Being in a relationship can be one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll ever have. Your love for each other can provide you with comfort, security, ecstasy, and fulfillment.
But when things go south, this also means that relationships can present you with some of the most challenging experiences you’ll ever encounter.
And you can look no further than encountering this kind of challenge when you find out your partner is having an affair.
The betrayal, the anger, the sadness. It’s a terrible experience.
“Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother fucker’s reflection.”
― Lady Gaga
The real question here is, can a relationship go back to normal after infidelity? Rest assured, there is some good news as not all couples have to split when someone cheats, provided the cheating partner is willing to cooperate.
Let’s get a better understanding of what cheating is in a relationship. According to experts, cheating is simply the act of one partner acting contrary to the defined agreements and commitments in a relationship. This may range from physical infidelity to emotional infidelity.
How to Rebuild A Relationship After An Affair?
1. Admit To Infidelity And Be Remorseful
So regardless of whether you were caught in the act or your spouse scoured through your phone and found text messages, the first and most obvious thing to do is to admit to infidelity. You must be sincerely sorry for the affair, as it is a significant violation of your partner. With infidelity, you have pretty much ripped up your relationship’s contract of trust and loyalty qualities most people do not take lightly. And in place of this, you have sown seeds of distrust, suspicion, and disrespect.
When you apologize use words such as ‘I hurt you’, ‘I let you down’ and ‘I am disappointed in my actions. This will go a long way in showing your spouse that you accept your mistake as it is a sign that you are willing to change and work things out.
2. Allow Your Partner To Vent. Do Not Retaliate.
Forgiveness does not have to be immediate. Trust can take time to be restored, so be very very patient.
Most couples would agree that patience indicates you are willing to wait and experience temporary loss or pain because you value the relationship. This helps the healing process. Respond only when you have to. This can go a long way in returning the relationship to normal.
Finally, the best course of action here is to listen. Actively listen to how your boyfriend is feeling. It will not be pleasant hearing as this gives you an insight into the extent of hurt your infidelity caused. Failure to heed these steps reduces your chances of working things out and repairing your relationship after an affair.
3. Be Honest, Accountable, And Transparent
This step is all about communication – open, honest, and accountable communication. Be gracious in how you communicate your thoughts and feelings. Going forward, there will be various moments where some will end up in disagreements and arguments, and the past affair is likely to come up.
Allow them to go through your emails, cell phone, and social media accounts. While this feels like an invasion of your privacy, it is for the greater good which is the restoration and rebuilding of credibility and trust.
4. Keep Your Promises
Just like being released from jail of your own making, you have to sign a bond or make some resolution not to go back to your old ways. Failure to do so can take you back to square one (jail) and completely ruin your relationship. After all, this is a second chance with a person that is very significant in your life.
Chances are, these promises will help you mature as a person and help restore the trust in your relationship. An excellent place to start is to promise to cut contact with your affair partner and do so, as mentioned above.
5. Actively Seek To Rekindle Your Love – Let Love Lead
Now that you have been given a second chance make it count. Start by rekindling your love with love. Love (or some variant of it) is the reason you are in the relationship. The affair may have reduced it, but it is not the end. Rekindle the love of your favourite person – our spouse.
6. Forgive Yourself. Allow Your Partner to Forgive You
If you’ve gotten this far in your couple’s therapy, then fear not, the rebuild and restoration process is firmly on track. Your partner is less mad and is even considering forgiving you. Most people would agree that you mustn’t force your other half to forgive you. Allow them to forgive you in their own time.
7. Focus on the Present – Look To The Future
At this stage, couples usually prefer to focus a good portion of their energy on the now. Be mindful of yourself and your partner – how you both feel as partners and as people, as well as the effects on you both. Attempts to revert back to the normal should be present and future-oriented.