Infidelity or an affair is one of the leading causes of divorce. A recent poll found that almost 25% of all married people will have an affair. The good news is, that number has dropped significantly since the 1990s, but the thought of healing from an affair can feel overwhelmingly difficult. The best way to prevent this pain in your relationship is to take steps to prevent infidelity all together. You can strengthen your relationship by building skills like: learning how to argue well, and boosting your communication. But sometimes affairs cannot be avoided, and when they happen, the recovery process can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you and your partner learn from and heal from an affair.
Cut The Ties
If at all possible, cutting all ties from the third party who is involved is necessary. This is a season of rebuilding trust and setting physical boundaries and distance from the third party will aid in this process.
Move Past the Blame
It can be easy to blame the unfaithful and simply walk away from the relationship, or if the couple chooses to stay together, this can lead to a lifetime of resentment and misery. Once you can let go of the labels “good spouse” and “bad spouse” you can begin a productive conversation on what is happening in the relationship that was not working.
Figure Out the Chain of Events
As painful as it may be, walking through the chain of events and examining what was happening in the relationship will be helpful in understanding as well as preventing future affairs. A true understanding of the problem within the relationship that the affair was a reaction to, can be a powerful tool in making changes in the relationship.
Trust between any couple is going to be destroyed after an affair. If you are the partner who participated in the affair, providing your partner with answers about what happened in the affair will be necessary for healing to occur. This will most likely not be a one time conversation, as your partner may continually ask questions. Prepare yourself to answer questions repeatedly. The open and honest you are in these discussion will set the tone for honesty in the relationship moving forward. Be patient with your partner who may want to know more than usual.
Don’t hide the Pain with Anger
For the partner who is healing from betrayal, be sure to accurately express your emotions. Initially anger may be the dominate emotion, but anger is typically just a cover for a deeper emotion. Make sure you express the real emotions like hurt, and sadness rather than screaming and name calling which are common when simply expressing anger.
Finally, coming to the conclusion that both parties are willing to work through this obstacle in their relationship and willing to stay together will be vital. If couples can make this decision, accept what happened, and learn to grow through it, they can emerge on the other side with a stronger and healthier relationship. Give yourselves opportunities to build new memories together and redefine your relationship for the better.
These tips can be helpful in working through an affair, but keep in mind that affairs are one of the main reasons for divorce. If you are struggling to work through the aftermath of an affair don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional to help you navigate this challenging time.
Book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.