They suck. And they don’t have to mean the end of your relationship, if there are good enough reasons to stay.
If your partner has had an affair, you may still be feeling the effects of it even years down the line - if you haven’t been able to effectively heal.
Usually we’re not able to heal because of a few reasons:
We don’t know what steps to take to heal
We stop talking about it because our partner, the person who had the affair, seems uncomfortable talking about it and so we hide our feelings inside to avoid fighting
When we DO talk about it, it doesn’t make us feel better
We’re not sure how to rebuild trust so we protect ourselves by withdrawing from our partner, not sharing in a vulnerable way… we’re still “together”, but we’re not connected anymore. After all, the only way to avoid feeling hurt if something happens is to make sure we don’t care that much in the first place
So, CAN relationships heal after an affair? If so… how?
Yes! Relationships CAN heal after an affair… but it takes active work, uncomfortable conversations, and relating to each other in a new way.
Questions for the partner who had the affair:
Are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to heal this relationship?
Are you willing to be completely transparent, even if you worry that your answer will upset your partner and make them leave?
Are you willing to have uncomfortable conversations, to build your tolerance for uncomfortable emotions, and to do what it takes to understand WHY the affair happened and affair-proof your life so it never happens again?
Questions for the partner who was betrayed:
Are you willing to do the work, even though it wasn’t your actions that caused the breach of trust?
Are you willing to flex your “trust muscle” - even if it feels scary to even think about trusting your partner again?
Are you willing to accept that your partner’s actions were more about them than they were about you, to shower yourself in self-love, and to work on your part of the pre-affair cycle to make sure both parties needs are met?
This is tough stuff. But with the right knowledge and tools (and strong motivation), you CAN overcome an affair.
Talking about the EFFECTS of the affair on the partner who was betrayed, even though it’s uncomfortable, is an absolute MUST. And there’s a specific way to do this - if you’re interested in learning how, here’s a video that can help.
Process of healing after an affair:
Complete transparency - but for the partner who was betrayed, only ask questions you feel prepared to learn the answers to
Identify the things your partner can do to help you trust them again (whether it’s access to their phone/social media, facetiming randomly throughout the day, turning on location services on their phone). For the party who cheated, remember: It’s your willingness to participate in these things that will soothe your partner’s anxiety and show them you’re trustworthy
For the partner who had the affair, actively do the work to identify WHY you cheated - and keep your partner updated on your progress to let them know you’re both on the same page when it comes to never going through this again
Work on your relationship health, meaning: learn new communication tools, learn new CONNECTION tools, spend time reviving your sex life (when there’s enough safety for this, of course). Both partners need to feel safe, valued and LIKED in the relationship
Spend a minute each day re-affirming your commitment to each other - even a simple “you’re my person and I’m so thankful we’re working on our relationship together” can do wonders
This course contains everything you need to know, plus exercises that will help you actually DO the work to heal after an affair—> “After an affair” e-course