So you’ve found out your partner has done the unthinkable and now you’re dealing with infidelity. Not only have they betrayed your trust, now you’re wondering if your relationship will ever be the same again. You don’t know what to feel. It’s a combination of anger, sadness, and strangely, maybe even relief if you’ve been suspecting it for a while.
Is there anything you can do to save your relationship? Yes, in fact, there is. Many relationships have suffered the devastating impacts of infidelity and survived. After dealing with it, many relationships have even become stronger as long as there is a shared desire to repair the damages. Here are some steps you can take to deal with infidelity.
Allow yourself to feel angry
It’s okay to feel angry. Some people facing the reality of infidelity try to hide all their anger inside. In moments like this you want to try to feel like you are in control, but letting your anger out helps keep your emotions from boiling inside. It’s all right to cry; it’s okay to scream and get mad. Face the emotions you are feeling with honesty.
Know that you don’t have to make a decision right away. There are many aspects of your relationship to sift through (not all of them negative either). Give yourself time to sort through all your emotions. Give yourself time to feel.
In the end you might want to leave the relationship. Or, after giving yourself time, you might want to try to save it by attending couples therapy. Either way, there is no right or wrong choice, but giving yourself time can make that choice easier.
Don’t blame yourself
It’s easy to fall into a thought pattern where you blame yourself for your partner’s infidelity. You might believe that you did something to drive your partner to go outside of your relationship. Don’t carry around unwarranted guilt for something your partner chose to do. Remember it was their choice that created this infidelity, not yours.
Ups and downs
If you decide to stay together, don’t expect everything to go back to the way things were before right away. There are a lot of emotions to sort through, for both of you. Some days will feel great, while others you may be triggered into remembering the infidelity and the anger and sadness might bubble up again.
Allow yourself to feel and process these emotions. It takes time and effort, but many relationships can overcome the aftermaths of infidelity and actually become stronger after working through it.
Open lines of communication
If the relationship is going to mend, both parties need to open up lines of honest communication. While emotions are still fresh, you may find this to be a difficult process. Think about reaching out to a couples therapist to help with the process.
A licensed counselor helps to lead you through your emotions and mediate your communication. It’s important to figure out the cause behind the infidelity, and it’s hard to do it alone. You’re therapist has the schooling and experience to help you through these difficult emotions.
Don’t expect this to happen over night. Reestablishing trust is a lengthy process and takes planning. Open communication will help. Be clear about where you are going and what you are doing. Approach everything with 100% honesty. Give your partner a schedule of where you plan to be and why.
Be open to leaving the relationship
Not every relationship will work out. Sometimes the infidelity is just too much to overcome. Be open to the fact that you might need to leave the relationship. Sometimes a partner might not be interested in taking the steps to fixing the relationship. This is often a sign that it won’t work out. Every relationship is different and only you can make the right decision when it comes to yours.
Infidelity is one of the most difficult relationship issues to deal with. Each situation is different and what works for one couple might not work for another. The above suggestions included a number of strategies to begin coping, but they are only the beginning. Seek out a licensed counselor for more information about dealing with infidelity. Your relationship can overcome, just know it will take work to rebuild the loss of trust.