Is surviving infidelity together at all possible? Can a couple work through and get past the ultimate relationship betrayal – unfaithfulness?
Infidelity is devastating. The damage that is left, damaged caused by betrayal, lack of trust, unanswered questions and the unknown future seems irreparable.
But let me tell you that surviving infidelity together is possible. It won’t be easy but it can be done, and you can save your marriage.
Here are some important steps to take in the healing process.
1. No contact. None.
This is the number one most important thing for couples who are striving towards surviving infidelity together. If this step isn’t taken, getting through this might not be possible.
It is essential that the unfaithful person cut their lover out of their life completely. There can be no trying to be friends, no final meeting for closure, no secret meetings to feed the need to be together. Unfriended and blocked on social media. Contact info deleted.
I believe that it’s impossible to fully get away from a relationship if you don’t go ‘no contact.’ This is especially important after infidelity.
Why? Affairs are addictive and, for the married couple to get through recovery, it’s imperative that the addiction is broken. The unfaithful person needs to be fully cut off from their lover so that they can focus on their partner. This is not possible if their lover hovers in the background.
Furthermore, the wronged partner needs to know and trust that their partner’s personality is not still out there, threatening the relationship.
So, first and foremost, go no contact. Without it, surviving infidelity together will be almost impossible.
2. Talking it out.
An essential part of surviving infidelity together is talking it out.
No affair happens in a void. More often than not, when an affair occurs, there are issues in a relationship.
Perhaps one partner never feels heard or isn’t having their sexual needs met or is overwhelmed by the emotional abuse they are subjected to. Perhaps parenting has made them feel like less of a person and having an affair allowed them to feel like themselves again.
Whatever the reasons, these issues need to be discussed. Everything must be put out in the open so that everyone understands what might have led to the affair. Not to assign blame but to take a good honest look at what the issues are in the relationship and commit to making change around them.
Talking it out can be difficult and often it’s important for a couple to get a professional to help them do so. Feelings will run high and having someone on hand to help keep them in line will be essential.
3. Rebuilding trust.
It is essential for couples who are interested in surviving a relationship together that they work hard to rebuild trust.
The wronged partner needs to know that they can trust their partner and the wandering partner needs to trust that their person is willing to work together to move forward.
A key part of rebuilding trust is to cut the other person out of your life, as I mentioned above. For the wronged person, knowing that their partner has walked away from their lover, that they don’t need to always be wondering if they are together and that their person is committed to working through it is essential for moving forward.
The wayward partner needs to know that their partner is willing to be open to getting through this, to not be constantly critical of everything they do, to trust that they are no longer cheating and to not constantly question their character and motivations.
For both people, 100% transparency is important. If you have questions about what your spouse is doing, ask them. If you are going to be home later than usual, be clear about it and stay in touch. Whatever each other needs to feel safe in the relationship.