If your spouse has been unfaithful to you and you feel unheard of, you’re not alone. So many are suffering in silence, just trying to get through each day and construct their new life. So many are trying to figure out how to survive infidelity by themself.
But you don’t have to go through infidelity recovery stages alone!
Infidelity leaves a significant impact and this article will look at effective ways to deal with infidelity in marriage or relationship.
What is infidelity?
Infidelity is the betrayal that one experiences in a relationship. It is marked by a violation of one’s trust in the form of cheating or adultery committed by someone who is usually in a committed relationship.
Emotional or sexual involvement with someone other than your partner counts as infidelity in marriage and relationships. They both lead to immense emotional upheaval for the partner that has been cheated on. They may question not just the relationship and their partner but also themselves.
Infidelity in marriage and relationships can make people doubt themself and question all aspects of the relationship. It may take a long time for people to learn how to survive infidelity.
Can a relationship survive infidelity?
Before we make headway to understand how to get over infidelity and how to rebuild trust in a marriage, it is important to know, “can a marriage survive infidelity?”
An affair doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship has gone to dogs.
Post infidelity, some marriages can survive the onslaught of cheating, while other relationships are not meant to be salvaged. Some couples can move past it while others crumble. However, it takes a lot of work.
If you are wondering, “can a relationship survive cheating,” remember that the answer lies in whether you have the right approach and are willing to work on improving things as a couple.
We can save a marriage if couples are willing to put in the necessary work, commit to complete honesty, and resolve to stop cheating altogether while seeking therapy to process infidelity and rebuild trust after cheating.
21 ways to survive infidelity
If you have been cheated on, you may be facing a tough time figuring out how to survive infidelity and the damage that it has caused to your relationship.
It is challenging to address the hurt caused by infidelity and reconcile things with your cheating spouse. But there are ways to achieve this if you have the right attitude as a couple and are willing to work things out.
Here are some essential steps for surviving infidelity in marriage and making your relationship healthy again:
1. Get all the details on the table
Remember, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
The initial wave of pain may have subsided, but you need to revisit it to mend healthily what is broken in your marriage.
Once the affair is exposed, you and your spouse need to get all the details straight to start the process of learning how to survive infidelity.
When did it start?
How often did they cheat?
Has the cheating ended?
Is there still contact?
All of those deep, unsettling questions need to be answered for trust to be rebuilt. Without knowing the hurtful answers to these questions, you will be left to fill in the blanks for yourself.
The stories you create in your mind about what happened may be more damaging than infidelity facts. The facts about your spouse’s affair will be equally painful but just as crucial to the healing process of surviving infidelity in marriage.
2. Get a little help from your friends
When you are contemplating how to survive an affair, the immediate solution for surviving an affair is to take advice from your close friends.
Reach out if you have to, and be grateful for those friends who are there for you.
Schedule regular coffee meetups, movies out, shopping trips, or anything you like. You need to know that someone cares regularly.
Perhaps a long-distance friend can help by texting inspiring messages, or another friend could help motivate you to go to local events. Build your team to help you learn how to survive infidelity.
3. Join a support group
There are others out there who know what you are going through while surviving infidelity.
Even if the circumstances are different, they will know that the hurt you feel is all-encompassing, and they will be way more open with you about your own experience than anyone else. You need to share your story and know what others are going through.
Join a support group to get answers to your numerous thronging questions like, ‘can a marriage survive an affair,’ ‘how many marriages survive affairs’ and more alike.
Your feelings are probably all over the place. But it is still essential to be as open as possible.
If you’re frustrated, angry, scared, etc., say so. Your spouse needs to know how you feel during this process. If you’re feeling uneasy about something, bring it up (in a compassionate way). Allow them to comfort you through more honest communication.
A long and loving marriage has a foundation in faith and honesty; infidelity will tear apart that foundation in the blink of an eye. As you and your partner begin to work on your relationship in the aftermath, rebuild that trust incrementally.
Keeping a lid on your feelings and not discussing important issues may very well have been a reason for the infidelity. Since you are building from the bottom up now, make sure that you are both open and honest so that you can begin to trust each other’s words and actions again.
5. Find ways to reconnect
Yes, if your spouse is willing to work things, then you can figure out how you both can reconnect.
After an affair, you will feel so disconnected, and you may not even feel like you know your spouse at all. You may not feel ready to do things you used to do together.
So maybe, find something new!
Go on regular dates, so you have alone time to talk. Be sure to designate this time as “non-affair talk” time. It’ll be hard to reconnect and move on if that’s all you talk about. But try to venture into new avenues.
It’s no secret that your relationship will not survive without forgiveness from the scorned party of the marriage, but it can’t be a given. It needs to be worked toward but not automatically granted.
Recovering from infidelity is no magic. You won’t be able to forgive them overnight, but if you commit to rebuilding the relationship, eventually, you will. Forgiveness is the only path to get there, but the rate at which you travel that path is up to you.
If a cheating partner wronged you, you need to wrestle with your anger and contemplate forgiveness simultaneously.
If they genuinely want things to work out between the two of you, your partner must also understand that the trust has disappeared from their relationship due to their actions. They must be patient with you and your process of dealing with their infidelity.
If you can’t be together right now, then take a break. Agree to a specific time limit, and revisit your relationship later.
Sometimes a break is necessary, so things don’t get worse, and you have some time to think and process. Just make the terms of the trial separation clear, so you don’t have to stress about it.
