Infidelity can probably be ranked in the top 10 fears of most people. The notion of loyalty is one that we, as human beings, do not take lightly.
However, if you ever find yourself in this unpleasant position of being betrayed, remember healing is possible. A heartbreaking, difficult, and lengthy process, but it is possible to come out the other side.
Like everything in life, you can not control someone else’s decision to cheat. You can only control how you will respond and the choices you will make from this moment.
Look at the following suggestions for overcoming the difficulties of infidelity.
1. Take a deep breath
You are no doubt confused, hurt, betrayed, and angry. Realize that the process of healing from an affair takes time. Try to remain as calm as possible.
Focus on your breathing. Add in a time during your day to meditate and devote your mind to being aware of yourself.
2. Don’t lash out
It makes sense that you would want to lash out at your spouse and hurt them back. That will not make you feel great later. Despite your anger, try to remain true to yourself, and don’t behave in a way you will regret later.
If you want to have a discussion about this happened, wait until you can be at least somewhat calm. You don’t owe the cheating partner anything at this point. The conversation can happen if you want it to, and when you feel you can do so.
Feel your feelings, and if they are too big to set aside at this moment, ask for space.
For more inspiration, also read these relatable cheating quotes to empower you.
3. Begin the healing
Healing is going to look different for everyone. Some people might stay together and work on themselves and their marriage. Others might cut bait and then have to heal themselves individually so their next relationship can flourish.
How you heal is up to you. The cheating partner does not get to bully you or deny your requests for space, therapy, or whatever else you need.
If the affair has not stopped, or your partner is not planning on stopping, then there is no fixing this at this moment. Love yourself enough to know you deserve much better than this and take the time to heal yourself.
Ask yourself what you want and need from this relationship. Why do you want to fix it or leave? Only you will have the answers, but individual therapy, and couple’s therapy if you choose to stay, will help with the healing process.
4. Make an appointment to go over the details about what happened
It’s important that a time is set aside in the future so that you are both mentally ready to share and hear these uncomfortable details.
The betrayed gets to ask for whatever information he/she needs to ask. If they want to know what happened, they need to be told. This will allow doubts to be removed from the situation.
He/she also gets to share his/her feelings of hurt and pain and have the opportunity to be validated. (This will most likely need to happen more than once. Repeat as necessary)
5. Betrayer makes amends
The betrayer makes amends, showing genuine remorse and asking for forgiveness. They must also resolve (sometimes silently) to do something that will help the other spouse feel loved and appreciated.
This reassurance by the betrayer is going to have to be consistent and heartfelt. This will need to happen over time, more than once, most likely, and will require effort.
6. Give it time
Time is now needed to work on the relationship. The couple must explore the rupture that led them to this place and try to fix it for the future. If you choose to leave, give yourself the time to heal and learn about how to be yourself without this person before moving on to something new.
If you choose to stay together, both partners need to bring life and energy back into the marriage through love infusions. (See Chapter 5- “Love Infusions” in our book, The 5 Step Action Plan to a Happy & Healthy Marriage.)
7. Stay persistent
Know that it may take time to repair and heal after the affair and infidelity, but if you both are committed, you can heal. If you are both trying and the relationship is worth saving, just know there will be bumps.
Again, it is up to you how long you attempt this, but if it is what you want, just know it will probably have more than a few tough moments.
Is this bout of cheating worthy of separation or divorce?
This depends on you. Couples can heal from affairs. It depends if you want the marriage or not. It’s normal to feel angry and decide to leave.
We encourage you to work it out, especially if children are involved. However, it’s understandable if the partners split because of their inability to regain faith in each other.
We can certainly help you with healing after an affair and we see the best results- in cases of affairs- with our 2-day marriage therapy intensive.
The 2 days we spend working together will literally pull you out of this deep despairing place into one of hope and healing.
You will discover the root of the issue that led towards the infidelity, explore why the relationship went sour, and what led the betrayer to look elsewhere.