The aftermath of infidelity is a road full of potholes. Navigating the obstacles and coming out on the opposite side healed might seem impossible. It helps to know what hurt partners need most in affair recovery. After all, they are the ones who have been waylaid by the betrayal and the hurt that followed. If you and your partner are working on overcoming infidelity in a relationship, then you are going to need these tips for helping the hurt partner heal.
The Betrayer Needs To Atone
There is a common mistake among couples attempting to repair their relationship. Many think that, once they decide to work through the affair, it is automatically over. That everything can be swept like dust under the rug and be disregarded forever. Unfortunately, that is not how healing works. You cannot begin to work through marital problems if the betrayer has not outright canceled the affair, shown remorse, and talked about the affair.
Are all these things difficult? Yes, but the hurt partner needs to know the affair is done and that their unfaithful partner is willing to change for the better.
Compassion, Not Defensiveness
Does this sound familiar? You both decided to get back together after the affair. It’s for the kids, you tell yourselves. Things go well for a while. Work is unproblematic, you have planned a family vacation, and life seems to be moving on without much of a hitch. Underneath, though, you are lost, scared, and confused. You dread every moment your unfaithful spouse walks out the door to head to work. You worry you might let something slip in front of the kids. Worse, when you go to talk about it, your partner shuts down and gets defensive about the affair.
This leads to rising tension, and you may end up getting into a fight.
Compassion is key. If the hurt partner wants to get over the affair, the one who betrayed them must step up and make themselves available. Being compassionate, checking in, and being transparent is essential. Arguing and hiding your emotions will have the exact opposite effect.
Prioritize Time Together
It’s understandable if this sounds like a hard ask. Your partner just wounded you deeply, and now you have to spend time with them? They’re lucky if you even cook them dinner!
Keeping a distance like that is only going to impede the recovery progress. As much as it hurts, as much as you would rather watch TV by yourself or go on a trip with the kids, you need to spend time with your spouse.
Yes, they hurt you, but if you want to save your relationship, you need to think of them as your partner in recovery. Spend time together. Rekindle the love you have lost. Consider it a team-building exercise. Hire a babysitter and go see a movie. Start a new hobby together. Spend time in the evening reflecting on your day together.
Allow yourself these little pleasantries. Soon you will remember why you care so deeply about the one who hurt you.
Attend Couples Therapy
Having a support system is valuable. Being able to express your emotions openly and in a non-judgmental environment. That is critical to affair recovery, especially for the hurt partner. It may feel awkward, at first, to open up to the person who betrayed your trust. That is why couples therapy is so helpful after infidelity.
The therapist is a professional who is unbiased. They will listen to both of you, ask the correct questions, and get conversations started. You can work through the affair in a more healthy way (as in, no lashing out or name-calling or blaming one another).
Additionally, couples counseling provides you with the skills needed to maintain your relationship in the long run. Communication, boundary setting, and coping skills… are all things that you can develop during a therapy session together.
Do Not Return To Normal
As the hurt partner, you might think that living life as you know it is the best way to work through the pain. Think again. The normal state of things is how the whole affair happened. If you and your partner are determined to save your marriage or relationship, then you need to change “normal.” This is the time to be proactive, not reactive.
This is the time to put your foot down and be responsible.
In therapy, you will most likely discuss the issues in the relationship that led to your partner feeling like they needed to betray you. These things need to be addressed and fixed before you can both move on. Furthermore, you need to make your partner aware of what needs to change on their end so you feel safe and stable.
You Can Save Your Marriage With Couples Academy
What does the hurt partner need most in affair recovery? A partner in recovery. A friend. A confidante who is compassionate and doesn’t point the finger. Most of all, the hurt partner needs to feel safe. That means talking about the affair and setting up some boundaries. If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. The counselors at Couples Academy are here to help.
Our team knows about infidelity, and we know how to help you heal from the worst pains. Together, we can help you rebuild your broken relationship and recreate it into a
union that lasts and lasts. Contact us today to learn more!