When infidelity occurs in a relationship, it can be very devastating for the parties involved. Infidelity involves breaking a promise to be completely faithful to your partner, and when it happens, it erases the trust that existed in the relationship.
Dealing with infidelity can be pretty challenging and it raises tough questions. Should you stay? Should you forgive? Can trust be rebuilt? Will things ever be the same?
If you’ve just found out that your partner has been unfaithful and you’re not sure of what to do, I want you to know that the infidelity was not your fault and that there is hope for you to find healing from this attachment trauma.
It’s important to note that infidelity can occur in any relationship. We often think it’s never going to happen in our relationship, but existing statistics show that infidelity occurs in about a third of relationships.
Why do people cheat?
People cheat for a variety of reasons, and it rarely has anything to do with the person that’s being cheated on. You might think your partner was unfaithful because of something you did or didn’t do, but that’s rarely true. Here are some of many reasons people cheat:
– To feel desirable
– Impulse/Lack of self-control
– Impaired decision making under the influence of drugs or alcohol
– Sex addiction
Remember that none of these reasons is an excuse, and the the person who was unfaithful is ultimately responsible for the choices that they made.
Can a relationship survive infidelity?
Yes, it’s possible for a relationship to survive infidelity, but it means that both partners have to be willing to work hard at rebuilding the trust that has been broken, healing, and making the relationship strong again.
Here are a few tips:
– Talk about the affair- It’s important for both parties to have an open and honest discussion about the affair. It also helps to talk to a relationship counsellor together, and explore ways that you both can heal faster. When someone has broken another’s trust, it’s important that this person be willing to answer questions honestly so that the betrayed person can begin to try and make sense of what has happened.
– Remember the good times and build positive connection now- Cheating is painful, but it helps to reminisce about the good times and all the wonderful things your partner did for you in the past. Don’t spend all your time together talking about the betrayal, especially if you are hoping to rebuild your relationship. Spend time doing things you enjoy together that make you appreciate your relationship.
– Tackle old issues- Now is a great time to tackle all the underlying issues in your relationship and create a fresh start. In Emotionally Focused Couples therapy this means getting a better understanding of your negative cycle and how this has contributed to the disconnection between the two of you.
– Don’t Set a timetable for recovery- Both of you need to be intentional about your recovery. However, you need to understand that recovering from an attachment trauma can take time and even years into the future there may be reminders of this painful time. The two of you can learn to be sources of comfort and connection for each other at times that you are confronted by the pain of infidelity but it’s important to honour the other person’s recovery process and not pressure them to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on from it’ .
– Reaffirm your commitment- There needs to be an understanding that infidelity will never occur in the relationship again, and a willingness to keep that promise by both parties.
-Work with a therapist- In rebuilding a relationship damaged by infidelity, patience is key. With the support of each other, family, friends and a good therapist it is possible for a couple to move past an affair and become even stronger.
Deborah offer relationship counseling services for couples who find themselves in this difficult situation, and you can contact her for a free 15 minute new client call to find out how she can help.