk to friends and family and let them know how you’re feeling. As much as you feel your partner deserves it, seeking retribution is not a productive choice.
P.S. This includes not using social media as a way to settle the score.
Set Your Own Timetable
Your partner may sincerely apologize and then pressure you to forgive them. Pro tip: They have relinquished all say in the matter. Only you can decide when you’re ready to do that. In fact, only you can set the agenda for a possible recovery. You did nothing wrong and have no obligation to live up to someone else’s timetable.
The rules must change. First, your partner must cut off all contact with the other person. This is not negotiable. In addition, if you decide to stay together and work on your relationship, a higher form of transparency is required. Trust has been shattered, and the cheating partner has to earn it back. Part of this will involve new openness regarding things like social plans, phone calls, etc.
You’ve been wounded. Your body and mind need to heal. The shortest path to this destination is daily self-care. Implement a practice that includes:
- Regular sleep patterns
- Healthy eating choices
- Daily exercise and activity
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Solitude when you need it and social interactions when necessary
The Importance of Couples Therapy
As mentioned above, getting to couples counseling as soon as possible should be your goal. But, unfortunately, the damage has been done. To ensure that it does not deepen, you’ll need guidance. Here are some goals that are worth setting.
Hearing Each Other
Yes, it will help to hear the cheating partner’s side of the story. However, simply knowing how it happened can be the first step toward recovery.
There may have been some lashing out at first. But now, it’s time to reinvent your communication styles.
The BIG Decision
Should I stay, or should I go? Not every relationship recovers from infidelity. This huge decision cannot be made in a state of high emotions. Your therapist is the ideal choice to help.
If you or your partner had an affair, let’s talk. Reach out today to set up a free and confidential consultation. It can be the choice that puts you on the road to recovery.