Infidelity is arguably the worst thing that can happen to destroy a marriage. When either partner cheats, the relationship is strained to its limits. In some cases, it is never mended, but it is by no means an absolute end. The truth of the matter is that many couples have moved past infidelity and have gone on to rebuild their relationships.
While this is possible, it is definitely not an easy road to take. Rebuilding a relationship wherein the trust has been broken can be one of the hardest things that a couple has to go through. The result, however, is worth all the effort.
If you are in a situation wherein you are thinking of how it is possible to get over an affair and rebuild your relationship, here are the steps that you can take.
1. Talk it over with a counselor.
The chances are that you may not be sure if you really want to take the time and make the effort to make things work out between you and your spouse again. This can be true whether or not you were the one who cheated. If you are experiencing doubts, the best thing that you can do is to talk to an uninvolved party about the situation. Even though the decision is yours and your spouse’s to make, talking it out with an experienced counselor could help you clear your head to make the right decision.
2. Communicate your decision with one another.
Once you have both decided that you are going to give your marriage another go, you need to sit down and talk about the decision. You both need to lay down all your cards on the table and be committed – equally committed – to the long and probably difficult road ahead of you. The important thing is that both of you have the same goal and that you identify this goal together.
3. Talk about what happened and how it made you feel.
This could very well apply to both the spouse who remained faithful and the one who cheated. The idea is for you to both speak your minds and clear the air out. Once this has been done, forgive one another and do not give in to the temptation of rehashing the incident over and over again in the future.
4. Talk about the underlying reasons for the infidelity.
There is absolutely no excuse for cheating on one’s spouse, but there is always a reason. Whatever that may be, it is important that you both understand the reason – or reasons. On both your parts, total honesty is necessary. It might hurt, hearing all the details, but it is a vital step. Once you are able to pinpoint the cause/s, you can promptly plan on ways to address the problem.
5. Make your apologies/accept apologies.
If you are the cheating spouse, it is imperative that you take full responsibility for your actions. Do not make the mistake of giving an excuse. Statements such as ‘I couldn’t help it,’ ‘It was not my fault,’ and the like should never be uttered. At the end of the day, you have to accept that no matter what happened, you made that decision to cheat. If you are the aggrieved party, once your spouse has made his apologies, do not play games. Accept the apology for what it is – after all, at this point, you both have decided to work it out.
6. Agree on ‘rules’ that both of you have to follow.
The spouse who was cheated on would seem to have the upper hand here, but really, try not to take that stand too much. Instead, both of you should agree on each other’s behavior. The spouse who cheated should stop ALL contact with the third party. No phone calls, no text messages, no nothing. If they’re contacts on any instant messaging platform or social network, ask your spouse to delete him/her from the list. On the other hand, once he or she has done his or her part, stop going on and on about it.
7. Spend more time together.
Once you have done away with the decision to forgive, you have to start making more effort to rebuild your relationship. One way to do this is by spending more time together as a couple. Think of it as courtship part two. Go on dates. Take trips together. Go home from work at a timely hour and spend the evening together. And, remember, spending time together means talking and communicating about everything that’s going on with your individual and married lives. This will help nurture your relationship and strengthen it.
8. Consider marriage counseling.
It might help if you see a counselor as a couple. You might both benefit from the professional advice of someone who is not close to both of you. The first several months after the reconciliation will be very difficult and you might need someone to help you through it.