Infidelity has existed since the dawn of relationships, and it’s something that has persisted—or even worsened—in the time of Covid.
It’s arguable that few things in a relationship—if any—are worse than experiencing infidelity. It may be incredibly hard for you to forgive that person, and that would be a perfectly normal reaction.
You might be asking yourself questions such as: “How could they throw it all away for a fling?” or “Didn’t the years you spent together mean anything to them?”
While it can be difficult to recover from infidelity, it can often be done. Read on for seven helpful tips on how to learn and heal from your experience with infidelity.
Tip #1: Don’t Get So Emotional That Your Partner Shuts Down
The first thing you’re likely to want to do when you find out your partner cheated on you is to react. You may want to scream, cry, throw a chair at your partner, and generally lash out. But you may also want to know all the sordid details about what happened, and it’s better to find everything out now than keep re-hashing the situation down the road.
Of course, if you’re reading this, it may very well be too late to control the emotions that have already been unleashed at the time of learning the infidelity. However, if you suspect your partner is cheating on you, but this has yet to be confirmed, then there is still time for you to decide how you will react to the news once it is confirmed.
Granted, many of us act differently in the moment than we think we might, but it’s good to remember that no one is going to want to disclose more information to someone who is screaming at them. Reacting violently to what is admittedly the worst news any partner can tell another is a surefire way to cause your partner to shut down and refrain from giving you the absolute truth.
Tip #2: Accept The Fact That Triggers May Come Up, And That’s Okay
If you choose to work things out with your partner, it is important to understand that you may still feel some trauma due to their infidelity. This is normal!
Until the pain can heal, and you can fully forgive your partner for their mistakes, it’s only natural that something may come up out of the blue and remind you of those darker times. Recovering from infidelity is not the easiest thing in the world, but it can be done.
Tip #3: Remember That You’re Not Alone
When dealing with infidelity, it may feel like you are the only person in the world to have ever been hurt this badly, but that’s not true at all. There are forums for people who have faced or are facing infidelity that you can visit. There, you can commiserate and compare with others who are also coping with infidelity.
These forums are wonderful insofar as helping you heal from infidelity because you can vent, scream, and cry to total strangers who know nothing about you and your partner.
You can be sure that there will be no one there to point out your partner’s good points when that’s the last thing you want to hear. Fewer people will try to convince you to stick together—even if moving on would be best for you. Instead, you’re more likely to feel more empowered to do what’s best for you and your wellbeing after receiving advice from others.
Tip #4: Don’t Allow Others’ Judgments To Affect Your Next Steps
The first thing most people will tell you when you catch your partner cheating is to dump them and move on. But it’s not so easy to do that when you have a long-term relationship, which may include a home and children you both love. You may both want to stay in the same home, and you may believe it is in your children’s best interests to work through your issues as a family.
If this is you, then it may be helpful to know the percentage of marriages that survive infidelity. One-third of all marriages reportedly survive an affair without any counseling or other professional help. The numbers, however, are better for those who do seek the advice of a licensed counselor or therapist. So, insofar as how many marriages survive infidelity statistics, it all depends on the parties’ choices.
Can a marriage survive infidelity? It absolutely can, provided the parties have decided to proceed as adults and not stay together as a way to torture the guilty party. You may have to decide for yourself how to forgive infidelity in such a way as to let it go and move on, but if this is the path you and your partner have decided for your relationship, then yes, it can be done.
Tip #5: Don’t Be A Pushover
Once you have decided to stay with your partner, be clear that you aren’t going to wake up the next morning thinking that everything is fine and back to normal. You have a lot to come to terms with, and while you are open to the idea of forgiveness, you are not going to forgive so easily. Don’t let the affair run your life, but don’t pretend like it never happened either.
It takes a long time to build trust and an even longer time to rebuild the trust that has been lost. You need time to heal, and you may lash out in anger from time to time or lapse into temporary periods of sadness as you overcome this major hurdle in your relationship. But if your partner is truly sorry, then they should be able to give you as much space and time as you need to help make things right again.
Tip #6: Don’t Rush Forgiveness
When it comes to an affair, you may forgive, but you’ll never forget. Something that painful stays with you a long time, so it stands to reason that it can take you a long while to forgive someone for hurting you so deeply. Don’t feel bad or guilty if you feel like you still can’t forgive your partner months after the affair. Time heals all wounds, but it can take more time to heal some wounds than others.
When you forgive your partner, this is a sign that you are ready to move on and put all the pain and sadness behind you to start fresh. No one will fault you for feeling like you aren’t quite ready to do that right away. You can only really say you forgive someone if you are ready and willing to let go of your negative feelings toward them, and when you feel your partner has done enough to get back in your good graces and re-earn your trust.
Tip #7: If You Feel Like You Need Help, Ask
You may think you’ll be able to handle this situation on your own, but the fact remains that whether you decide to break up or stay together, infidelity is one difficult hurdle to clear. This is especially true if you are married and/or have children.
If you feel overwhelmed by what your partner has done and feel like it would help to talk to someone, consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional like those available through ReGain. They’ll be able to walk you through the next steps and help you navigate this difficult time. Even if all you need to do is vent, our counselors are standing by ready to help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does infidelity pain ever go away?
According to research, it takes an average of 18 months to two years to heal from the pain of infidelity. Surviving infidelity isn’t easy, but it is possible. Understanding the pain won’t go away overnight but that it can and will in good time is helpful when surviving infidelity.
What percentage of marriages survive infidelity?
Four in ten marriages are challenged by infidelity, with half of those marriages surviving infidelity. Getting counseling after a husband or wife had an affair can improve the chances of a marriage surviving fidelity.
Can a spouse really ever forgive infidelity?
Yes, a spouse can forgive infidelity when a husband or wife had an affair, but it usually doesn’t come easily. In the process of surviving infidelity, forgiveness normally occurs toward the end. The betrayal of infidelity is not an overnight fix, but surviving infidelity is very much a possibility.
Why is infidelity so painful to the betrayed spouse?
Infidelity is painful to the betrayed spouse because marriage is part of the core on which everything in our lives is built, which makes the road to surviving infidelity long and painful. When that core is shaken, it affects everything we know about life and can cause disorientation and confusion, making surviving infidelity a tough challenge.
Do you really love someone if you cheat on them?
Infidelity can happen in even the happiest of marriages at times, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the spouse doesn’t love their partner. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make surviving infidelity any easier. Infidelity in happy marriages is usually triggered in a few key ways:
Why do people cheat on people they love?
Three areas can influence the likeliness of infidelity. Unfortunately, none of them make surviving infidelity an easy process, regardless of the reason: