When thinking about an affair, most people jump to the sexual ones that happen overnight. The truth is that there are many kinds of affairs, including ones built entirely on emotions. Learning that your spouse has been engaged with someone emotionally can be devastating. Knowing how to heal after your partner has an emotional affair is far more challenging than you may believe you can endure. But knowing which steps to take, as well as where to find help, can ease depression after infidelity and heal your relationship.
Let’s talk about how this can happen.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
Sometimes, you can call an emotional affair an emotionally charged relationship between two people. Others may say they are an affair of the heart and mind. A key component to an emotional affair is that, for the people involved, it feels like an amazing friendship where you both seem to fit together. You enjoy the time you spend together, but none of that time spent is sexual. For many, emotional affairs are even held online.
However, what begins as an innocent relationship evolves into something deeper. The two people start to share more intimate thoughts and feelings about one another. While nothing sexual happens, they are so invested in one another that outside relationships or marriages are neglected.
Of course, emotional affairs often lead to the hurt partner feeling betrayed and alone. Learning that your partner has been deeply emotionally connected with another can be traumatizing. That is why emotional affairs are considerably harder to recover from than other kinds of infidelity.
Can A Marriage Recover From An Emotional Affair?
As mentioned above, emotional affairs are earth-shaking when discovered. Trust is shattered. Thus, rebuilding your marriage is going to take time and effort from both sides.
Most people who are betrayed by a partner who has had an emotional affair feel hopeless. No doubt you are feeling the same. You may feel abandoned, unsure, and scared of what comes next. However, the good news is that there are ways to move forward from even infidelity in your relationship—so long as you know which steps to take.
How To Heal After Your Partner Has An Emotional Affair
Emotional affairs lead to emotional upheaval. Moving beyond that point is going to be an intimidating step, but in order to heal, you must have faith—in yourself and your partner.
Here are some tips on how to heal after your partner has an emotional affair:
It can be tempting to deny the affair and your emotions. Whether you are the one who had the affair or were betrayed, do not cast this aside. Be honest about what happened. One of you was unfaithful. One of you hurt the other gravely.
Honesty is a key component of successful relationships. So is communication. If you are tempted to hide pieces of the affair or your emotions, you will never be able to cross the bridge toward recovery. Yes, it will hurt to learn the truth of the matter, but the pain is only temporary.
Disappointment and rage are normal emotions, but if you try to bottle everything up, you will end up with depression after infidelity. Instead, give yourself time to feel the full spectrum of emotions. Once you have let yourself grieve the loss of your relationship as it used to be, you can think more clearly about what is on the horizon.
Often, the issues that an affair brings to light cannot be dealt with alone. If you are truly committed to healing post-affair, then you are going to need some help. An unbiased professional, such as a couple or infidelity therapist, can help you be heard and healed. They will assist you with communicating your pain. A therapist can walk you and your partner through the reasons why the affair happened and then provide you with tools to begin rebuilding your connection.
There are two things you must remain committed to if you hope to rebuild your relationship. First, you must stay committed to one another. Believe in second chances. Understand that your partner may never have meant to hurt you, and they never would have if they had known the end result.
Second, stay committed to the healing process. You have a long, hard road ahead of you, but you have one another and a counselor on your side.
Do you want to know how to regain trust after emotional cheating? Set boundaries and do not let them decay. Boundaries are essential for a couple of reasons. For the betrayed partner, it is up to the cheater to acknowledge those boundaries. It shows commitment to the future. One of the easiest ways to set and adhere to a boundary is with complete transparency. The betrayer should allow their partner access to emails and text messages for peace of mind, for as long as their partner believes it is necessary.
However, boundaries are also important for maintaining communication and curtailing arguments. Learning how to speak about your emotions and to say no will make recovery much easier—even if it doesn’t feel that way at first.
Give Yourself Plenty Of Time
Combating depression after infidelity and regaining trust go hand in hand. Furthermore, this healing process is going to take years. Emotional affairs uproot the foundations of your relationship. The intimacy you built has been upended, and how you need time to fill in the cracks.
In and outside of therapy, you should express to one another how much you matter to one another. Small acts of kindness and compassion will go a long way. Do not try to rush the healing phase. Do not get frustrated when one of you takes a step back. It will be messy and clumsy at times, but you will soon be able to stand side-by-side, stronger than ever.
Are You Ready To Heal Your Relationship?
Emotional affairs seem to rewrite the future you had planned for you and your partner. You may feel that they no longer love you. That your relationship is over. However, that does not have to be the reality of things. You can both heal after an emotional affair. By attending couples therapy, fixing the root issues in your relationship, and gaining skills that build your connection, you can overcome this challenge. At Couples Academy, we believe that affairs are not the end but the beginning of something new.
Are you ready to regain trust after emotional cheating and move forward together? Then get in touch with the team at Couples Academy today to learn more.