When cheating or infidelity comes into play in a relationship, many people will leave their partner as they may believe there is no way to recover from infidelity. Recovering from infidelity can be challenging, frustrating and at times confusing… but your relationship can overcome this. With the guidance of a therapist, you can make sense of how/ why the infidelity happened, how to heal from the pain and move forward. Here are some key steps you might go through on your way to recovery:
The first step is to create space for the partner who has been cheated on to feel and express their emotions. It is important that this step is not rushed. The hurt partner needs the space and time to be angry and hurt. The partner who was disloyal ought to create space for their partner’s emotions without getting defensive.
The second step is for the partner which has been disloyal to fully understand the anger, pain, betrayal and frustration of their partner. This is also where the partner that has been disloyal should demonstrate their remorse. There is always a complex cause as to why someone stepped outside of their relationship and had an affair. Both parties need to make sense of how/ why this happened. There needs to be a mutual understanding, a shared narrative as to how this happened. This step should be done with a therapist as this is not always obvious. A therapist can help illuminate things from your past and in your relationship dynamic that may have impacted someone choosing to have an affair. It is never right or okay to cheat on your partner… but there is often reasoning for it. This information can help both of you make sense of what happened so you can trust that it won’t happen again.
The third step is for the partner who was disloyal to help their partner trust them again. The wronged partner may need permission to go through their partner’s phone to check phone calls, emails, text messages, etc. This is because when the wronged partner can not trust the words, they can trust what they see. This is until the trust is built again. Transparency is key! There needs to be clear communication and tending to the needs of your partner. It is very common that the wronged partner may be triggered in certain situations, and it is the role of the partner which was disloyal to manage this and help their partner work through the emotions. Doing this in couples therapy is ideal as it is often hard to attend to our partner’s triggers without becoming defensive.
Overall, these three steps can take some time and it is not a linear process. A couple may go back and forth between the steps on their way to recovery. The most important thing when recovering from infidelity is that you both want to make it work. It may seem impossible at the beginning but if both partners really want it, couples can recover from infidelity and hold a strong and deep relationship. Seeing a therapist is key!
Is your relationship impacted by infidelity, no need to go at this alone! Reach out to one of our skilled therapists for help!