Infidelity can cause a lot of emotional pain. When faced with a betrayal, one of the first thoughts to come to mind is “This is over!” But while navigating through the pain can be a difficult process, it doesn’t mean that your relationship has to come to an end.
Richard, Private Investigator and CEO of Rivica Private Investigations says: “Every day I see couples being devastated by infidelity. Affairs are unfortunately very common and happen for various reasons. Sometimes it’s opportunistic, sometimes it happens because of conflicted romantic feelings. But,” Richard adds “there are also couples that manage to recover.”
Building back the trust in your relationship takes a lot of work – but it can be done.
Is mending your relationship worth the risk?
There are many reasons for infidelity. Sometimes there’s a deficit, a lack of connection or something else that leads one of the partners to seek connection with another person. But not every infidelity is driven by dissatisfaction. Sometimes it’s not premeditated and could be influenced by alcohol or drug consumption.
Whatever the reasons, first off you need to decide if mending your relationship is worth it and if you’re both willing to put in the work to make it happen.
Allow yourself to experience the emotions
Rebuilding the emotional connection in your romantic relationship requires feeling it all. You’re not only hurt and shocked, but you’re also in mourning for your “old” relationship.
Allowing yourself to feel the emotions will prevent you from keeping the feelings bottled inside and also show your partner how you feel about them cheating. Express your pain to your partner, talk to your closest people about your experience and how you feel.
Coming face to face with these difficult emotions in a healthy amount means that you accept reality and will be ready to make a thoughtful decision.
Avoid spiraling into self-blame
Being cheated on might make you think “Why did I do wrong?” or “I am not enough.” While self-blame and feelings of insecurity can be common reactions to infidelity, they are not reflective of the narrative.
Take a step back and trust yourself. If you’re not able to do that, how will you be able to trust your partner?
Be aware that your relationship will change
While the sense of loss after the discovery of an affair can feel very painful, it’s important to realize that for your relationship to survive, it will have to change.
You might be feeling traumatized. The cheating partner might fear that they will be punished forever. The fact that there has been infidelity in your relationship will stay with you, but there is so much potential to make your relationship stronger.
“One thing that won’t make your relationship stronger is if you start watching your partner’s every move,” personal investigator Richard says. “It might sound counterintuitive coming from me, but even though hiring a PI to keep an eye on your partner is a fail-proof way of knowing for sure, you aren’t building trust.”
Communicate and look towards the future
Sometimes infidelity happens because there’s a rift in the relationship, there’s uncertainty in the future and unclear communication.
Psychotherapist Esther Perel believes that communication and meaningful connection are at the root of a thriving relationship. In building back trust in your relationship, she suggests that you work through some questions:
- What do we really want?
- Where do we want to be?
- What do we want to build?
- What do we have going well for us?
- What are our strengths and weaknesses individually and together?
- What will help us survive and thrive during this transition?
- What do we want to leave behind?
- What do we want to try that we never have before?
- What conversations need to be had?
- What promises need to be given?
- How do we remind each other that we’re in it together?
Sit together and discuss them, add more to the list as needed. Thinking about the future, making plans and reassessing the “rules” of your relationship will ensure a more clear understanding of each other and your path.
Lastly, avoid the blame game, remember that love is nothing without respect and seek the help of a couples therapist if you feel like you can’t work through these issues alone. Remember, there is always opportunity in pain: this is your chance to reprioritize and rebuild the emotional connection.