Whether it be a broken arm from a skiing accident or a concussion from a car crash, physical injuries need time and the proper care to heal. For your arm to improve, it needs to be braced into a cast and eventually reintroduced to movement through slow, incremental physical therapy.
For your concussion to subside, you need to rest and allow your head to settle back into normalcy after the trauma. Do these injuries hurt? Of course. Do you survive? Without a doubt.
But can a marriage survive an affair? Can a marriage survive infidelity? And, if it does, how many marriages survive infidelity?
Emotional injuries are no different. The stabbing of your soul and the shots to your psyche are undoubtedly painful. But, just like a broken arm or a severe concussion, you will survive. The same holds with surviving infidelity.
It will take time and proper care, but the emotional wounds that infidelity or an affair create can be healed. So, the next question that lies ahead is how to survive infidelity? Or, in other words, how to survive an affair?
Patience and proper care are the keys to survive infidelity.
Below you will find the best ways to take care of yourself and begin with the process of surviving the worst emotional scar of all- surviving an affair of your cheating partner.
1. Get all the details on the table
Have you ever had to get a broken arm reset before they put the cast on? If you haven’t, you may know someone who has experienced such a painful episode.
You’d think that the initial breaking of the arm would be the worst part until they tell you that they need to yank it back into alignment so that it can heal properly.
The same concept can be applied to the fresh wound of infidelity in marriage: it’s going to get worse before it gets better. More importantly–with both the broken arm and with your marriage–it needs to get worse before it gets better.
The initial wave of pain may have subsided, but you need to revisit it so that your broken appendage can mend in a healthy way. The same holds for surviving infidelity and restoring your relationship.
Once the affair is out in the open, you and your spouse need to get all the details straight in order to survive infidelity and restore your relationship.
When did it start?
How often did they cheat?
Is there still a contact?
All of those deep, unsettling questions need to be answered in order for the opportunity of 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 that you create in your mind about what happened, how you let it happen, and how it is probably still ongoing. Get the facts. They will be tough to swallow, but they are so essential to make the healing process begin.
Nobody wants the doctor to grab, twist, and reset their broken arm to get it in alignment for proper healing. But the doctor knows it is what’s best for the arm’s long term health.
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. Practice patience as you forgive
Can a marriage survive after an affair? And, if they do, how many marriages survive affairs? Are you still stuck up with these questions?
But, before trying to seek answers to these questions and thinking about surviving infidelity, ask yourself – can you practice forgiveness?
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.
If you were the person wronged by a cheating partner, you need to wrestle with your anger and contemplate forgiveness simultaneously. While you work through these two emotions, your partner needs to double down on their patience in the process of forgiveness.
If they genuinely want things to work out between the two of you, they must understand that the trust has disappeared from their relationship due to their actions. They must be patient with you as you are patient with the process of surviving infidelity.
Surviving 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.
This may seem obvious, but so many couples take the “do it yourself” approach to repair a broken marriage. The objectivity of a counselor or psychologist will shed some light on both the causes and the effects of the affair and can help you, and your spouse sees your way through it.
Don’t discount the help of a professional because you don’t want other people in on your relationship’s trauma. That extra set of eyes and ears will prove invaluable for surviving infidelity and to the future of your marriage.
4. Set time aside to discuss the infidelity
Whether it be with a couples counselor or in your own home, set specific guidelines to when you will hash it out about the affair.
This may seem like we’re letting the adulterer off easy by confining the problematic work to an hour or so a day, but this technique will help the person who has been stepped out on as well.
If you don’t set guidelines on your discussion of the affair, the effects of adultery will permeate through your day, at your job, and with your interactions with others.
By knowing that you have this hour or half-hour to let your emotions and feelings fly will allow you to be more present in the other parts of your life.
As you and your partner begin to work on your relationship in the aftermath, rebuild that trust incrementally. After you’ve put all the details on the table, don’t just assume that you can go back to the way it was.
If you’re feeling uneasy about something while surviving infidelity, bring it up (in a compassionate way). Allow them to comfort you through more honest communication.
Keeping a lid on your feelings and not discussing important issues may very well have been a reason that your relationship took the turn that it did. 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.
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. True, but only after a long road of rehabilitation. For surviving infidelity, which is one of the most painful emotional wounds, you need to give it the same care you would like to provide a physical injury: time, patience, and attention to detail.
You can survive an affair, but it will take work. Use the tips above to begin that healing process of surviving infidelity and get your marriage back on track.
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.