Infidelity is one of the most painful things that anyone could ever go through in a relationship. Too often, the innocent partner takes the blame for the other person’s infidelity or thinks that it’s their “fault.”
Understanding that infidelity isn’t your fault is the first step towards surviving infidelity in a relationship. After the initial feelings of anger and betrayal – when you realize that it’s not your fault that your partner chose to be unfaithful – anger and resentment become the primary emotions felt.
There are several steps to surviving infidelity and making the recovery process smoother, regardless of whether or not you choose to work things out with your partner or end the relationship. Taking the healing process one day at a time is a simple start, but one of the most important.
– In dealing with infidelity, it’s important to remember that your partner cheating on you is not a reflection of you or anything about you. If your partner blames you, then this shows an unwillingness to take responsibility for his or her actions. Do not let your partner play the “blame game.”
– If you truly want to forgive your partner and try to continue the relationship with him or her, try to do so with a true forgiving heart. Don’t withhold your forgiveness in an attempt to get your partner to do anything and everything you want or in an attempt to manipulate the situation.
– Do remember (and even remind your partner) that forgiveness doesn’t cause an erasure of memory or make the pain of infidelity go away instantly. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, forgiveness means being able to move on in a more positive manner.
– Coping with infidelity can cause emotions to run high,cause physical stress, and can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. If you find yourself being unable to move through the healing process (alone or with your partner), then it may become necessary to seek the help of a professional counselor- for couple’s counseling or individual counseling. There’s no shame in needing the help of an “outsider,” sometimes it simply takes another perspective or a safe place to “vent” to help heal such a deep wound.
– Remember that while there are many individuals out there who are cheaters by nature, your partner likely didn’t set out to hurt you, nor was he or she unfaithful due to lack of feelings for you. Usually, infidelity is a symptom of a deeper rift in a relationship, not the cause.
– If you find that you’ve both grown apart, if your relationship has been full of conflict, internal or external stresses- then blame those for the cheating. If you choose to forgive your partner and try to work on the relationship, then it’s important to work on the underlying issues that led up to the infidelity in the first place.
– Don’t ask for details. This is of utmost importance when it comes to coping with infidelity and surviving the battering of the aftermath of infidelity. Many relationships are destroyed, not by the infidelity itself, but by the details shared after the fact. It’s normal to want to know what caused your partner to cheat on you with the other person, it’s even normal to want to know what took place between your partner and the other person. But this is dangerous.
The simple fact remains, you can’t remain objective or acknowledge and move past the hurt of infidelity once you know details. Simply because you won’t be able to help but compare your relationship with that of your partner and the other person. Don’t ask, period.
– Don’t involve family members or friends. This is one of the most common mistakes made when a person is trying to cope with the infidelity of their partner. Unfortunately, this can be more damaging than helpful. Your family members and friends, or those of your partner, will not be able to maintain objectivity and be neutral. They will become too involved in the situation and will cause you to question yourself, your decisions and those of your partner.
– Don’t feel guilty if you need reassurance from your partner that he or she is being faithful if you’ve made the decision to work on your relationship. If he or she is truly willing to earn your trust back after infidelity, then there should be a willingness to be open about anything and everything that you might feel insecure about. It may be as simple as making sure you know his or her schedule and relevant phone numbers and being able to reach him or her at any time, or being provided with email passwords, etc.
– You do have the right to ask your partner to earn his or her trust back. If he or she thinks you unreasonable, then it might be wise to rethink your decision to stay in the relationship. Or it could be a simple matter of him or her not understanding how deeply their infidelity hurt you, in which case, couple’s counseling is likely a very good option to help you both work through the infidelity and be able to strengthen your relationship.
If your partner has been unfaithful numerous times or you simply can’t forgive his or her betrayal, then it’s okay to walk away if you truly feel that’s the best option. Surviving infidelity takes many forms and even after the healing has taken place, it leaves many scars that will last a lifetime. Once trust has been broken, it’s difficult to regain it, and takes the hard work of both partners. The fact of the matter is, only you know what you can forgive and what you can live with.
The final tip for surviving infidelity? Walk with your head held high, remember that your partner’s cheating had nothing to do with you specifically, know that you can move on and be able to trust again.