Infidelity is an incredibly tough setback for a couple to overcome. The partner who’s been betrayed is normally left with so many questions. Was the relationship all in vain? Do they call it quits? Why did it have to happen? Is it even possible to stay together even if the love is still there?
Repairing your relationship after adultery is a long and challenging process, but it is worthwhile if both of you are committed.
In this guide, we’ll try to help you understand why you or your partner cheated, learn how to repair your relationship after cheating, and, best of all, see how you can establish a stronger, more intimate version of your connection.
Infidelity: What Is It?
Infidelity isn’t a singular, well-defined word, and what constitutes infidelity differs between marriages and even between partners.
For example, some partners consider an emotional relationship without physical contact infidelity. Others even extend it to online dating.
However, for most couples, sexual relationships outside the union are definitely considered to be infidelity. As such, married couples must clarify what they consider infidelity and communicate the same to their partner.
Why Do Partners Cheat?
Let’s start by making this clear: Affairs can happen in both happy and difficult relationships. Your partner’s cheating is not because you necessarily fall short.
That said, here are common reasons why most people cheat:
Mental Health Disorders
Anxiety, bipolar, depression, and psychotic disorders are mental health issues that could lead to affairs. Periods of high stress, such as when spouses are separated for an extended period, could also strain a relationship, leading to cheating.
A person suffering from addiction is unable to stop engaging in destructive behavior. It could be an addiction to drugs, gambling, alcohol, romance, sex, and even love! All these can lead to infidelity since the victim is unable to control themselves from such detrimental behaviors.
When couples fail to communicate about their emotional and interpersonal needs, a disconnect develops, resulting in cheating.
Lack of Affection
All human beings want to be loved. When there is no show of affection or concern for one another, there tends to be an imbalance in the give and take of the relationship.
These include the fear of intimacy or a desire to avoid conflict in marriage, leading to a build-up of underlying issues. Personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem can also lead to infidelity.
Life Cycle Adjustments
Transitioning to parenthood, empty nesting, launching adult children, retirement, and even midlife crisis can cause infidelity.
Discovering an Affair: How To Go About It
The initial discovery of an affair frequently evokes strong emotions in both partners. It also brings with it a sense of loss. The betrayed partner may be traumatized by the violation of trust and start looking into the facts of the affair as they question the relationship.
On the other hand, the partner who cheated may be concerned about being punished. It’s therefore typical to make some irrational decisions and act impulsively. But this is not a time to make long-term decisions since you might not be thinking clearly.
Here are some tips on managing the situation if you discover your partner has been having an affair.
1. Don’t Make Hasty Decisions
Please take your time. Avoid diving into the intimate details of the affair at first, even if you have a strong urge to know what happened. It’s possible to do so without the help of an expert, but doing so can be dangerous.
2. Seek Professional Help
An expert will help you calm your emotions and think rationally. Consider going to a well-trained, experienced marital and family therapist on your own or with your partner, especially if you feel you might take action that might lead to physical harm.
3. Give Each Other Space
Allow each other some breathing room. It’s never easy to come to terms with the fact that you’ve been cheated on. As you try to comprehend what has happened, you may find yourself treating your partner with disdain, which can ruin any chances of solving the issue.
4. Tap Into Your Support System
Share your feelings and experiences with trusted friends or loved ones who can support and encourage you during this tough time. This can go a long way in helping you recover. Also, try to avoid people who might be judgmental or biased, even if they’re a family member.
Should You Try Repairing Your Relationship?
You may wonder if you can or should keep your marriage if you cheated or were cheated on by your spouse.
Well, infidelity is brought about by several causes. Some people deliberately cheat to end their marriage. Others have an affair when they seek fulfillment or validation from a connection beyond their usual relationships.
Whatever the reason, infidelity produces a lot of emotional suffering, but it doesn’t mean that your union has to end. You can work on repairing your relationship by taking these steps:
1: The Cheating Has to Stop
The first and most critical step is to put an end to the affair. It is honestly a waste of time if you’re trying to work through an affair and the other person is still seeing the other person.
2: Be Honest With Yourself and Your Partner
Set some time aside and reflect on your feelings.
If you’re the one who cheated, do you have any regrets? Are you ready to face the consequences of your actions? Are you ready to put in the effort to repair your relationship? Is it likely that you will cheat on your partner again? Be truthful to yourself.
On the flip side, if you were cheated on, there’s a lot to think about before confronting your partner. Do you want to make your relationship work? Do you want to know everything there is to know about the affair?
When you and your partner get in touch with your feelings, you can truly express your thoughts to your partner, which will be one step toward forgiveness.
3: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
One of the most widely reported reasons for marriage failure is the inability to communicate with one another. Granted, it’s difficult to see through the betrayal but learn to be still and listen to your partner.
If you’re the one who cheated, tell your partner what needs you have that your relationship wasn’t meeting. This way, you can better understand each other and move forward. Communication can help the hurt partner rebuild trust in their partner for a better new relationship.
4: Allow Your Partner Some Breathing Room
If emotions are running high or one of you is emotionally charged, it’s fine to take a “time out.” You both need to calm down before you can discuss such sensitive matters. Space is extremely vital in the healing process, and in some cases, it’s the only way for the person who was cheated on to come to terms with moving forward.
5: Address the Underlying Concerns
The cheater must be honest with their partner on their reasons for cheating and accept full responsibility for the betrayal. Indeed, a problematic relationship is no excuse for cheating. Still, if larger areas—communication, time together, sex, and so on—can be improved, it might be reassuring to both that infidelity is less likely to occur.
The cheater must also demonstrate patience and understanding that recovery from the affair will take time. This way, the person who was cheated on can start rebuilding trust.
6: Re-establish Trust
The most damaging aspect of an affair is betrayal. Consequently, the partner who has been cheated on will frequently wonder whether they are being lied to and will have difficulty establishing what is true and what is not.
This puts the cheater on some probation, and though it’s not ideal, it may be what it takes for the other partner to reestablish faith and trust. It’s reassuring to know they can check on their partner’s phone or computer without finding anything incriminating.
To restore trust, you also need to spend time together while allowing your partner some alone time. Make date nights a priority, have fun together, and when your partner is ready, you can go on a getaway together. This will help you in repairing your relationship and regain a healthy one.
7: Get Professional Help
Last but not least, couples therapy. You and your partner need to be willing to recognize problems in your own lives in order to begin repairing your relationship. To assist you with this process, you might want to seek the advice of a marriage and family therapist.
Couples counseling is one of the steps with the highest rates of success in cases of infidelity. Even better, it can help rebuild a stronger, more intimate version of your connection.
As such, seek professional help and, if possible, do so immediately. The sooner you address problems, the easier they will be to resolve.
Restarting Together With Jan Rakoff, a Certified Therapist in San Diego
Want help in rebuilding your relationship from the ground up? Jan Rakoff is a certified therapist with a long-standing practice in San Diego. She provides marriage counseling to individuals and couples dealing with endless negativity, pressure, mistrust, and depression after an affair.
Whatever your situation is, Jan Rakoff prides herself on establishing a loving and direct relationship with her clients online and in person. This is vital in marital therapy, as it helps in open communication.
If you would like professional help in repairing your relationship, you should contact Jan at 858-481-0425. Better yet, you can visit her office at 12636 High Bluff Dr. Suite 400 today!