The topic of infidelity isn’t a pleasant one but it’s one that needs to be discussed. There’s no point pretending it doesn’t exist, but rather than talk about how terrible an act it is or how incredibly painful and harmful it is to a relationship, we want to give you some practical advice.
When a partner cheats, whatever the reason may be, it doesn’t always mean it’s the end. If you’ve decided to forgive and need help to get back on track, here are some things to begin with.
Find out why it happened
As painful as it is, you need to be able to dig deep when finding out why infidelity occurred. It’s no good settling on ignorance or attempting to accept reasons such as, I don’t know, it just happened. To move forward in the healthiest way possible, honesty is imperative. This is true whether you’re the one that cheated or were cheated on. One of the biggest fears with betrayal is that it will happen again. Re-establishing trust is not easy, so starting on level, honest ground is the only way to get a good footing.
Unless you know the root cause of infidelity and deal with that, it’s impossible to guard against it happening again. The how and when it happened is obviously important as well, but if you need to chase the detail, always aim for the why. This will identify gaps in your relationship, in your partner’s makeup and the life you’re trying to create together.
Deal with it
As hard as it may be, there comes a point when to move forward you need to leave the infidelity in the past. This isn’t something that most people can just decide to do, it takes a lot of strength and forgiveness.
The majority of people need a lot of time to heal, they have to revisit the same questions over and over and repeatedly analyse the answers before they sink in. To deal with it means allowing this to happen and accepting it as natural, but also to add a positive intention to it so you know why you’re going through it. Be always working towards something, whether that’s reconciliation or closure.
If it helps, see a therapist together, take joint time out to regroup, or take time out alone. Don’t be rushed, but do put a deadline on your suffering and stop it from becoming an endless assault on yourself. Know how you’re going to handle it now and make any necessary decisions about what to do if it ever occurred again.
Be careful who you tell
You should always have at least one person outside of your relationship that you can confide in. This is healthy and gives you a perspective other than your own or your partner’s, which may be clouded. The essential thing you need to do is make sure that whoever you confide in is able to let go of the infidelity, if and when you choose to do so yourself. The last thing you or your relationship needs, is your best friend giving your partner the evil eye every time they meet. As much as they love you as well, they also have to let it go.
Be honest about your future
Can you really move forward in the knowledge of what has happened? Can you let go enough to not bring it up in arguments, or to refrain from continuously punishing your partner under the guise of different issues? You should know yourself well enough to answer these questions.
Also, be clear about who you’re doing the forgiving for, is it yourself, your children or for your partner? Forcing it isn’t going to work, staying for the children, or because you’re too scared to leave are also not stable avenues. Know yourself and be genuine about whether you can get over the betrayal enough to trust again, or if you’re just prolonging the pain of all involved.
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