Infidelity in committed relationships is far too common. Studies show that between 20-40% of American men will have an affair and about 20-25% of women. When a betrayal has happened in your committed relationship, it feels like the floor has fallen out from underneath you. Recovering from infidelity can feel like it is taking all of your strength and effort to get through life day-to-day.
The fact that it is more common than we think does not make it any easier when it has happened to you. But how can we stop simply surviving infidelity, and start healing from it?
If you are a betrayed partner or the partner who had an affair and are ready to learn more about steps you can take to heal from infidelity, then this is the article for you.
Seek Couples Therapy
If you and your partner are working on surviving infidelity, the first step in the recovery process, if you feel safe doing so, is to seek out couples therapy.
This should happen whether the infidelity is fresh, or you are both choosing to work out this issue years down the road.
You may try to augment this step by seeking out individual therapy for one or both people in the relationship, but the real work and healing is going to be done when you are able to meet in the same room for therapy.
Here are just a few of the ways that couples therapy is effective in helping you heal from infidelity:
A couple’s therapist has undergone extensive training to help you understand the root of the issue you are experiencing. the clinical psychologist or licensed marriage and family therapist is bringing both their training, as well as their practical experience of helping other couples through this trauma.
Within your relationship, it is impossible to bring an objective voice to the table. This is nobody’s fault, it’s just a fact of life that when you are in the situation, you cannot ignore your own feelings or perceptions.
The beauty of having a licensed therapist is that they do not know either you or your partner, and they are able to bring an objective voice to help mediate your discussions.
Having a person with no biases or preconceived notions about your relationship, unlike your family members, will help you and your partner explain your story more honestly, and openly.
Many times, after a couple’s therapy session, your couple’s therapist may assign you “homework” or a task to work on for the following week.
They may have books, exercises, or other resources to help you and your partner work through the infidelity to begin healing.
These resources can help you learn to forgive your partner, learn to interact positively with them on a daily basis, and re-introduce intimacy to the relationship.
Creating a Safe Space
Going to a couple’s therapist will allow you to create a designated time each week, (or however often you schedule therapy) to talk about the intimate details of your relationship.
It will bring you to a neutral space, away from your home turf and your surrounding family, to begin recovering from an affair or multiple instances on infidelity.
This will create a safe space for you to be honest in therapy and with your partner in a way you may feel unable to do in your own home.
Practice Patience With Yourself and Your Partner
When it comes to infidelity specifically, it will feel like you and your partner are operating at completely different speeds.
For the partner that has been betrayed through infidelity, it can take time to unpack the trauma and understand their feelings regarding it. This is the partner that has less information and will need all the time in the world to gather that information, understand it, and begin working through it.
For the partner that has committed the infidelity, they will want the entire process to speed up so that it is over with.
No matter which partner you are, extending patience to your partner is key in the process of healing.
It can be difficult but try to also be patient with yourself while you are grappling with these feelings. Recovering from infidelity does not happen overnight.
Seek Additional Resources for Recovering From Infidelity
If you truly want to heal from your infidelity, it may be essential for you to seek out resources and complete some additional work on your own.
The more self-awareness you have, and the more information you have, the sturdier a foundation you can build with your partner once more.
Here are some suggested resources to access:
- Guided Journals: Keeping track of your wellness, gratitude, and your habits is a great way to build better day to day habits and keep your emotions on track. Improving your self-awareness is only going to benefit your relationship.
- Podcasts: Listening to other couples that are going through something similar to you may help you gain some key insights that would otherwise be missed. Esther Perel’s podcast, “Where Should We Begin?” is a great place to start.
- Relationship Books: Since you are working on rebuilding your relationship, reading some guided books can help you form healthier habits as you rebuild the foundation.
Work on Rebuilding Trust
If you are the partner that has been betrayed, it can feel impossible to begin trusting your partner again.
Give yourself patience while you work on rebuilding trust. Express to your partner how difficult it is for you and ask for patience as your work on this essential element.
If you are the partner who has been unfaithful, remember that your partner is likely going to experience distress for a while, and blaming, shaming or hurrying them through it is likely to prolong the pain. Practice empathy and demonstrate your willingness to show up for them, even though your behavior is what caused the pain.
Recovering From Infidelity and Starting the Healing Process
Now you have the tools to stop simply surviving infidelity and start to heal from it.
Living your life with respect, patience, and compassion through this healing process is going to allow you to rebuild your relationship.
Interested in finding support? Feel free to contact us. We are here to help.