Recovering from an affair is something that simply will never come with a simple answer. Whether you are the cheating partner or the injured partner, intimate relations beyond the boundaries of the relationship can do irreparable damage to your marriage, and make you doubt everything you thought you knew about yourself and your partner. But, with the right circumstances, knowledge, guidance and growth, it may be possible for you and your partner to repair and recover.
Whether you were at fault, or were blindsided by your partner’s betrayal, here are some important steps on how you can recover.
Recovery for the Offending Partner
First and foremost, all connection and association must be permanently cut with the other person in the affair. You must be honest and open about what transpired to your spouse. It may be a struggle to hear your partner ask the same questions over and over again. This is a normal part of their grief. Acknowledge your mistakes, and understand that you must become patient, extremely empathetic, and humble during this time.
Take time as well to really think about how this affair originated and why. It’s important that you identify the root of the reason as to why you were unfaithful. Whether it was lack of time spent with your spouse, lack of sexual intimacy, or lack of consideration for the consequences, the behaviour and emotions must be addressed and discussed in a calm and non-accusatory manner. You must always take responsibility for your actions, no matter what the root cause may be.
The goal for the offending partner is to understand the reasons for the actions and find a solution in order to prevent another infidelity.
Recovery for the Injured Partner
Take time. Time is the key ingredient that will allow you to process your thoughts and really speak out about how and what you are feeling, rather than acting on your anger or grief in a harmful way.
Getting to a point where you can both discuss the behaviour and roots of the action in a non-accusatory manner is imperative. While it is important that your partner maintains responsibility for their actions, it is important to listen, hear, and understand the potential issues that may have been present within your marriage that could have encouraged such behaviour and vulnerabilities. This does not justify the behaviour, but helps to provide some context.
Studies have shown that the more a spouse can understand how the difficulties that were present in the marriage could have potentially encouraged the development of the affair, the quicker the recovery can be.
You may want to stay and this may be confusing to you. Others may suggest that you leave the relationship. A lot of people choose to stay because of the history with their partner or connection to their family. You make the decision that is right for you.
Recovery for the Marriage
Marriages can recover from the painful jolt of an affair. Time, patience, understanding, and the guidance of a professional therapist can help you both repair communication, shed your anger, and allow you to work towards growing and moving forward in a healthy, loving relationship built on trust, respect, and open communication.
Vaughan Relationship Centre offers couples counselling to clients in Vaughan, Woodridge, Mississauga, Brampton, and throughout the north GTA. Get in touch to learn more or to schedule a counselling session.