Is It Possible To Recover From Infidelity In A Marriage?
For a lot of people, being cheated on is the worst nightmare scenario for their marriage. People who have never experienced it might easily jump to the answer of “leave them” straight away because that’s not the reality they have had to live in. However, if you’re in a marriage that has been hit by the bombshell of infidelity, you know that the answer isn’t always that easy. As such, here are a few tips to help you cope, and decisions you might have to make.
Allow yourself time to feel
When you discover a partner has cheated, then it is only natural that you are going to feel angry, hurt, betrayed, maybe even scared or relieved in a weird way (if you have suspected infidelity for a long time.) It may feel tempting and even be cathartic to unload on your unfaithful spouse, but you should give yourself some time and space to process your emotions yourself so that you don’t get swept up into doing or saying things too hastily that you might regret. It may sound trite, but writing a journal about it can help you get your feelings out. There is likely to be a lot of thought processes going on at once and it’s best to let them play out before making any decisions.
The very first thing that needs to happen before the relationship has any chance of healing is that your spouse needs to own up to what they have done. A lot of people will defensively play down their misdeeds even after admitting them, whether that means in part shifting the responsibility to you, or not treating an emotional affair as seriously as any other kind of cheating. If that starts to happen, then you need to shut it down and make it clear that it is not acceptable. If they cannot accept responsibility wholeheartedly for their actions then the relationship may not have much more time left to it.
It can be very difficult to begin to build trust in a person that has cheated on you and they will need to do a lot of legwork to help rebuild that trust. The first is making sure that any affairs or chances of affairs are completely over with. This means that they need to separate entirely from the person that they cheated on you with. If they were friends with them or shared a workplace with them, this can be quite difficult so they may even need support when doing so. However, the simple fact is that they have already proven they have a weakness that led to that infidelity, and getting them away from that weakness may be essential to your marriage’s future.
Identifying changes that may need to be made
Again, you shouldn’t allow the responsibility or “blame” for your partner’s infidelity to be put on you. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the reality that aspects of your marriage may have been causal factors that contributed to the decisions that they made. To that end, you might need to look at what you both really need from your marriage and how you can help meet those needs, be it by spending more time together, by communicating more openly, by addressing lifestyle factors that might need to change, and even by making more time to be intimate with one another. This is not just a way to “check the boxes” so that your partner doesn’t cheat, it’s to make sure that your marriage is fulfilling you, as well.
You should not expect that you’re going to be able to deal with every problem that caused a rift to build in your marriage without any kind of assistance. It’s difficult to process solutions when you’re dealing with the emotional mess that infidelity can cause. As such, you may need counseling for you and your spouse to help identify issues within the marriage or the solutions to issues that you have already identified. Don’t underestimate the ability of an impartial third party with professional experience and how they can offer a perspective that you haven’t considered, or even processes to help open up lines of communication that may have been shut for a long time.
Recognizing when it’s over
It may be the outcome that you least wanted, even after you have managed to put aside your initial reactions to infidelity, but there is the possibility that a marriage may not be able to last a partner’s cheating. It might simply be that you have a lot of trouble ever trusting them or believing them again if the infidelity included deceit. It might be that they refuse to take proper responsibility or to change their ways. Or perhaps the rifts that contributed to the infidelity are too deep. Whatever the case, if you need to divorce, then it’s a good idea to start planning as soon as you can. Make sure that you protect yourself, your assets, and, most importantly, any children in the relationship by getting legal counsel as soon as you can.
Rebuilding your ability to trust
A lot of people who have been cheated on before have trouble learning to trust others again, and not for nothing. You might have experienced, first hand, how possible it is for another person to betray you. However, the reality is that not everyone is going to do that and a failure to recognize that fact can make it difficult to get into another relationship if the marriage is over, or might haunt your marriage and cause you to stress for the rest of its duration. If you have trust issues, overcoming them isn’t going to be easy. It may require counseling, though some people can also overcome it with the help of techniques like mindfulness.
Infidelity, even the kind that doesn’t get physical, can be difficult to recover from and, indeed, the relationship hit by it may be changed forever. Hopefully, the tips above can help you find your way to cope, however.