Two people sit silently, the air heavy with anger and recrimination. There are no words to describe the devastation of being betrayed by one’s partner.
Questions assault the mind: How did I not know? Why did I choose to not see it? How could he/she do it to me, to us? Why am I not enough? Could I have done anything differently?
When you have betrayed your partner by having an affair, you have undeniably wounded them and traumatised your relationship. Now you want to make things right, but everything you say or do is misunderstood and met with rejection by your partner. If you are prepared to give 100% commitment to your relationship then with sustained hard work, healing, repair and recovery is very possible.
Here are 6 principles to heal your marriage or de facto relationship after the affair. They are tough but absolutely necessary for repair, healing and recovery.
Be honest with yourself.
Look at yourself from the third person position. Call the act for what it is – a betrayal of your partner’s trust. You are responsible for your actions.
Apologize to your partner.
Accept responsibility for your actions and resist the urge to blame your partner for your betrayal. Often, infidelity is a symptom of unmet need within your marriage relationship and you will be eager to address this, however now is not the time. Your partner is feeling deeply hurt and distrustful of you. Your first task is to acknowledge your deceit and betrayal and begin to repair broken trust.
Be honest with your partner.
Leaving out the details to ‘protect my partner’s feelings’ sounds noble, but is not noble in practice. Your partner will want to know the details in spite of how deeply it hurts. By being honest in your response, your partner can process the facts of the affair and begin to move forward.
Work at building your partner’s trust.
There is a consequence to betrayal. Broken trust is not easily repairable and takes months, sometimes years to repair. The process can be accelerated by being prepared to accept the level of vulnerability that your partner needs from you.
Access to your social media passwords, emails and knowledge of where you expect to be each day feels enormously intrusive. However, consider this the trade-off for your partner’s newly forged trust. When you are prepared to be totally honest with nothing to hide, your partner’s trust is a likely to be restored in a shorter period of time and the couple bond will grow stronger.
Disconnect from that other person.
100% commitment to your relationship requires a deliberate decision to distance your self from the other person.
If you are the one who has backed away, the other person may choose to pursue you. Whilst this is flattering to the ego, it is a temptation that is easy to give in to and will continue to destabilise your relationship. Do what ever you have to do to put an end to the affair completely – change your email address, block your Facebook account, change your phone number.
If the other person works alongside you, talk with your partner about your options as a couple: changing jobs, relocating. These are huge life choices that sound extreme. However, if your marriage or relationship is the priority, I urge you to consider these options. The other person may still pursue you if they choose, but you are saying to your partner, “I will do whatever it takes to save our relationship” and sending out a clear message to the other person that you have made a choice for the relationship.
Seek professional help.
Couples counselling is essential to the process of healing, repair and recovery. A couples counsellor will facilitate dialogue for you as a couple that will promote understanding, healing, change and growth. You may also be helped by individual counselling in order to understand yourself, your needs, and personal changes you need to make to restore a level of personal happiness and well being.
Has your partner had an affair? Are you trying to save your couple relationship after cheating on your partner? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online.