Working through infidelity is challenging. It requires massive amounts of vulnerability and energy from both partners. But your relationship isn't doomed if there has been infidelity. You can recover from infidelity and it can even, in some cases, lead to a stronger partnership than ever.
As you and your partner move through your journey, several things can support your recovery and bring you closer together.
The emotions surrounding infidelity are intense and often erratic. It's common to feel hurt, betrayal, confusion, anger, guilt, loneliness, shame, blame and a myriad of other things. These emotions can come in waves and cycles; it might feel like you're experiencing conflicting emotions at times.
When you're in the grip of strong emotions, like those arising from infidelity, self-care becomes more important than ever. Yet, it's often one of the first things that stop. Your negative emotions can be so strong that you forget to look after yourself.
Remember to make time for the things that make you feel good. This may be exercise, meditation, socialising, reading. Whatever it is that soothes you.
It's not indulgence, it's healing.
Work to Deepen Your Understanding
Many factors influence infidelity. No one thing leads someone to having an affair. By exploring these factors, you create an understanding of not only what has happened but also why it happened.
These factors can include -
You will see more of the "why" by understanding what you were both experiencing at the time of infidelity.
Often, couples benefit from learning more about how their partner responds to certain things and why their responses are what they are.
Take Responsibility for Your Part
Responsibility isn't about blame or shame. It's about accountability and acknowledging what happened so both partners can come together to prevent infidelity from occurring again.
For trust to rebuild, taking responsibility is a vital step. This is important even for the one who didn't have the affair; everyone has a part to play in the journey of a relationship.
Create a Shared View
Creating a shared view of why the infidelity happened helps you move towards recovering from infidelity as a couple. Your perspectives and understandings are in alignment, which can provide the sense of safety needed to move on from what happened.
This sense of safety is influenced by genuinely understanding why something happened, an understanding that can only arise when both people are on the same page. And when you get why something happened, you have more control over whether it happens again and can more accurately predict what will happen in the future.
Re-evaluate Based on Your New Perspective
This is a time to look at your relationship based on all the things you now know and understand. Use your understanding of each other and the two of you as a couple to decide what changes might be beneficial to your relationship.
This could mean altering your relationship in significant ways or making minor tweaks. The aim is to rebuild your relationship in a way that meets and supports both partners' needs and desires.
Forgive and Accept Forgiveness
When infidelity has just been revealed or discovered, it can be almost impossible to consider forgiveness. The hurt and anger that's felt make forgiveness feel as though it's well out of reach. But, as the healing process continues, the time to look at forgiveness rises.
There are three critical elements in forgiveness –
Forgiveness doesn't mean the hurt and anger disappear completely. It's not about letting anyone off the hook and saying that what happened was ok. Forgiveness is about moving forward positively.
Create a New Sexual Style
Sex is an integral part of a relationship and gives you an opportunity for intimacy, connection and pleasure. Recovering from infidelity is not just about surviving but rebuilding the romantic connection between you in a healthy and genuine way.
You or your partner might not feel like having sex; the challenge here is to find a level of intimacy that is comfortable for you both and creates a secure bond. Touching, kissing, cuddling are all ways of being intimate.
Communicating with your partner about your sexual needs and desires can bring eroticism back into your relationship, filling it with new vitality and excitement.
Stop Making Comparisons
Your relationship is unique and can't be compared to an affair. Or any other relationship you've had in the past. It's a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
When there's been infidelity, often partners want to know everything. What was the sex like? Was it better than the sex with me? Did you find them more attractive than me? Did you like more than me? These questions are natural and normal. But…more hurtful than helpful.
Apples can't be compared to oranges.
Take Steps to Prevent Relapse
An often-overlooked part of recovering from infidelity is relapse prevention. Talking about what can be done to make sure it doesn't happen again and having a plan in place.
Some things to think about are –
Working through infidelity can be challenging for you and your partner. Talking with a sex therapist can be an empowering way to work through your infidelity in a supportive and knowledgeable environment. All appointments with our experienced counsellors are entirely confidential and non-judgemental.
Reaching out for support can be difficult, so you can book with us online or by using any of the options on our contact page.