5 Steps To Rebuild A Marriage After Your Partner Cheats

5 Steps To Rebuild A Marriage After Your Partner Cheats

Whether your partner cheated or you did, you can still save your marriage if you follow these steps.

Yes, you can recover from the betrayal of an affair. The sense of hurt and betrayal may feel unbearable to you. The first stage of shock and awe will pass. You need to turn your attention to the healing process after infidelity.

Here are steps to help you get started:

1. Prepare.

Think of it as preparing for a marathon, in which you do everything to increase your resilience. Intensity of feelings can best be dealt with when you have had good sleep, eaten well, and exercised. Spend time with friends who get that you want to do what you can do rebuild.

2. Plan.

Plan to set aside significant time to address the issues and be willing to face enormous mood swings in your work together. Your spouse may find it necessary to come home from work if possible to care for your pain.

3. Advice for the partner that cheated.

If you are the partner who's had the outside relationship, plan with your mate how you will end that contact formally. Your partner will find it difficult rebuilt when there's someone in the wings who seems to beckon with a more exciting life.

The spouse who has initiated the affair must make it clear to the affair partner that the relationship is over, and that he or she is fully turning to the spouse to rebuild the relationship.

Naturally, trust-building must become the initial focus. Yet, trust can only happen over time. Consistent clarity about your whereabouts will help your spouse gain confidence again. Calls to check in can be part of regaining a sense of security.

As the partner who has had the affair, you may feel so guilty and ashamed you can hardly talk about the issue. You may feel clueless about your actions and feel you were under a spell. Your willingness to seek therapy will help you make sense of what happened.

Hopefully, your partner will see that you are trying hard. You may yearn for the whole thing to be put behind the two of you so that you could move on. Your beloved will not be able to let go of the pain so quickly, so hang in there. Sometimes, it takes as much as two years.

You may feel at first that you need to stretch to show your partner that you understand the intense feelings; yet, their depth may baffle you. You may resent how often you are being interrogated.

As an injured party you may feel surprised at your rage, and want to scream, "How could you? What were you thinking? Did you imagine how I would feel when it came out?" Yet, as you do so, you will fear that this would only drive your partner out of the marriage.

4. Advice for the partner who's been cheated on.

If you are the partner who has discovered the affair, you will want to know all of the details. This completely unknown piece of reality has destroyed your trust.

It's impossible to integrate the reality and come to trust your partner when you feel much of what happened is still hidden. It may seem that only by finding out every detail will you be able to come to grips with what happened.

Naturally, your partner will fear that each new disclosure will be just enough to make you leave for sure. Your mate will assume that each new detail could only hurt you and make you wonder why you keep on being the cop interrogating them with questions.

As the hurting spouse, be sure you can to handle the revelation before you ask more. You now know the basic reality of the other involvement, but more data may usher you into obsessing more. Learning all the lurid stuff may become the images for flashbacks later. Wait until you are less vulnerable and have your feet on the ground before you try to metabolize what you need to know.

5. Rebuilding the relationship: is it possible?

For the person who has had the affair, there is another hurdle you must meet. Expect the following phenomena: just as your partner begins to feel trust and you feel like you have done your part to commit fully, an intensity of anger may reemerge.

Your injured spouse may suddenly to vent the anger and rage that felt unsafe to express before. The onslaught may be so strong that you may want to throw up your hands and walk out the door.

Surely, this must mean that the marriage is irretrievable. But, this is the time where you are called upon to reach down for a new level of inner strength. When your partner begins to trust you with the undigested hurt, you simply being present and appreciating will make the difference.

Recovery from an extramarital affair will take all of your strength and more. If you value your relationship, you will find you can rebuild not the old relationship but a new one. Many couples have acknowledged that while the infidelity certainly was the worst thing to happen to them, through growing and learning together, they built a new relationship far beyond what they'd experienced before. You both will grow up and become alive.

Dr. Walkup, a specialist in infidelity recovery, provides a safe space for couples to find each other and rebuild their relationship. As a marriage counselor and partner to his wife for over 40 years, Dr. Jim Walkup helps couples build their relationship to last a lifetime. Visit his website for a copy of his eBook "A Marriage Counselor’s Secrets To Making Your Marriage Sizzle". Or, if you're in the state of New York, to schedule a Skype appointment or an in-person office appointment, call 914-548-8645 or drop Dr. Walkup an email at jimwalkup@gmail.com

This article was originally published at Mid-Manhattan Marriage Counseling. Reprinted with permission from the author.