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How To Fall Back In Love With Your Husband In The Aftermath Of Even The Most Devastating Betrayal

Photo: Unsplash: Brooke Winters
How To Save Your Marriage & Fall Back In Love With Your Husband When You Caught Him Having An Affair
Love

It won't be easy, but it can be worth it.

Finding out that your husband is cheating on you and having an affair with another woman is nothing less than devastating. The knowledge that the man you loved and trusted more than anyone else has committed adultery brings on a confusing rush of emotions overwhelms your nervous system, leaving you alternating between shock, outrage, pain, sadness, depression, loathing, and more.

You don’t know what to do or where on Earth you can possibly turn for comfort and guidance. You wonder how you will get past this traumatic betrayal in order to fall back in love with your husband and save your marriage — as well as whether or not you should bother to try.

You ask yourself questions such as, "Is my marriage over?" and, "Is my marriage worth saving?"

Can you fix a broken marriage when your husband has so selfishly tarnished your union with infidelity? As the spouse who was betrayed, is it even be your responsibility to figure this all out?

You've read plenty of explanations about why men cheat, but this isn't just a man, it's your husband.

RELATED: 7 Things That Need To Happen In Order For You To Move On From An Affair

No matter what excuses or reasons he may have, you remain paralyzed — as though your heart isn't simply broken, it's been run over by an enormous truck.

These emotions you are experiencing are entirely normal.

They are also typically difficult to move past when you’re considering the lasting implications of an affair: what it means for your living situation, what it means for your marriage, and what it means for you.

Regardless of the reasons your husband gives you for his cheating, if you decide that what's best for you is to stay and continue building a life with your husband, you will both need to learn to move past the hurt and upset of the affair together — as a team.

You need to learn how to fall back in love with each other and create renewed meaning for each one of you within the content of your romantic relationship.

In order to move forward without lingering resentment, here are 3 critical things you must do in order to save your marriage after the painful betrayal of infidelity.

1. Address your full range of emotions head on.

This first phase you’ll go through after learning about your husband’s infidelity is acute — it’s when you’ve found out about the affair and are reeling from the shock and pain of it.

You feel a bit like a trauma victim during this time, as though you were hit over the head with a baseball bat. Your world has been pulled out from beneath you, and your worst fears have come true.

Rather than bottling up your feelings or trying to work through them in isolation, discuss them with your husband as candidly as possible.

And as gut-wrenching as the circumstance may be, do your best to avoid becoming accusing or abusive when speaking with him, as that will only taint your relationship further.

Make it a point to practice “fierce intimacy” — the practice of being open and honest with one another for the sake of bettering your relationship.

Your husband must understand that he is accountable for his behavior and actions. He must not deny what he did or blame it on anyone or anything else.

There is a built-in asymmetry to the relationship dynamic in a marriage during the aftermath of an affair.

You want to dissect the situation, explain your feelings, and find out the details of happened, while your husband will likely want to get it over with and stay focused on moving forward. But addressing his betrayal and infidelity openly and honestly is the crucial first step in reestablishing the foundation of trust in your relationship.

As you try to find your footing after this painful discovery, your husband needs to listen to your feelings, be generous when dealing with you, and remain patient with you. No one but you can or should decide how long you need to get past this.

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Know About Cheaters (According To Science)

2. Work together as a couple to uncover the reasons for his infidelity.

The second step is understanding why your husband cheated on you to begin with. This is a bit like trying to identify the proverbial truck that ran you over, and it can be painful for both of you.

The biggest questions you might have during this time include, “How could you do this to me? How can I ever trust you not to do it again? What did the affair actually mean to you?”

You may discover that the affair happened because your husband is narcissistic or self-absorbed.

Perhaps your marriage was failing and you were both going through the motions, living more like roommates with (pretty boring) benefits, rather than spouses and lovers.

Perhaps your marriage was truly great and neither one of you had any complaints, but it "just happened" anyway.

The reasons why people cheat are often complex and can be difficult to explain or fix, but gaining insight into how it happened is important nonetheless.

Even more difficult can be accepting the idea that this affair may have been meaningful for your husband on some level. Discovering that his infidelity meant more to him than "just sex" may be deeply hard to face, but it also doesn’t mean your marriage is over or cannot be repaired.

Whatever the circumstances that led to his affair, if you want there to be any chance of making things work, it's your job as a couple to work together and identify the underlying issues that drove you apart to begin with.

3. Remain open to love

In order to reach this point, you must be willing and able to let go of your anger.

This doesn't mean that you should simply forgive him and move on, washing your hands of his affair altogether. Your husband is responsible and accountable for his actions, and he will be for the rest of his life.

What’s important, however, is that you let go of the grudge you are currently holding against him.

The idea of “falling back in love” with your husband comes with an emotional caveat — it implies that you are not "in love" with your husband right now.

In order to love him again, you can’t fall back into the naive kind of love you felt for him before his affair.

As you create this new life together, you must instead develop a deeper love — a wiser, more mature kind of love.

Mature love accepts that you will break each other’s hearts once in a while, not necessarily having affairs, but in other ways, too.

And it allows you to make the daily choice to keep loving each other anyway, in spite of flaws, heartbreaks, disappointments and, yes, perhaps even adultery.

You’re not fixing your old relationship. You’re recommitting to your new one.

The goal isn't to merely survive infidelity, but to use it as a springboard for transforming your marriage, and yourselves, into best, strongest versions possible.

In your new relationship, practicing fierce intimacy with one another will help you establish a more trusting connection than you've ever felt with one another before so you can embrace the future together, whatever it may bring.

Affairs are painful, tormenting, and difficult, but they don’t have to mean that your marriage is over.

It is possible to fall in love with your husband again after discovering his infidelity. And if you are both willing to do what it takes, your marriage can become even stronger as a result.

RELATED: 22 Ways Couples Can Survive Cheating (And Finally Heal From The Betrayal)

Terry Real is an internationally recognized family therapist, speaker, and founder of the Relational Life Institute who empowers couples to see the negative behaviors that prevent their happiness, and guides them on a step-by-step journey to uncover new ways to achieve greater intimacy and fulfillment. He offers a Relationship Inventory Quiz on his website and is the best-selling author of The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Make Love Work.

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