Is it even possible?
You probably vividly remember the day, the hour, the very moment when you discovered that your partner was having an affair. You opened an email, looked at a text on his phone or caught her with someone else and it crushed you.
From that point on, the question at the back of your mind has been...
Is it even possible for us to be happy together again?
The first challenge after infidelity is to learn trust your partner. There’s a wariness and a resolve to never be betrayed and hurt like that ever again. It’s smart to be cautious and to look for signs that your partner really has ended the affair and really is willing to change. Rebuilding trust does take time and effort and begins with the conscious decision to heal and move forward.
But, the question of happiness remains.
For many couples, even after that wariness eases up and trust starts to return, real happiness in the relationship seems impossible. It’s as if something has died and neither person is sure it can be revived.
It’s important to seriously consider whether or not you’re willing to stay in the relationship after your partner’s affair. Even if you don’t want to “give up," can’t imagine your life without your partner or don’t “believe" in divorce, give yourself permission to think about what is truly best for you given your situation. The decision to stay in or leave your relationship is a big one, so be sure to look at the facts you have, the observable signs of change and also how you feel.
Make the right choice for you.
If you decide to stay in your love relationship or marriage after infidelity, then make reviving happiness a top intention and goal. This isn’t extra or something that you merely hope will happen one day, it’s essential; because if you’re not happy most of the time in your relationship, why are you in it at all?
Of course, even couples whose relationships have never been disrupted by cheating struggle occasionally (or frequently) to be truly happy. It’s up to you to decide whether or not being happy is a priority. If it is, then don’t allow the potential for happiness to be squashed by what happened in the past.
Happiness is a choice.
It might not feel like you have much power to be happy when your life has been turned upside down and your relationship feels broken. You can’t force yourself to be happy, but it is possible to choose to happiness...
Maybe not giddy or blissful happiness, but a happier place than you were before.
When you remember that you get to choose your response to whatever your partner has said or done and you are the one who determines your mood and attitude, you step into a power you may have forgotten you possess.
You no longer let the affair dictate how you feel about yourself, your partner, your relationship and life. That’s pretty amazing.
It all starts when you remind yourself of your power. You won’t jump from feeling miserable to feeling elated, but you will provide yourself with space and breathing room. You won’t be as helpless as you just were.
From there, you can make a gradual shift.
Do more of what makes you smile-- together.
As you remember your power to choose a response to what’s going on and to be as happy as you can be, you re-direct your energy and attention. This might mean that you literally change course and stop whatever you were doing and do something else instead.
If scrolling through depressing or negative Facebook posts is bringing you down, for example, you can log off. If sitting home alone is bringing up worries, you can call a friend or go outside and take a walk. Think about what or who makes you smile-- no matter how simple it is-- and then go do that activity or be with that person.
This is a conscious decision that you can make each and every day and it really works to bring more happiness back to your life.
Make sure you’re moving forward in your relationship with the same level of consciousness. Stop doing the same things you’ve always done together. Talk about what feels fun, relaxing, exciting or somehow positive to each of you and then do those things together.
Even though you two are still working on trust and changing habits, you can also create opportunities to enjoy being together and that’s fodder for happiness.
Want to know how to stay happy and close in your relationship over the years? Visit www.relationshipgold.com for advice and the free Passionate Spark~Lasting Love ebook by relationship coaches and authors Susie and Otto Collins.