After the late nights and the suspicious excuses, the truth has finally come out – your partner has been having an affair. It’s devastating to discover that your spouse has lied to you, either directly or through silence. The trust that you’ve built together has been fundamentally damaged and you’re unsure of whether or not you will be able to repair your relationship.
While affairs are extremely painful, they do not necessarily have to end in divorce. It is a long road to restoring trust in a marriage, but if both parties are committed to repairing the relationship, there is hope to heal. While only you can decide whether or not you are willing to begin this journey, here are some key strategies to help with the difficult path ahead.
Communication is key
Silence means death in a relationship. It is important to express your feelings to your partner as honestly as possible. If your partner doesn’t know what is hurting you, it will be impossible for them to address these issues. Though it will be painful to talk about, it is important to know what happened during the affair – when it started and what your partner was thinking and feeling during that time.
By addressing all of your questions early, you will be able to start processing your emotions and anger sooner. If you don’t address these questions early, you will prolong your pain as more and more of the affair is revealed to you over time.
Listen, listen, listen
This can be incredibly difficult to do. Especially when your partner has betrayed your trust in such an egregious manner. It can be easy to cut your partner off or to refuse to listen to them at all. While your anger is justified and you shouldn’t try to suppress it, it is also important to remember who your spouse is. By listening to them as openly as you can, you can begin to see them once again as the person you married, not just the person who hurt you.
As you hear their side of the story, you may also be able to identify the issues and points of pain that have grown between you. When you are able to label the problems, you can begin to take steps towards addressing them.
Allow the relationship to grow beyond the affair
Your relationship has been deeply hurt by your partner’s betrayal and it will take time for you to move past it. However, if you don’t put effort into the relationship that you have together, there will be nothing for you both to move on to. It is important to spend time together to remind yourselves of the good things of your relationship.
To restart or grow your relationship from here, go on dates or even just spend quality time together. This will help you forgive your partner and restore your marriage together.
We’re only human. Even under the best of circumstances, few of us are prepared to deal with the difficulties of communicating openly and lovingly. With the help of a professional counselor, you will learn how best to express your feelings and repair your relationship with your partner.
A counselor will help guide your conversation and make sure that both you and your partner are expressing what needs to be expressed, all within a controlled environment. This will help both of you get to the root of the sources of pain between you and will give you the best tools to help address them.
Know when enough is enough
Just as it is important to communicate, forgive and grow, it is also important to know when it’s time to walk away. Even when you have tried your best, you may find that even after months have passed both you and your partner are still stuck in a painful cycle, unable to move forward.
There is nothing to be gained from living a life of anger and pain and as difficult as it may be, sometimes the best option is to go your separate ways. You may find that you are unable to forgive your partner or you may find that either you or your partner are no longer invested in saving the relationship. It is important to remember that this does not mean that you have failed. It just means that it’s time to move on and to learn about what a divorce would entail.
Forgiving is a slow and painful process. Healing is only possible if both you and your partner are committed to rebuilding your relationship and are willing to communicate and listen – even when it’s so hard to do. Give yourself time to heal and be honest with yourself and your partner about your emotions. You may find that your relationship can be rebuilt and that you and your partner can grow together as a couple. Or, maybe you find that it is healthier for you and your partner to end the relationship.
Regardless of what happens, you do not have to go through this journey alone. Be sure to seek counseling to help discuss issues with your spouse and talk to your friends and family for support.