Discovering that your partner or spouse has been unfaithful can be absolutely heartbreaking for the person who was cheated on.
For many people, this is the ultimate deal-breaker in a relationship and it will end. But for others, it is an issue that they try to overcome, instead choosing to work on the relationship and heal together.
It can be a long road to recovery, especially as trust has been damaged severely with the infidelity. Both partners need to be committed to healing – to repair the damage, reconnecting with their other half and work at rebuilding trust. There is no “quick fix” and it might take a while. Depending on how the spouse who was cheated on finds out about the affair, this can also affect the amount of time it takes to heal. Psychologists report that affairs that have been disclosed by the cheating partner take less time to heal from than affairs when the affair was discovered by accident.
Some couples who have carried out these strategies have been able to salvage their relationships and sometimes have even managed to be stronger than they were before.
1. Talk about it
Even if the cheater is sick to death of talking about it, if they really want to try to rebuild trust and repair the damage, they need to be open to listening to how their other half feels and allow everything to be out in the open. They should answer any questions openly and honestly. There might be many, many conversations to be had. Understanding the reasons for the affair can help some people forgive.
Additionally, talking about it with a relationship counselor is advisable. This means you are doing it in a safe and secure setting with someone playing a kind of referee role, not taking sides, but allowing each partner to talk through their feelings and be heard by the other one. They can also provide helpful advice and strategies to help overcome the issues and to work on feelings like hurt, anger, resentment and rage.
2. Cut off contact with affair partner
The person who had the affair needs to make a commitment that they will cut off all contact with the person they had the affair with. This doesn’t just mean no more wining and dining and meeting them for sex – it includes phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook. Everything. This can be especially hard if the person who they had the affair with was a work colleague and changing jobs might not be an immediate option – but at the very least minimising contact with that person in the workplace until a new job can be found will help to rebuild trust with the betrayed spouse.