Affairs in a relationship can be devastating. The feelings of all parties involved come to the fore and anger and resentment reside in the atmosphere. There are only two routes past infidelity. They are Moving Forward and Moving On. This article assumes that the couple has decided to move forward in their relationship and attempt to salvage the pieces and begin to rebuild.
End the affair. This should be a given. The end of an affair includes all interaction and communication with the lover. True reinvestment in your marriage cannot happen without this. The trust issues alone will be enormous without the added affect of continued communication with the lover.
Take Responsibility. Hold yourself accountable for your actions. If you were the victim, try to understand the reasons for the betrayal. Admitting that you may in part be responsible for the actions of your partner in cheating can start the road to recovery. Sometimes this may not be the case, but in most relationships, it will be.
Agree on the goal. This is the first step towards reconciliation. Both partners must be aware of what their intentions are and express them to each other. The Road to Recovery is a hard one and paved with blame and heartache. Verbally expressing the desire to work on the relationship ensures that your partner has no doubts of your willingness.
Marriage Counseling. Some couples may not feel the need for this step. Others may need it immediately. Whatever the case, a marriage counselor can do wonders for a marriage, allowing the unspoken things to be said in a mature manner. However, avoid therapists who see an affair as the end of marriage. It should be obvious that a therapist with that opinion is not healthy for your goals.
Identify the issues. This is where you assess the relationship. What led to the affair? How were problems resolved before, if at all? Each partner’s feelings are important in this step. Understanding root causes begins the process of rebuilding the foundation of your relationship.
Restoring trust. Secrecy will continue to erode the relationship. Partners will find it hard to be open, but it is imperative that extra lengths are made at this time to disallow the perception of concealment. It is equally important for the cheating partner to endure the lack of trust and make every attempt to appease his or her partner. Before you ask, “When is enough, enough?” ensure that you have done enough to prove your faithfulness. Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship. It is the hardest thing to achieve when lost.
Talk, Talk, Talk. Do not think this will be an easy process. There is no room for the disillusioned here. Affairs are hurtful, right down to the core and just for the victimized partner to be willing to rebuild the relationship should bring tears to the offending partner’s eyes. Consider the love your partner has for you and what he or she must be going through to allow themselves to give you trust again. You will need open and honest communication every step of the way. Not just everyday, but possibly several times a day. Once the shock wears down, the questions begin. Be patient with each other, but most of all is honest.
Forgiveness. Just like trust, forgiveness does not come easy. The hurt lives within your partner and consumes them. Give your partner time to forgive you. It may not happen until the end of the process, or it might happen very early. That honestly depends on the actions of the offending partner. How patient, how apologetic, and willing to make amends you are will make this process smoother.
Affairs are emotionally demoralizing and the truth is that it is seldom that a relationship can survive it. Complete commitment to the process of rebuilding your relationship is necessary if you are sincere in your love for your partner. Most of all, it is hard to set a timetable on emotional reconciliation. Patience and communication is the key.