The mistake of an affair is a stain on your relationship. It is unfortunate that you cannot simply apologize and move on. Instead, you have to deal with the guilt that comes from having hurt your partner in such a way. Now it is important to reconcile, but how do you do that? How do you hold yourself accountable and make your partner see that you are indeed genuinely trying to repair the relationship?
Today we are going to explain how to be truly accountable after an affair.
What Does It Mean To Be Accountable?
Accountability is sometimes expressed as “taking ownership of your actions.” When someone is accountable, it means that they understand why something occurred the way it did and accept the consequences. Not only that, but they often take responsibility for the result of their actions and do not blame anyone else for the outcome.
However, in some relationships, accountability can be difficult to assign to yourself, even if you did something as bad as having an affair. Issues within the relationship could have spurred you to do so, and you might not have felt terribly guilty about the act. Until…you hurt your spouse.
Here is the thing: You cannot maintain a marriage or a relationship under the shadow of an affair if you don’t take ownership of your actions. Affairs are not justifiable in most cases. Rebuilding your relationship means doing more than saying, “I’m sorry.” It means you have to lay yourself bare before your betrayed partner and hold yourself accountable for your vices.
How To Be Accountable After An Affair
You must be responsible for your actions, and there are many ways to go about apologizing to the loved one that you have hurt. Though there is a list below, it’s not exhaustive. Any relationship that has been wounded due to infidelity is unique. It is going to take a lot of time to heal the emotional damage and to rebuild trust and intimacy between you and your spouse. Unfortunately, there is no way to estimate how quickly the betrayed partner is going to come around, but you cannot give up. Accountability is the first step toward forgiveness.
Stop The Affair
Obviously, stopping the affair is the most important thing. You can’t repair a relationship that has been damaged by an affair if the affair is ongoing. Yes, it might be difficult to end the magic between you and the other person, but if you are concerned about harming your spouse, it’s time to take responsibility for that hurt.
A cheater who does not show remorse is bound to go out and do the same thing. The terrible behavior is often justified by issues with the relationship. To be accountable means to cast aside those issues and to be honest about how badly you hurt your spouse. Instead of trying to be defensive about having an affair for whichever reason, listen to what your partner has to say. Understand the pain you caused. Listen to your spouse and what they need in order to pull through this.
If you show empathy, you will show more accountability, in turn.
Follow Through With Your Actions
You have ended the affair, and you have shown remorse by apologizing. Now, it’s time to prove to your betrayed spouse that you are telling the truth. For example, if you offer to do the dishes, do the dishes. If you promise to show your partner all emails and text messages for their peace of mind, do it. Do not get upset or impatient with your partner, either. They are going through a lot.
Remember, this isn’t about how you feel. It’s about rebuilding trust. About showing that you can be trusted and honest.
During this period of reconciliation, you will most likely be attending therapy together. When it comes down to examining the faults in your relationship and the reasons why the infidelity happened, you are going to need to show remorse. Moreover, you need to embrace vulnerability. In therapy, it is okay to open up and express difficulties in your life. The more you and your partner understand not only the problems in your relationship but in your life, the better you have a chance of recommitting and pulling through this difficult time.
Don’t forget the way your relationship started: by being available for one another. By supporting one another. If you take a small emotional risk during therapy, your partner will see how you really feel.
Be Stronger Together
The bottom line in this conversation about accountability is that consequences always follow affairs. If you avoid those consequences and put the blame on your already betrayed partner, then you are not being accountable. In order to recommit to your marriage and support your hurt partner, you must do more than run away. You need to be accountable.
Do you need help strengthening your relationship and overcoming the aftermath of an affair? Couples Academy can help. Our team of infidelity therapists and counselors can teach you how to grow in your relationship—together. Get in touch with us today to learn more.