We deny: “I didn’t do that!” “It wasn’t that way!”
We correct: “It wasn’t because of that!” “It didn’t happen that Saturday!”
We blame the other: “Yes, because you made me angry!” “Yes, because you did it first!”
We avoid the responsibility: “She told me to do it.” “You did it too!”
Familiar? Don’t be ashamed! It’s instinctive. We defend ourselves in case of critique, it doesn’t matter if it is rightful critique or not. The biggest disadvantage is that in this way we are preoccupied with our “counterattack” and not the other’s point.
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Try this: set a time interval for your partner for that long, while you are able to hear difficult things (e.g. in what is the third party better than you…) without interruption. Maybe quarter of an hour, maybe half. Ask you partner about his/her feeling, opinion or the reason. Listen to it. Don’t answer! Don’t protect yourself. Just think about it for a day or two. After that, if you still have something to say, say it respectfully.
If you reached the point you cannot stand it anymore, just say it’s too hard now. You want to stop here, and leave – to the other room; for a walk alone – and think about it. You may cry or exercise or do anything (healthy) what helps you to regulate the painful feelings. But the point is to understand your partner’s feelings and the reason of infidelity. Don’t let yourself sidetrack from this.
What I expect from this thorough investigation is that you understand in a deeper level what was happening around you, and with this insight you can better decide:
1: Is this relationship worth enough to work for or not?
2: What can I do to prevent this kind of crisis in the future?
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