After having an affair or being hurt by your partner having one, life is going to feel a lot different. You look at the life you had, the life you want, and you realize that one event changed everything. Perhaps you have already decided to pull through this traumatic experience with your partner. You even agreed to work things out and start over. Now, you need to learn the 10 steps to healing a relationship after an affair.
Here is to start your next chapter in this relationship off on the right foot.
The first step to healing your relationship is to be completely honest. The person who had the affair needs to be transparent about what happened. If you are waiting on your partner to ask the questions, don’t. For those who have cheated, the best thing you can do is tell your partner that you had an affair, ended it, and want to seek forgiveness for what you did.
For those who are hurt, it is important that what you feel is heard. Many people feel like they are going crazy from the grief and pain they feel from being betrayed. Speaking that pain can make it a little easier to bear.
For something as egregious as infidelity a simple “I’m sorry” will not work. Repentance is a strong word, but it is how the partner who had the affair should approach their apology. There must be assurances and promises that such a terrible thing will never happen again. Furthermore, aside from promises that may be brushed off, the betrayer must show remorse for their actions. Prove that you understand how horribly you have cut your partner with this affair.
This is how to regain trust after cheating.
3. Seek Assistance
At this point, you and your partner may decide that you need help. Indeed, rebuilding your life after the bomb was dropped and the affair came to light is going to be challenging. Most often, couples cannot overcome the burden of it alone. There is no shame in calling for help. Marriage counseling after infidelity is a powerful tool that teaches you and your partner how to heal.
You not only learn how to cope with the emotions that you are currently feeling, but you also learn methods for fixing the issues in your relationship.
During this process, it is important to understand that infidelity is rarely a random choice. Issues in your marriage or relationship build and build until something regrettable happens. As such, while the betrayer is the one responsible for their unfaithful actions, you both played a role in the breakdown of your relationship.
Thus, you have to examine your own behaviors. How much did you communicate your needs and wants? Did you spend quality time together? Were there issues you could never talk about that drove you apart? If you did try to talk, did the conversation devolve into arguing?
In couples therapy, you can discuss these things with a therapist. They will help guide you toward the answers you seek.
5. Share Responsibility
Even though one person strayed, you are still a team. Yes, the unfaithful person has to own up to their mistakes completely. However, that does not mean the other person did not contribute to the issues that made the relationship unhappy. No matter how small those issues might be, acknowledging that there was a better, healthier way to conduct yourself fosters understanding and forgiveness. If you can share the responsibility, your emotional intimacy will be much greater in the future.
6. Rules And Boundaries
During the beginning of the healing process, it is wise to set non-negotiable rules of conduct. For example, the cheater must agree to 100% transparency. That means every text message, email, and phone call is screened by the other partner. These measures may seem a bit austere, but this step is necessary for rebuilding trust after the betrayal. Later on, these rules can be softened.
Additionally, consider speaking with a couples therapist about building healthy boundaries. Being able to ask for time alone, vulnerability, communicating things you dislike, and respecting one another is crucial for the continuity of your relationship.
7. Reset Your Connection
So far you have gone to therapy, opened up about the struggles that took place within the relationship, and have gained an understanding of why the affair occurred. Now you are ready to reset the connection. See each other in a new light. Reward the effort your partner has put into rebuilding your life. Redevelop your friendship by spending quality time together. Spend moments learning and laughing together.
8. Rekindle Intimacy
Sometimes part of the healing process deals with redefining what intimacy means to you. When one partner sleeps with someone else or has intimate thoughts about a stranger, it puts an elephant in the room. You cannot ignore what your partner did. The best way to rekindle love and intimacy is to be vulnerable and talk about your fears, desires, and needs.
9. Let Go
This is one of the hardest steps. Even with marriage counseling after infidelity, it will take a long time to let go of the pain. To believe in your partner wholeheartedly once again. But that time will come. Trust in the process.
10. Love Your Partner Well
You can come a long way. You now know how to regain trust after emotional cheating or a physical affair. Both of you have acknowledged your mistakes, and you moved forward together. The last task to healing a relationship after an affair is to show one another love. Keep what you learn in couples therapy in the back of your mind. Tackle challenges together. Be open and compassionate.
Ready To Recover From Infidelity?
Infidelity was the earthquake that shook your home off its foundation. Yet, with time, the fissures heal. To turn the affair into a positive, redefining, life-altering moment, consider attending couples therapy with Couples Academy. Our team of counselors can help you navigate the road towards a brighter future together. Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today!