The Ultimate infidelity survival guide
Infidelity can be incredibly painful to deal with. For anyone who’s been in a relationship with a cheating partner, it’s an emotionally challenging experience that can take years to recover from.
It’s important to consider whether the relationship is worth saving. If it is, then you’ll need to consider what steps you’re willing to take to forgive your partner. Or how far you’ll go to win back your partner’s trust if you’re the one who’s been unfaithful.
We’ve created this Infidelity Survival Guide to help you both sort through the relationship wreckage and come out the other side a stronger, happier couple.
Step 1: Cut all ties
The first step is to sever all ties with the other person. No more emails, texts or phone calls. And definitely no more face-to-face meet-ups. To ensure there’s no uncertainty about the break being definite, consider handling this together. It may be painful, but sit down with your partner and write the other person an email explaining the relationship is over. Scott Haltzman M.D., author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity, suggests including a line such as: “My partner is writing this with me. I can’t see you again. I need to work on my relationship. Please don’t contact me.” Writing it together with help restore trust and show you’re both serious about taking positive action. If you work with the other person, you must promise to keep your relationship with them completely businesslike. However, you may also want to consider whether changing roles might be the best way to move on and save your relationship.
Step 2: Be honest
The time for half-truths and lies is over. Now it’s time for complete transparency. If you’ve cheated on your partner, be prepared to answer their questions as honestly as possible. Don’t hold back, and don’t leave out any details that could come out later. However painful it might be, it’s vital to give all the details your partner asks for. Giving vague answers or hiding certain facts to ‘save their feelings’ won’t help in the long run.
Step 3: Talk it out
While many couples believe the best way to survive infidelity is to not talk about it, the experts disagree. While going over the details with your partner might seem unnecessarily painful, it can actually rebuild trust. Your goal is to reach a point where you can talk about the affair without feeling any pain. And the more you talk, the more you’ll heal.
Step 4: Ask the right questions
If you’re the one who’s been betrayed it’s important to clear up all the questions in your mind. At first you might focus on the detail – “Where did it happen?”, “What exactly did you do?”, “How many times?”, etc. But over time you might find your questions shift into thoughts about your partner’s emotional state, and whether there are/were any weaknesses in your relationship that contributed to the situation.
Don’t let your worries and questions simmer inside. Get them out in the open.
Step 5: Keep on living
Try not to let the affair take over your life. Continue your regular routine – go to work, head out with friends, and exercise. Limit the time you talk about the affair with your partner, friends and family, and focus on other things that make you happy. Give your heart and mind a rest by distracting yourself with enjoyable activities such as heading to the movies, listening to music or reading books.
Step 6: Take responsibility
While it may be tempting to blame your partner for your unfaithfulness, it won’t help fix your relationship. If you’ve had an affair, show regret and apologise frequently. Promise never to be unfaithful again. It may seem obvious, but your partner needs to hear your commitment again and again. So offer reassurance whenever you can.
Step 7: Get support
Talking to others about the infidelity can seem daunting. Nobody likes to admit to relationship problems. But the truth is you’ll both need help and support during this difficult time. It can genuinely help with feelings of isolation.
If it’s too difficult to talk to mutual friends and family members, consider seeking professional advice from an impartial source.
Step 8: Spend time together
Often the only way to rebuild your relationship is to remember why you started it in the first place. Spend time with your partner doing things you’ve always enjoyed. Agree not to talk about the affair during these activities, and focus on each other instead. Talk about happy times and make plans for the future.
Step 9: Take a break
Sometimes it’s hard to gain any real perspective when you’re tied to your daily routine. So consider taking a break from your friends, family and job and heading away with your partner. Try to leave all talk about the affair behind you, and head to a new environment where you can focus on being together and trying to rebuild your relationship.
Step 10: Reconnect physically
After an affair, having sex with your partner can be the last thing you feel like doing. But making an effort to physically reconnect can help the union feel stronger. Try to find time to meet each other’s physical and emotional needs. It’s important to take it slow and not pressure your partner. And hopefully, when the time is right, the spark will return.
Step 11: Don’t forgive too soon
While you’ll never forget the affair, hopefully you’ll be able to forgive your partner. Over time the painful feeling will fade, allowing you to move past it on your way to reconciliation. But don’t start letting go of the negative feelings until you’re sure you’re ready.
Step 12: Stay healthy
When you’re going through a difficult emotional time it’s easy to forget your own wellbeing. But feeling physically unwell can lead to depression and anxiety. Take time out for yourself, avoid using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, and stick to a healthy eating plan. This will ensure you’re mentally and physically fit enough to focus on the path ahead.
Step 13: Give it time
The situation isn’t going to be fixed overnight, so be prepared for the long haul. Your partner may appear to be recovering from the hurt and pain, only to suffer a relapse. Certain events or places may trigger feelings of anger or betrayal all over again. Be patient, and don’t rush your partner’s forgiveness.
Are you ready to take the next step?
Your relationship can survive an affair. However, it will take a lot of hard work from both you and your partner.
If you’ve been unfaithful you must be remorseful and willing to take steps to prove your trustworthiness. And if you’ve been betrayed, you must work through your feelings of anger and despair and learn to trust again. But if you both commit yourselves to rebuilding the relationship, you can move past the infidelity and create a strong, honest and more loving partnership.
Over to you
Have you and your partner worked through an affair? What are your infidelity survival tips? Please share your thoughts and advice below, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.
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