It might seem almost impossible at the moment, but it is possible to live a beautiful life after an affair. Whether or not you stay with your cheating partner is up to you. Neither a divorce, nor being together will be a quick and easy fix for all the mixed emotions you will experience.
Time heals all wounds
It is a bit of a cliché, but there is some truth in there.
Time does heal many wounds.
As is the case when your partner has been unfaithful.
Although the first period after discovery will most likely be an emotional rollercoaster. You will feel regret, hurt, anger and forgiveness. Sometimes even all at once. But after some time passes the hurt and resentment will start to fade. You will start seeing other possibilities and you might even see the silver lining in the affair. For now the pain is simply too fresh, you cannot see the positive side of the story just yet.
Stages of healing from infidelity
After the initial discovery of the infidelity there follows a period of many ups and downs. Including feelings of denial, shock, anger, resentment, guilt and sometimes even depression. But most of all, you will feel hurt. Do not make the assumption that your partner does not feel hurt, he or she will probably also feel very confused and bad. Even when the affair was planned and on purpose your partner will not be able to simply ‘let things go’. He or she also has feelings and is a human being. It might seem strange, seeing how your partner was able to hurt you so much and does experience hurt him- or herself as well.
The question that you eventually have to answer is:
- Are you willing to forgive your partner and start rebuilding your marriage?
- Regaining trust and re-building your marriage
- If that is the case then there are some questions that need to be answered.
- Do both of you still love one another?
- What have you discovered about yourself since the affair?
- Is there mutual respect?
- What changes will you be wanting to make in your relationship?
- What have you learned from this experience?
Regaining trust is one of the hardest part. It does not matter whether you are with the partner that cheated on you, or if you have found someone new, trust is still fragile and very delicate. You might find it hard to trust men or women after the affair. This is because your partner was ‘the one’ and not in your right mind could you ever have thought that he or she would do something so hurtful to you. You could simply not have imagined this kind of betrayal.
But now that you have experienced it firsthand it becomes difficult for you to trust again. So, how to gain trust again?
First of all, there must be willingness and forgiveness. The cheating partner must be able to accept forgiveness and the betrayed partner must be willing to forgive. Both must also be willing to work on their relationship as to improve the marriage. It is hard work. It will be painful. The truth needs to come out and that might be confronting, but it will be worth it if it can make you two happy.
Healing from infidelity and growing stronger together
The affair was not some isolated event. It was intertwined with multiple other things that have happened in your life and in the life of your spouse. If both of you are willing to investigate what led to the event you are well on your way.
Tackling the aftermath of infidelity together can help improve your bond – as strange as that may seem as of now. Many couples that have had to deal with infidelity decided to remain together and as a result grew more intimate and loving of each other. I am not saying you should have those same feelings right now, but eventually that might happen.
Seeing a couples therapist can be a good second step in order for you two to work things out. Being willing to love each other still is the first step. For many couples this is – quite understandable – hard. The love you have for your partner and the love he or she has for you has likely been decreasing over time, which may have been one of the factors that led to the affair. But if there still is love, despite all the pain, anger and guilt, then there is hope to heal from the infidelity and even become stronger as a couple.
If both of you really want this, if you are committed and if you still feel a strong love for each other, it is possible to heal from the affair and become a better spouse as a result.