A relationship or marriage can crumble for several possible reasons. And, infidelity is one such cause that not just decays a relationship, but can scar the victim for all their life. Healing from infidelity may seem like an impossible dream to them.
So, can a relationship survive cheating? Or, can a marriage survive an affair?
Neither divorce nor being together will be a quick and easy fix for all the mixed emotions you will experience. You will have to nurture a big deal of patience to sail through this turmoil successfully.
Of course, it won’t be easy. There would be many unthinkable challenges. But, if you uphold optimism and are determined to change your life for the good, it will!
Time is an incredible healer
Time heals all wounds. It is a bit of a cliché, but there is some truth in there, 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.
For now, the pain is simply too fresh, and you cannot see the positive side of the story just yet. And, you don’t even have to.
Then, how to deal with infidelity? And, how to get over betrayal?
You might get tempted to get back to normalcy as soon as possible. But, the stress of healing from infidelity too soon might perhaps make the emotional infidelity recovery even more tedious.
Take time to grieve, take time to heal, so that you don’t get tempted ever to look back, revisit the distressing memory lanes, and go through this painful process of recovering from infidelity ever.
Infidelity recovery stages
Healing from infidelity can take longer than you would expect. After all, there’s no magic potion for overcoming infidelity in a jiffy.
After the initial discovery of the infidelity, there follows a period of many ups and downs. Getting over infidelity includes 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, and they will probably also feel bewildered and bad. Even when the affair was planned and on purpose, your partner might not be able to simply ‘let things go.’
It might seem strange, seeing how your partner was able to hurt you so much and does experience hurt themselves as well. But this can happen. In this case, can a marriage survive infidelity? And, if your spouse regrets their actions, how to help your spouse heal from the affair?
The question that you eventually have to answer is:
Are you willing to forgive your partner and start rebuilding your marriage?
Regaining trust and rebuilding your marriage
If that is the case, then there are some questions that need to be answered.
What have you discovered about yourself since the affair?
Is there mutual respect?
What changes will you want to make in your relationship?
What have you learned from this experience?
Rebuilding trust is one of the hardest aspects. 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 they 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 back?
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 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.
You may watch this video on rethinking infidelity to help you assess your situation better.
Healing from infidelity and growing stronger together
The affair was not an isolated event. It was intertwined with multiple other things that have happened in your life and the life of your spouse. If both of you are willing to investigate what led to the event, you are well on your way.
You might not be having such feelings right now, and it’s perfectly okay. It’s just a possibility that is being discussed.
Seeing a couple’s therapist can be an excellent 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 they have 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 a hope of healing from infidelity and even becoming stronger as a couple.
Marriage affairs are, without a doubt, distressing, but they don’t have to be necessarily the reason for strangulating your relationship forever.
If both of you want this, if you are committed and if you still feel a strong love for each other, it is possible healing from infidelity.
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.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.