Healing the emotional scars and regaining a cheated spouse or partner’s trust in the aftermath of an affair is a difficult task. Many marriages and relationships break down after an affair for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that the parties involved do not know how to maintain a relationship following an affair, or have simply given up on trying. Willingness to mend the relation is an important first step. Follow through and maintain your relationship by heeding the advice below:
- Communication. Communicate honestly about what happened, why it happened and how you truly feel. It is important for the guilty spouse to come out in the open and admit his indiscretions. He must also be open as to why he cheated, when seeking his partner’s forgiveness. It is also important for the aggrieved partner to express his hurt feelings to the other person. Expressing feelings of anger and hurt is part of the healing process. There can be no healing without honesty between the two of you. Explore the factors that led to the affair. This will lead to awareness and avoidance of any future mistakes. If your spouse cheated on you, do not take the escapist’s road by denying the affair ever happened and simply “moving on”.
- Ask for your partner’s forgiveness. Only when the communication lines have been opened can there be genuine forgiveness. The spouse who cheated should in so many ways seek forgiveness. Forgiveness, however, takes time. Rebuilding trust takes time.
- Set some ground rules. If you have thoroughly discussed the factors that led your partner or you to stray, as a couple you have to set some rules on what to do or what to avoid. For instance, if one of the reasons why one partner cheated is because of the other’s unavailability, schedule quality time together. Setting ground rules will let you both ease your insecurities.
- Rekindle the passion. Remember what brought you together in the first place. Make sex intimate and passionate again. Be attentive to the needs of your partner.
- Learn to let go of the past. After an affair, insecurity can lead to paranoia. If you are the aggrieved spouse you have to let your partner earn your trust again by not bringing up everything about the affair all the time. If you cheated on your spouse, avoid behaviour that will trigger the insecurity.
- Get spiritual and professional help. There are countless success stories of couples who bounced back to life after an affair with the support of their church and dedicated professionals.
There is no magic solution or manual that will tell you everything you need to know about how to maintain a relationship following an affair. It takes superhuman strength to love like you have never been hurt before. The process of healing is difficult and can be very slow, and many have failed. But it is not impossible if you love each other and commit to making it work again.