Infidelity is one of the major causes of divorce in the world as it often leaves a spouse wounded and heartbroken. This wound doesn’t disappear when the unfaithful partner apologizes nor when the betrayed partner decides to forgive. It only gets healed after some time but its scars are always there.
After an infidelity, it is common for the unfaithful spouse to seek for forgiveness. While it is easier for some individuals to forgive their spouse’s infidelity, others prefer to hold on to the pain and grudges which propel them into a revenge mission.
Is it always easy to forgive an unfaithful spouse? Unlike the societal perspective, choosing to forgive an infidelity doesn’t make you foolish nor weak. Only strong people forgive. Also, forgiveness doesn’t mean that you would completely forget the incident. The difference is that when you forgive, you let go of the bitterness and passion for revenge.
How do I reconcile after an infidelity?
Infidelity shouldn’t always mean the end of the relationship. Couples are expected to always create an opportunity for reconciliation. The possibility of reconciliation is dependent on the reasons for the infidelity. For example, if a spouse cheats because he’s in love with someone else then reconciliation might be impossible in this situation because he might want to move in with his new lover.
Have you seen couples who got divorced but wished they didn’t? Feelings of shame, low self-esteem, depression, confusion, fear, condemnation, etc. are often experienced by the couple after an infidelity. When the couples are unable to handle their negative emotions then the feelings of love, unity, tolerance, etc., are suppressed until it gets to the point that they decide to separate.
Reconciliation is easier when spouses who are still in love decide to walk together, not as “The Victim and The Aggressor” but as two people who have suffered terrible damage in their marriage, and are eager to do everything possible to repair it. But when it is just a partner that is trying to keep the relationship, reconciliation becomes difficult.
This is the first step to reconciliation. Maintaining a healthy and constant communication with your spouse creates an opportunity to express ones feelings. Also, through communication all unanswered questions can be answered and all doubts can be cleared. Healthy communication accompanied by tolerance, respect, patience, and love can help to heal a wounded soul.
As mentioned earlier, forgiveness is the key to reconciliation. That moment, after an infidelity, when you feel the need to stay married, the best option would be to forgive the betrayal and let go of the grudges. Forgiveness protects you from bitterness and resentment. It sets you free and helps in rebuilding trust. You should also forgive even when your spouse is unremorseful. Do it for your own happiness not for him.
Restore the intimacy:
Infidelity creates an emotional gap between the couple and the sexual relationship is also affected. A lady explained how she couldn’t have sex with her husband after discovering his infidelity. “I couldn’t have sex with him because he seemed dirty and stinking to me even after having his shower. Although, we were still living together, he was more of a stranger to me.”
Give your spouse another chance to be sexually and emotionally intimate with you. When intimacy is restored, the trauma of the incident would gradually fade away.
Remember the good old days:
When you first met your spouse, you probably fell in love and had a nice time together. You’d shared your dreams together and vowed never to leave each other’s side. Reminiscence of the good memories shared with your spouse help to restore your love for him.
Seek External Help:
Infidelity is a very serious issue, and if you want to receive help, you must get it from the right people; otherwise, the damage may become greater.
Advice on this regard:
- It is not healthy to ask for advice from family members of some of the spouses, especially if it is a person who tends to be biased.
- It is not healthy to ask for help from people who have already had separations and see all marriages, as something that can break for any reason.
- It’s not healthy to ask for help from people who want to make decisions for the couple.
- If you must seek for a friend’s opinion, it should be a mutual friend who wouldn’t be bias in judgment.
Visiting a counselor is a good idea as it creates an opportunity to share your feelings with an expert. Getting advice from outsiders often require sharing private matters that are not easy to expose to other people, therefore, it is important to know what things are necessary to share with a counselor. Do not share things that might make your spouse uncomfortable.
You can also get some recovery and reconciliation tips by listening to stories of other people’s experiences, watching TV programs, and reading books on forgiveness and reconciliation. There are cases of people who had a happy ending after reconciliation so don’t give up on your marriage yet.