Surviving Infidelity

When someone in a relationship engages in infidelity, what happens next? After someone cheats in a relationship, there are three situations that might occur, two of which lead to surviving infidelity:

  • The couple comes to terms with the infidelity; they discuss why the infidelity occurred and their resulting feelings. They stay together, survive infidelity and get stronger.
  • The couple decides to stay together to work through feelings of anger, remorse, or betrayal. They survive infidelity, but not necessarily happily.
  • The couple decides to end the relationship altogether. They don’t survive infidelity.

Coming To Terms With Infidelity

Behavior doesn’t happen without a reason. Both a cheating spouse and a faithful spouse have reasons for actions which led to infidelity. A couple can start the healing process when they come to terms with the infidelity. This means that both people agree to stop engaging in denial, blame, or attack, all of which create more damage in the relationship, and begin the process of surviving infidelity.

The couple should attend marital counseling, at least during the first few weeks after the affair, so they can communicate in an environment that allows both people to freely and safely vent their feelings. Also, marital counseling provides a trained professional who can give the couple honest, open, and objective feedback. This information can improve their communication skills and help them discuss the infidelity without personal attacks. Also, it gives the couple time to work on surviving the infidelity and saving the relationship, instead of quickly moving toward separation or divorce.

Surviving Infidelity

When a couple agrees to continue the relationship, the issue of trust is paramount to both. The person who had an affair wants to be trusted when they promise to remain faithful. The faithful spouse needs to be assured that their unfaithful partner will not cheat with anyone else.

The relationship will be helped significantly if the couple asks themselves a few questions:

  • What was our initial attraction, and why did we originally enjoy about being together?
  • How did we bond? Was it mutual interests, similar character traits, a sense of humor?

If the couple can spend time together, enjoying each other and the pursuits that led to their mutual attraction, they will be working to create the bond that was lost. They won’t be spending unnecessary time on the behaviors that led to infidelity. Hopefully, they will survive infidelity.

Ending The Relationship

When a relationship ends, how do you get over the fact that it’s over? How do you get through each day knowing that the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with is gone? How do you learn to be alone again?

When a relationship ends, people frequently console the faithful spouse by saying “it’s time to move on” or “you need to get over it.” It’s extremely difficult to “move on” or “get over it.” Just about every aspect of our lives is affected when we lose someone we love; and yet, we know that it’s unhealthy to let the end of a relationship take control over the other priorities in our lives. Other people count on us, whether it’s our family of origin, children, friends, or co-workers.

It isn’t possible to completely come to terms with the end of any type of relationship. We can accept the fact that it did end, and we can work to improve the quality of our lives in the future. We must accept that the relationship did not survive infidelity, but that we can work to overcome the trauma and build a happier life in the future.

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