Part 3: Couples’ Repair after Infidelity
The first two articles in this series discussed ways in which the one who was betrayed can facilitate her or his own healing. As you utilized the tools provided, you found broken-heart help. You discovered that healing from infidelity is a process.
It is important for you to know that the person who betrayed is also experiencing a wide range of feelings. Though not always true, in some cases, the one who betrayed is also feeling betrayal. This may be betrayal form other aspects of the relationship. It may be betrayal for the betrayed withdrawal of love upon learning about what happened..
The person who betrayed is going to need support from m a nonjudgmental witness. Feelings of aloneness, rejection, guilt, sorrow, regret, anger, and fear are common. Finding a non-judgmental sounding board outside of the relationship will be key in the recovery.
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In order for a couple to stay together in a healthy way, amends and genuine promises to not repeat the infidelity must be made. The one who chose infidelity must decide where his or her commitment is. He or she will need to create ways to assure her or his partner that the re-newed commitment to honesty and monogamy is sincere. Here are some little ways that work successfully.
1. Make Yourself Available by Phone at All Times
Making yourself available to your partner at all times goes a long way. Over time, this is deep re-assurance that your commitment to fidelity is real.
2. There is Never too Much Apologizing
Your partner will be affected by what happened for life. Once she or he re-finds peace of heart and soul, s/he will continue to wonder if you are being honest. Once honesty is broken, there is no way to be certain. The best way to remedy this is to acknowledge your partner’s feelings and uncertainty as valid. Offer to do whatever you can to rebuild trust.
3. Focus on What is Good
Nurture all that is positive between you. If you have one cup of poison and you drink it you die. If you spend your time investigating the poison, you become obsessed by it. If you add pure spring water to it, the poison’s power lessens. Add an ocean to a cup of poison and the poison loses its power. As both of you add more and more good to your relationship now, what was not good, loses its impact.
4. Allow Time for Solitude
You will both go through a variety of feelings. You will need time to feel and change from this. Allow time for solitude. For some this means an hour a day. For some this means a few months apart. If the time is used to address your own feelings about the situation, you can come back together in a way that is more loving and whole. If you use the time to ignore the problem, however, this will not help.
5. Do good things for One Another
Good repairs sorrow. Good doesn’t allow you to avoid the grief and recovery process that is natural when betrayal occurs. It does build an environment of kindness in which forgiveness, strength, and love, can prosper even when infidelity has occurred.
6. Attend Individual and Couples’ Counseling or Coaching
Choosing to go to counseling or coaching together as well as separately is a commitment to a healthy outcome. This gives you the support you need from a neutral outside source. The choice is a statement to each other that you want to grow a healthy garden in the compost.
7. Be Willing to Release Resentment
When infidelity occurs, both couples are prone to some kind of resentments in the aftershocks. Be willing to release these resentments. The steps offered in Part I and 2 of this series will assist both of you with that.
8.Respect Your Uniqueness
Each couple will have unique needs that arise from your healing passage. Take time to listen to each other. Respect each other’s differences and requests as valuable. Find ways to meet each other that feel right. Compromise, meet in the middle, or simply give when it feels just right.
Assume that infidelity recovery is an ongoing process. Continue to use it as such. Be willing to have regular meetings to see how each person is doing and what is needed.
Long term patience is universally necessary after trust has been broken. I have found this to be vital for couples who are able to find their way back to wholeness. The infidelity will bring up all kinds of aches and pains from past and present that need lots of time to be addressed. Be tender, knowing that time used in positive ways, brings lasting rewards whether you choose to stay together or part ways.
Broken-Heart Help: Healing From Infidelity [Expert]
Laurie Moore, LMFT, CHT, PhD and Relationship Coach
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