An affair is one of the most difficult things that a couple can face; it puts a great deal of stress on both sides of a relationship. Here’s our best advice to rebuild a relationship after an affair.
How to Rebuild a Relationship After an Affair
Don’t Just Say Sorry, Be Sorry
When your partner first discovers that you cheated, whether it’s from you or someone else, there will be anger, blame, and sadness. It’s your job, as the cheater, to take it. You must be willing to accept this anger and disappointment, and being defensive of your actions is not going to help your case. Cheating is indefensible in a truly healthy relationship. If you cannot accept full responsibility for your actions, you are casting blame on someone else. If you blame your partner for your infidelity, you need to change that thinking. Most intimacy issues are a two-way street. If you cheated because you weren’t satisfied, you had ample opportunity to share this with your partner before resorting to infidelity. Apologize, accept accountability, accept guilt. Allow your partner to get their anger out, and then discuss your options. If you’re reading this, you and your partner obviously wish to reconcile and rebuild. That’s good. If your goals are aligned after infidelity, that’s a very good first step.
Focus on Trust
An affair is, at its core, a betrayal of trust. While there’s so much more to infidelity than trust, it’s a core component of your relationship that has been damaged or destroyed. Trust is not an easy thing to earn back or find if you’re the one who was cheated on. Maintaining and establishing expectations is critical in a relationship, and that’s even more true after an act of infidelity is exposed. If you had an affair, you need to be prepared to offer full honesty to your partner. Answer your partner’s questions. Whatever details they ask for, you must provide. They have decided they’re ready to hear the answer if they’re asking. This is not an easy conversation to have. For many, it’s the hardest part about rebuilding. You need to offer up full honesty: the who, the where, and the why; these questions and answers matter. You need to be accountable for your actions, your whereabouts, and any insecurities in your partner that your infidelity caused. Be home when you say you’ll be home. Answer the phone. Be present. A relationship is a work, and that labor is all on you after infidelity.
Rebuilding a relationship in the wake of an affair is a huge undertaking. Putting pressure on yourself and your partner isn’t your best bet for turning things around. Couples therapy can be an incredibly helpful tool for recovering from infidelity. Your therapist can initiate conversations, help explain certain emotions to both of you and act as a buffer between you and your partner. The perspective of a person who’s helped other couples overcome an affair can be incredibly helpful. Knowing that it’s possible to overcome and hearing it from a professional can put you both at ease and allow the necessary healing to begin. Your therapist can help you work on communication, which is critical for recovery. Being able to openly discuss what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future is very important. Asking for help is not something to be ashamed of, and being comfortable with a therapist is critical. If you’re unafraid of judgment by a third party because that person is qualified and experienced in couples counseling, you’re more open to begin the recovery process.
If your relationship is being strained by an affair, there are things you can do to rebuild. Contact the experts at SOL Mental Health today, and begin your path toward reconciliation.