Infidelity can be one of the most devastating and crushing experiences a relationship can go through. Trust can be severed, emotions can be trampled, and intimacy can be thrown out the window. Cheating is one of the top reasons for divorce. However, it can sometimes lead to relationship improvements.
It may be hard to believe that a relationship, or you personally, can fully recover after your partner cheats. But many couples use the experience as a tool to move forward. Keep in mind that it will take both – personal recovery, and marriage recovery, in order for the relationship to really work. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help to make that happen.
Personal Recovery After Infidelity
There are several key steps to consider in personal recovery. Anyone who goes through a cheating experience will go through a slightly different timeline. However, the following are realities that need to be faced in order for you to grow, recover, and move forward:
Overcome physical and emotional reactions.
You may lose weight, have trouble sleeping, feel depression, etc. Focus on your physical and emotional needs by finding ways to reduce stress and taking care of your body.
Don’t stay in denial.
Understand the concept of an affair, and know that it’s not ‘just you’ who has to go through this. Knowing different reasons people tend to cheat in general may give you more insight into why your partner strayed.
Work on rebuilding your sense of self, and your confidence.
Be open about what happened, and focus your energy and attention on dealing with it personally, and with your partner. Don’t just ‘bury’ it away. Real help and support is available, and can be very beneficial for individuals and couples willing to give it a chance.
Relationship Recovery After Infidelity
When you both decide that you want the relationship to recover, it’s about more than just staying together. Keeping the relationship where it was before the affair isn’t an option. Recovery means growth, and change, and both partners have to be on board in order for it to work. Use the following tips to start on that journey together:
Make sure your priorities are clear with one another, and decide what your long-term decisions will be as a couple. Try thinking about the future, and what you both want it to look like with each other.
The individual who did the cheating needs to accept their responsibilities. All interaction with the third party involved needs to be cut off completely, and they need to be able to answer any questions their partner may have openly, and without anger or frustration.
Learning how to communicate openly and honestly is a huge part of being able to move forward in the relationship. If you’ve struggled with that together, you may want to consider marriage counseling as a resource.
Give yourself time. It’s unfair to expect that everything will be ‘better’ quickly. There is no set timeline in place for how long it will take to fully recover, but be sure to give yourself as much time as you both need.
It will never be an easy road to recovery once someone has broken the trust of a relationship by cheating. However, it’s not impossible, if both partners truly want to make it work. Use some of the tips listed here to get started on your journey, and begin the healing process for yourself and your relationship.
Written by Kin Leung, MFT, providing couples therapy Burlingame