When the unthinkable happens, try these tips to repair the damage of an affair.
"Is it hopeless?"
This is the question running through your mind as you try to decide whether or not to stay with your partner after an affair. You wonder if the damage can be repaired and if you two can ever move past the betrayal and return to trusting and loving again like you used to. And it's an important question.
One of the very first decisions anyone makes after an affair is whether or not to try again. Of course, there are no guarantees that you will be able to fix your relationship. There's no iron-clad way to know if you'll reconnect and open up to intimacy again or not.
It's a risk to take a second chance, but it's one you can take wisely. Here are just a few signs that your relationship can survive the affair:
- You two are communicating honestly again.
- You can envision a happier future with your partner.
- You're not holding onto bitterness, anger and blame.
- You are open to making changes to benefit your relationship.
- Your partner is willing to work with you to fix your relationship.
Regardless of whether your partner cheated or you did, your actions now determine whether you two move forward together, move forward separately or remain miserably stuck in the painful past.
Make it a team effort.
To fix your relationship after an affair, you've got to work as a team. If your partner cheated, your attitude may be that it's on him (or her) to make the necessary changes and return things to normal again. If you had an affair, you may put the future of your relationship totally on your shoulders. This one-sided approach is a mistake many people make.
While it's essential for the one who cheated to take full ownership of the affair, so many bad habits and old resentments don't get cleared up if that's the sole focus. This makes it more likely that you two will end up disconnected all over again. Affirm to each other that you're on the same team and that you're willing to work together to heal wounds and reconnect.
Talk about it.
Another common mistake that is made after infidelity is on how it's communicated. To bring every conversation back to the affair in a blaming way causes further damage, but so does putting the topic on the "no talk list." Some couples try to put the past behind them by refusing to give air time to the affair and almost pretending it didn't even happen. Being present moment-focused is only beneficial if you can do so in your mind as well as in the conversations you have with your partner.
Find ways to talk about the affair that are conducive to learning, understanding and healing. Create agreements with your partner about how you'll do that. Be sure to also take regular time by yourself to process and release intense emotions so that you're not dumping them into the talks you have together.
Know when it's unfixable.
If you are doing the work in a sustained way and are just not seeing the results you want, then perhaps it's time to make the difficult choice to end your relationship. Remember that a relationship doesn't instantly turn around after infidelity (or any other sort of betrayal). It takes time to heal and learn how to trust one another again. Look for any signs of improvement as you decide whether or not your relationship is fixable.
What has changed in the way you two talk to each other? What has shifted for the better in how you interact when you're together? How do you feel inside? Are you more willing to trust now? Is your willingness to trust again in alignment with your partner's actions?
If you aren't seeing improvements, but you don't want to end the relationship, sit down with your partner and come up with a new plan. Without blame, try new strategies that will better address the disconnection and broken trust.
If you feel confused or lost about what strategies will really work to repair your relationship, our Relationship Reverse Report can help. It's free and filled with practical ideas you can use to save your love relationship or marriage. To get your copy of today, visit, www.relationshipreversereport.com/
For More Advice On Affairs From YourTango:
- How Does An Affair Start?
- 11 Subtle Signs You're On The Verge Of An Affair
- Infidelity: How To Deal & Expert Advice