Here are some tips for how a couple can overcome a long-hidden infidelity.
Come Clean About All Affairs
When a long-hidden affair comes to light, it is important to not dismiss the incident or those that came before. Some couples are willing to accept that everyone has a secret or two that they wish to keep. However, when infidelity is on the table, those secrets can create tension between you and your partner. This creates an environment that fosters anger, remorse, depression, and distrust.
What It Does Not Allow For Is Healing.
But if you do reveal and discuss the infidelity, the outcome is much more positive. One study found that couples who attend couples therapy and talk about the affair are much more likely to survive than the couples that avoid the situation.
The discovery of an affair doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. It’s difficult either way. That said, affairs begin because of something dissatisfying within the relationship. By talking about the affair, you can confront each other. Affairs are terrible things, but they can become a beneficial impetus to growth between you and your partner when approached the right way.
Enlist Some Help And Talk About It
Learning about your partner’s betrayal is going to hurt deeply. Whether the affair happened 10 years prior or ended a week ago, it will burn, regardless. During this time, you may want to push your spouse away and refuse their apologies. You want to save the relationship for fear of it crumbling.
The best course of action is neither of these. It is to find an unbiased party and talk it out. Yes, that might be the last thing you want to do—do it anyway. Couples therapy and marriage counseling are wonderful tools. A third party, such as a therapist, can help you both work through the strong emotions, communicate more effectively, and start setting up the process for healing.
Plus, a therapist will understand the emotional toll a long-hidden affair could have on someone. They will be empathetic to your hurt while also keeping the environment neutral and safe for both parties.
Consider The Cause Of The Affair
Infidelity happens when one or both people have needs that are not being met. Something is unsatisfying, and so that person seeks what they lack elsewhere. Many couples working through a long-hidden affair have stories involving late nights at work, lack of validation, heavy drinking or substance abuse, unmet sexual desires, boredom, or a lack of confidence.
Even if the affair happened years ago, these issues may still be ongoing. Perhaps those problems back then shaped the relationship into what it is today. By discussing these issues with a therapist, you and your partner can start to understand the motivation behind the affair.
While it does not justify the action, it could help you forgive them in the future. This discussion also sets the grounds for a stronger, healthier relationship.
Use The Affair As A Chance To Reconnect
The universal truth of affairs is that they do damage to a relationship. It doesn’t matter when the affair is discovered. Betraying a partner is like laying a landmine. Even 5, 10, or 15 years into the future, that landmine can still explode just as violently as when it was fresh.
Because of this, forgiveness does not take weeks or months but years. Healing from an affair does not happen overnight. The partner who had the affair must show remorse for their actions, even if it has been so long that they cannot remember all the details. This is the only way trust in the bond between you two can be restored.
Although it is going to be difficult, as long as you face the challenges side-by-side, there is little you won’t be able to overcome. Start to rebuild trust by showing remorse for past mistakes in the relationship, be it neglect, drinking, the affair, or something else.
You may find that the affair helps you to reconnect and rekindle the passion you once had for each other.
You wanted to know how a couple can overcome a long-hidden infidelity. The process is the same for any kind of betrayal. The one who had the affair must come clean and show remorse for their actions. From there, attending therapy, uncovering the motivation behind the affair, and discussing your problems together can solidify your marriage or relationship.
Affairs can leave your reeling and feeling hopeless, but it does not have to be the end. Couples Academy is unique, because we show you exactly how to rebuild after an affair and make your relationship stronger than ever. Get in touch with Couples Academy today to learn more about our services.