8. Pour energy into exercise
Lift some weights, swim some laps, whack that tennis ball across the court—doesn’t that sound cathartic? That’s because it is. And it would be best if you had that now more than ever.
Your physical body and your emotional state are connected. When you feel good physically, it will lift your mood.
Exercising can take your mind off your life for 30 minutes or more. Exercise can help alleviate anger, sadness, and stress. You can be around others who are positive, which can help you feel better, too.
9. Figure out how to laugh again
You may feel like you’ll never have the ability to laugh again, but slowly, you’ll smile, chuckle, and then full out belly laugh again. And it will feel good.
Welcome happiness and laughter with open arms. You are a survivor, which means you are moving past what happened.
In this case, laughter really can be the best medicine for surviving infidelity. So, spend time having fun with friends, watching a funny movie, going to a comedy club, etc.
10. Go somewhere completely new
Everything reminds you of your past and what happened. So, go somewhere entirely new for you when you are in the process of surviving infidelity.
It could be a coffee shop in your town that could become your new place, or perhaps you could take a quick road trip to a nearby town where you could be a tourist for a day or two.
New surroundings distract our minds and take them to better places.
11. Forgive as best as you can
You won’t be able to move forward with your life until you let go of what happened. This won’t be easy and will take some time, but it is possible.
An affair can be a massive weight on your shoulders that you are carrying around—so let it go. You will feel liberated and ready to move on when you can forgive.
Getting cheated on can be a devastating experience. And, of course, you’re so angry that you may want to hurt your partner and make them pay for doing this to you.
Realize that this is the moment you choose to figure out how you feel and react. Learning how to survive infidelity comes with a multitude of difficult choices.
You can be mean and vengeful, which will only worsen things, or you can be wise and get some insight into the real issue.
Please do not use this to punish your spouse for their acts; that will turn you into a permanent victim and create a power imbalance in the relationship.
If you wish to heal, you will have to forgive and change.
14. Recognize the unmet need
Unless your partner is a serial cheater, you’re dealing with a relationship problem here.
Remember that there is no flaw in their character. Ask yourself what your role in the affair was. Perhaps somewhere, there was an unmet need in your relationship — for love, affection, attention, validation of worth or anything else?
Perhaps it could be that they were not being heard and understood? Acknowledging the unmet need can be quite a (painful) revelation – that is when you know your contribution to the extramarital affair. People often ignore this when trying to understand how to survive infidelity.
Watch this video to learn how to communicate your needs to your partner:
15. Replace anger with understanding
Recovering from infidelity is never easy. But it will happen in time (mainly after you have acknowledged your own role). After all, know that the non-cheating partner may play a role in the drama whenever infidelity is involved in a relationship.
The repairs will only be possible for getting over infidelity when you both decide to share your respective responsibilities.
Of course, after all the shock and trauma, you will feel the need to confide in a close friend or with family members. However, don’t look at confiding in your close ones about your partner’s betrayal as a way of surviving an affair or overcoming infidelity.
While recovering from an affair and healing from infidelity, you need support, which is completely normal.
But if you intend on surviving infidelity in your marriage and working things out with your spouse, it may not be a great idea to divulge all the dirty details and put them in a bad light. Eventually, everyone will question your motives for staying. And you don’t want your relationship to be put out there for public judgment.
17. Remember the pain
We don’t mean to say here that you must not let go of the past.
Holding a grudge will destroy your relationship, but erasing the pain from your past may make the other person feel that cheating is acceptable and leave it open for repetition. So remember this experience as part of your relationship’s journey.
As horrible as it was, it was something the two of you got through together.
18. Grieve what is lost
Learning how to survive infidelity involves grieving the loss of the past version of your relationship.
A betrayal marks a significant change in the relationship, where your previously untainted and innocent version of your relationship breaks. It changes your perception of your partner and your life with them as what you believed to be true was shattered by your partner’s betrayal.
Find ways to grieve the loss of the past version of your relationship. After this, you can move towards a new version of the relationship, laced with maturity and strength gained from recovering from infidelity.
19. Be prepared for emotional outbursts
When you are learning how to survive infidelity, be mentally prepared from outbursts from your end when you feel overwhelmed by your own emotions. These emotions are expected so don’t judge yourself harshly when triggered by them.
Your pain and anger may get the better of you at times, and you will lash out. You may lose your cool when something triggers you or reminds you of your partner’s betrayal. But don’t reprimand yourself for this and try to be more understanding towards your emotions.
20. A tentative deadline for the anger
While having patience for your recovery process and accepting your grief is important, it is also essential to end the anger.
Try not to let your anger go on endlessly as this would make your relationship toxic. Work through the problems and then find ways to move on from the infidelity.
You will not recover from the hurt sentiments if you keep bringing things back to the betrayal or make everything about it. You should set a tentative deadline for yourself to move on from your partner’s infidelity and trust your partner again.
21. Be grateful for the positives
When everything seems to be falling apart in your relationship, consciously making yourself remember all the good aspects of your relationship is especially important.
Being grateful for the good things can give you hope and inspire you to find the inner strength to learn how to survive infidelity.
Infidelity is the reason for the hurt sentiments that many experiences within a marriage or relationship. But there are healthy ways to handle these emotions and reconcile your relationship with your partner.
You can address the past mistakes and the reasons for the infidelity to infuse new life into your marriage or relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.