You messed up BIG time. Here's how to set things right again.
Perhaps it started off with some 'innocent' flirting and attention, and now you're sitting here wondering how you let it get so far. You told yourself your partner would never find out, but they have, and now it is time to face the unavoidable outfall of your infidelity.
You're scrambling to figure out how to make things right again.
While the affair was occurring, the thrill, freedom, and excitement helped you rationalize your behavior and convince yourself that this was all harmless, and just for the current time. But, in the blink of an eye, your world turned upside down. And now, you're so close to losing the best thing that ever happened to you — your spouse. You now realize how important your partner really is to you, and you're not ready to lose them (or your marriage).
Part of being human is making mistakes, and you've definitely made a big one! For a bit of temporary pleasure, you've ruined your permanent happiness.
But, there is still some hope left to save your marriage from this mistake. Here are 10 ways you can repair your marriage and help it heal from the wound of infidelity:
1. Come clean and express remorse.
There is no sincere apology that includes the word ‘but.’ Let your partner know that you regret what you did. It is essential to acknowledge your mistakes and come clean about it. Do not play the blame game, rather, take the accountability of your actions and accept that you have messed up the relationship. Once you truly take responsibility, you open the door to take the necessary steps to make the relationship better.
2. Promise to be true to your word.
After the slip-up, you need to promise your spouse not to repeat the mistake again. Your word won't mean much right now, so your actions must back up the promises you make. Remember: once is a mistake, but twice is a choice. So end everything with the person you had the extramarital affair with, and make sure you stand behind your word. As Don Miguel Ruiz says in his powerful book "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" ... "Be impeccable with your word."
3. Examine your actions.
Marriage is a two-way street, but you are entirely responsible for your own actions and behaviors. Look inside for the cause of your cheating behavior (versus simply blaming your spouse for the affair), and try to safeguard yourself from such situations in the future. If an emotional feeling has driven you to betray your spouse, then figure out the underlying issues beneath those feelings and face them.
4. Tell your partner everything.
It's normal for your betrayed spouse to demand answers regarding information you shared with the person you cheated with. Moreover, your spouse will also want to know about all the times you lied (and if you've ever cheated on them before this incident). It is important that you tell your partner the truth because they're already struggling with accepting the betrayal at hand. You do not want additional secrets or lies to surface and mess up your future together again. Let your spouse know of all the times they were in the dark, and reassure them, to stop their insecurities from piling up.
5. No more secrets.
The secret you kept left you and your partner in a mess, so share everything with your partner moving forward, from phone records, to emails, texts, social media messages. Share all the evidence you have with your spouse, if they want to see it. Put everything out openly on the table. What begins as a little secrets to often evolves into giant secrets.
6. Communicate with compassionate honesty.
Honesty and transparency marks the beginning of 'the restoration phase' in a broken marriage. After infidelity, open and honest communication is essential to mending the marriage. However, you must not talk about the affair constantly. Your partner needs all of the information, but also needs time to heal and take a break from the pain of your betrayal. Set a specific time to talk about these things, and spend the rest of the time involved in positive distractions to move forward.
7. Change for the better.
Start spending time with your partner, planning little surprises, to let them know they're truly important to you. Try becoming a better person mainly for you, but also for your spouse, so they too, know that you're changing. These actions will surely revitalize your relationship, and you can make new memories together while enjoying personal and relationship growth.
8. Understand that forgiveness comes ... slowly.
Give your partner all the time they need to completely heal from the betrayal. It is important that they forgive you when they feel truly ready, as this will ensure a genuine forgiveness. It is entirely normal for them to feel suspicious of you for quite some time because you've caused them so much pain and hurt. Let them take their time, and don't stop apologizing. Things will not get back to normal in weeks. Rather, the process of healing, forgiveness, and rebuilding trust takes years. You must never imply that they should "move on" now; that is not for you to decide.
9. Accept your partner's emotions.
The hurt you inflicted on your partner does not go away easily. Be prepared to accept their mood swings and emotional breakdowns, and constantly show support. One day, you may feel that things are getting better, and the next day, you may have to face their emotional accusations again. The ups and downs are the normal roller coaster of emotions that comes with the betrayal. So be patient and accepting.
10. Seek professional help.
Lastly, an infidelity counselor that is professional and familiar with helping couples overcome an affair can assist you in easing and speeding up the recovery process. Additionally, a professional infidelity counselor can teach you and your partner constructive, healthy coping techniques while ensuring the foundation of trust and relationship skills are solidly rebuilt to sustain a lifelong marriage.
Everyone makes blunders in their life, but the courageous mend the damage caused because they know what's at stake. They know they can emerge stronger and better!
Moshe Ratson is an infidelity expert in New York City. Contact Moshe Ratson (Licensed Marriage Family Therapist ) to get the counseling you need to overcome the affair, rebuild your trust, save your marriage and ultimately emerge stronger.