What do we need to do as a couple to salvage our relationship after an affair?
In order to salvage a relationship after an affair, the cheating partner has to give up the lover, or whatever the act has been; whether it be the internet, the physical affair or an emotional affair. For the two of you to work on and salvage this relationship there have to be two people willing to do that. You can't do it alone; one person can't do it alone. That's where the beginning of your new relationship is starting. You can get through this. You can actually have deeper, more honest love on the other end of this. It's like rebuilding your home that's been knocked down by an earthquake. This time you're going to put a stronger foundation and a huge bunch of concrete to make your relationship firm. It starts with radical honesty. It starts with the cheater being willing to make amends and understand that they don't want to do that ever again. It takes the person who's been cheated on to have the ability, once you move through your feelings, to forgive. It takes both of you being willing to realise that your relationship is the most important thing, that you don't want to lose it and that you're both making a commitment to remarry each other. That's where it all begins. In order to rebuild your relationship from the ground up, you need to start bringing the romance back into it. At first the last thing you want to do, especially right after you've discovered there's an affair in the midst, is to get close. So, it's slowly approaching each other by spending more time together, by having more positive time together; time when you're not talking about the affair, starting to go out on dates together, and starting to see each other anew because the truth is you're not innocent anymore. There's a whole new person before you. Something has happened between you that, in a way, like an etch-a-sketch, shakes up the relationship, and lets you start new. Use this as an opportunity to discover this person; to rediscover this person, because in that you can hopefully rediscover something new that you like, some passion. Spend some time, some quality time, just together. Start bringing more romance back into your relationship. Start by being radically honest about who you are, what you want, and what you need, because the truth is you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
How can I help heal my marriage after I have been unfaithful?
If you've been unfaithful and you've decided "I want to come home," it's important to realize that you're not going to be able to put the affair away and lock it up. You're going to have to be accountable. You're going to have to be prepared that your partner is going to ask you lots and lots and lots of questions. You may have to be giving up some of the freedom that you've had. Your phone; she may or he may want to check your cell phone or email. They will want you to be an open book, and you have to be prepared to give that to them, at least for a time. You have to be prepared to be radically honest about how you spend your time and how you spend your money. It's also important for you to understand the pain you've caused and that this has caused. Be empathetic. Be open to your partner going through post-traumatic stress; lots and lots and lots of feelings and reactions. You have to be patient as they move through this. You have to be continually asking for forgiveness and saying "I'm sorry I hurt you," and telling your partner how much you want to make the marriage work, because for a while, you may be the one holding the concept that 'we will get through this, we will get through this,' until your partner gets back on board and is ready to forgive.
How can I help heal my relationship with my cheating partner?
The way to heal your marriage after you find out that your partner has been unfaithful is to first heal your relationship with yourself. You've got to withdraw as much energy and focus on what has happened to you, and how bad you feel, and how betrayed you are, and start spending more time really realigning with 'What is it that I want? Who am I now that this has happened? What are my needs in this relationship?' It's time. It's time to become radically honest about who you are. This is an opportunity to rediscover, because there is no status quo anymore about what kind of relationship do you want. When you discover that you have rights, that you have needs; that you have needs that need to be taken care of, then you can go back into the relationship and say, "OK, for this relationship to work, this is what I need." The healing has to start happening within. You've got to start giving to yourself and healing yourself; healing your wound. It's almost like a cat who's licking their own wound. You start there because you actually have the saliva, the love that can heal that wound. You've got to start healing your wound, and preparing yourself to forgive, because the first step to really healing the relationship is allowing yourself to forgive. In order for this relationship to happen, you're going to have to trust again. You have to get into a place where you are strong enough and ready to trust again.
Why do I feel so betrayed by my spouse's cheating?
You just found out that you're partner is having an affair. In whatever form that means you're partner is taking the attention, the love, the valuing, the sex and giving it to someone else. That's not the agreement you had. Of course you're going to feel betrayed; this person has been unfaithful to you. Your world is rocked, everything is shattered, and that's really natural. Truthfully you may not even know how bad you feel just yet until you start opening the door going “Woo, what happened?” Betrayal is that first stab to the heart that this really sucks. Betrayal really sucks. You're also saying “No, I don't like this. This feels awful and this is not okay”. Betrayal is a natural response to finding out that your partner has cheated. What you have to do with it is not to torture yourself in it; not stay in there any longer than you have to. You've got to start deciding on what you need; what you want in taking care of yourself right now, holding yourself through the betrayal. Betrayal is really natural. It's part of the awareness that something really horrible has happened to you. It's part of the trauma and you don't have to stay there. Take really good care of yourself right now.
How do I forgive my spouse after they have been unfaithful to me?
To forgive your partner for being unfaithful is to let go of resentment. It's to let go of your anger, to let go of your rage, it's to let go of the victim, it's to let go of the, "poor me." The good news about forgiveness is it's actually more for you than it is for your partner, because you're the one who's living with the rage, the anger, the jealousy, the victimness. To forgive is to begin to make amends and say, "I'm not carrying this anymore." It doesn't mean that you condone your partner's unfaithful behavior by forgiving them. What you're doing is giving to yourself the opportunity to have peace of mind once again. To forgive is to give yourself the relief of letting go of all the pain, and saying "yes" to life again, "yes" to love again. Whether you are upset about your partner's unfaithful behavior or not, beginning to heal means opening up to forgive, opening up to move on, opening up to trust and love again. You've got to do that for yourself.
How can I trust my unfaithful spouse not to cheat again?
Once your partner has cheated on you, we often wonder, "How can I ever trust again?" The truth is that you may never be able to trust in that naive, closed eyes, not seeing the signs, how could this happen to me, way ever again because you know this can happen. So, to trust again is to trust your ability to stay conscious, to stay present, and to stay in tune with what's going on with your life. To trust your partner is really about trusting yourself; to know the signs, to be aware. It doesn't mean being hyper-vigilant, it just means that you are present inside yourself, that you trust yourself, that you're not going to be blind-sided ever again and that you're going to remain conscious. If you also have a partner who's willing to work with you and be really honest, to be responsible for their choices, and to be open about what they're doing, it's going to make trust happen. The two of you committing to the relationship and saying yes once again in full consciousness as two grown-ups will help rebuild trust. Trust isn't gone forever; it just is going to feel different.