Is it possible to recover from an affair? Why would you want to? Here's how and why.
Nothing stirs up the core wound of betrayal faster than discovering your partner had an affair. The core wound of betrayal is one of seven core wounds we all work through as we grow in our relationships and in consciousness. (You can learn more about the core wounds here)
Infidelity is one of the hardest things to get over and forgive in a relationship, but it is possible. You can do it, but only if you decide that you want to forgive and heal. Your partner has to want to move forward, too. Unless he used the affair as a cowardly way to end your relationship, he’ll probably be anxious to be forgiven and willing to do whatever it takes to earn back your trust.
Trust is the crux of it; the wounding from an affair has many layers, but the bottom line and the root of it all is that when your partner has an affair, he betrays your trust. With that betrayal, your world feels unsafe. If you can’t trust your partner, who can you trust? And worse, if your partner cheated on you, can you even trust yourself? Could your judgment be that flawed, could you really be that naive?
The betrayal erodes the foundation of your relationship and it erodes your self confidence. The only way to repair the relationship is to re-build the foundation of trust. I recommend that you don’t try to do this alone. Whenever a core wound is involved, it’s wise to get the help and support of a trained life coach or therapist.
Trust is rebuilt one brick at a time. Here are some important components.
- Reliability. He does what he says he’ll do, when he says he’ll do it. He comes home on time, picks up the kids, fixes the broken cabinet... whatever it is, you trust his reliability.
- Love. He actively demonstrates that he still loves you. There are 5 love languages, according to author Gary Chapman. These are ways that your partner can let you know he loves you. Figure out what your primary love language is and tell him so that he will know how to show you he loves you. (www.5lovelanguages.com has a test you can do)
- Communication. I feel like a broken record, but if you don’t have open, honest communication, you don’t have much of a relationship. One of the main reasons men and women have affairs in the first place is because they don’t communicate well with their partner, and that sends the relationship into disrepair. Tell him how you feel, tell him what you want from him, and expect nothing less from him.
- Responsibility. Each of you has to own up to your part in the breakdown of the relationship. How did you stop paying attention to each other? When did the relationship become a lower priority? What are you each willing to do to repair it?
It is possible to recover from an affair. And while sometimes relationships just run their natural course and end, more often than not, a spurned lover throws the baby out with the bathwater. Problems in relationships are never one person’s fault, and if you take the time to look at the dynamics present within your relationship, you might find that there’s still life in it. If you ditch the relationship without examining the dynamics, you’ll get to repeat the process with your next partner. (If you like this article, click here to sign up for more)