Discovering your partner has been having an affair is a truly shocking experience, it’s incredibly traumatic. Healing after an affair is painful. If you find yourself unable to function and struggling to get through the days, know that your response it totally normal. Coping with infidelity smashes into all of our most vulnerable and insecure parts within ourselves and our relationship. However, rebuilding trust after an affair is possible.
It said that the experience of finding you’ve got a cheating partner is very similar to leaning up against a wall and falling straight through it. Something that was solid and dependable no longer is. However there is good news! According to The Wall Street Journal, 76% of couples do get through it. There is a very good chance you can heal this pain if you get the right kind of help for coping with infidelity.
THE EFFECTS OF AN AFFAIR
Finding out that our partner has been unfaithful, unleashes an unfathomable pain in most people. It also creates a mountain of emotional uncertainty, distrust and sense of abandonment that is specific to the experience of being betrayed by a loved one. Fundamentally we need to have a sense of trust and certainty within our relationships if we are to feel loved or loving. If that sense of safety has been badly injured it’s a lot more like a gaping wound than a gash.
The mechanism for healing after the affair and repairing betrayal is trust. You’re probably wondering how you can trust what you don’t believe is true anymore? I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced an earthquake but it feels as if the ground that you’re used to being solid has suddenly turned to liquid. It’s shocking and it’s scary, again, something you assumed was solid and dependable no longer is.
WHAT TO DO TO REBUILD TRUST AFTER AN AFFAIR
Let Yourself Be Raw With Your Emotions
Sometimes, when someone is cheated on, they try to keep their emotions bottled inside of them, thinking that this is somehow “taking the high road”.
While we certainly don’t condone screaming at your partner on the top of your lungs, it is important to wear your heart on your sleeve and make sure your partner knows exactly how you’re feeling about them cheating. Don’t be afraid to cry, grieve, and talk about your pain with your partner.
Letting yourself be 100 percent emotionally vulnerable in front of your partner can help you break down communication barriers in your relationship.
Don’t Ignore What Happened
One thing that’s even worse than holding in your emotions is to ignore the issue completely. If you do this, there will constantly be an elephant in the room and you will never be able to rebuild your trust. And, you will never get down to the bottom of the underlying issue in your relationship.
Now, this isn’t to say that you’re at fault for your partner cheating. However, there may be an issue that, if you addressed it, would make your relationship a million times stronger.
Also, getting to the underlying issue can help you decide whether your partner is worth sticking with or not. For example, if they say the reason they cheated was because of something you did, and they try to shift the blame onto you entirely, your partner is not willing to take accountability.
Don’t Be a Helicopter Partner
We’ve all heard of helicopter parents. But, partners can be helicopters as well. Many couples make the mistake of thinking that building trust means watching your partner’s every move. As tempting as it can be to do this, this will actually end up destroying trust in the long run.
If you’re checking your partner’s texts and emails, checking in with them a million times a day, tracking them on their phone, or engaging in any other behavior that involves keeping a close eye on them, you aren’t building trust. All you are doing is giving them a constant reminder that you, in fact, don’t trust them.
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Stay Present and Future-Oriented
When you’ve been cheated on, it can be easy to fall into a routine of constantly living in the past, dwelling on the incident and pitying yourself because of what happened.
But, this is not how you build trust after cheating. In order to build trust again, you need to make your best effort to focus on the present and future. Rather than focusing on what you or your partner could have done to prevent cheating, focus on what you can do now and in the future to make your relationship stronger.
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Go to Counselling
One very practical and important solution to rebuilding trust in your relationship is to go to counselling.
Sometimes, all it takes is an impartial third party to help you figure out how to get your relationship back on track. While talking to friends or family can be helpful, oftentimes, they end up being a negative influence. This is because they love you and hate to see you get hurt. Therefore, they have personal biases that will cloud their advice on the situation.
Plus, sometimes it just helps to have your feelings heard by someone who isn’t your partner. Many couples who have happy, healthy relationships go to counseling too. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about seeing a professional.
If you can’t trust yourself, you are never going to be able to trust your partner.
Oftentimes, the partner who was cheated on starts developing doubts about themselves. If you find you’ve been asking yourself questions like, “Should I have done something different?” or, “Should I have seen this coming?” Then you need to take a step back.
Remind yourself that you’re smart, you can trust your own feelings, and that you’ll be okay moving forward. Also, it’s important to remind yourself that if your partner cheated again, you could survive it.
Communicate About Communication
In a lot of cases, couples who have been through cheating had communication issues before the cheating happened.
This isn’t to say poor communication is an excuse to cheat, but excellent communication can help strengthen your relationship. While there’s a lot of argument out there about why cheating occurs, usually it has to do with one partner feeling like their needs weren’t being met.
So, when talking about the cheating incident, address why there was a communication problem and what both you and your partner are going to do to solve it. Sometimes, saying something as simple as, “You can always tell me when something about our relationship is bothering you,” is enough to strengthen your communication.
You can’t schedule the restoration of trust and most likely it will never return to how it was, but eventually it will be better. It’s not about going back to ‘how things were’ it’s now about rebuilding a new dynamic between the both of you. A dynamic that is transparent and honest about how both people feel. Being clear about each others desires and knowing what it takes to make each other feel adored and important. People make mistakes and people are not their behaviour. To accept and to forgive will make the world of difference.