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22 Ways To Survive Infidelity

March 17, 2016

Learn how your relationship can pass even the toughest test.

When someone you love betrays your trust, it can feel like an

insurmountable hurdle. Our experts beg to differ. With a little TLC, it's

completely possible for your relationship to survive infidelity. Here's

how:

1. Practice gratitude. No matter what happened in your marriage,

returning to gratitude will set the groundwork for positive transformation.

If you feel consumed by betrayal and despair, take a moment to focus

on appreciation. Think about everything youappreciate about your mate.

After a few minutes of refocusing in this way, notice what changes

inside you.

2. Fully face your feelings. When you are hurt, you may tend to blame,

run, fight, judge or explain. If you can stop and fully feel

the heartachetenderly, you will be surprised at what is possible. When

you step fully into the sensation in your heart, beyond thought and

explanation, the feeling begins to shift. Note: If you are suffering from a

mental illness or severe emotional disturbance, use this practice only

with the facilitation of a licensed therapist.

3. Clarify your purpose. When hurt, you may tend to think about the

problem. Recycling the problem can escalate the pain. If you can focus

on the solution you seek, you will naturally head toward answers.

4. Develop a deeper level of emotional intimacy in the relationship.

Infidelity is almost never about sex. Rather, it is about intimacy and

unmet needs. To recover or heal a relationship following infidelity, you

must learn how to become more emotionally intimate. This emotional

intimacy comes from spending time together, communicating and

sharing your lives together. In other words, you must take a risk and be

vulnerable. Give your partner a chance to draw close to you.

5. Do things together. Couples that spend time together and have

shared interests recover from infidelity much more quickly and

effectively. Discover or rediscover things that you can do together that

you both enjoy. Keep in mind that not all hobbies or activities are

expensive; there are plenty of things you can do together that do not

cost money.

6. Form a vision of the past and the future. One of the ways that

couples can heal from infidelity is to think back to when they first met or

got married. How did you fall in love? Why did you get married? What

did the relationship look like back then? Now, think about the future you

wanted together... enjoying your golden years of retirement, traveling,

playing with the grandchildren, enjoying family activities. What does that

look like? Develop an image of these things and how nice it can be to

share this with the person you love most — the person you married.

7. Normalize your feelings. You are mad at your partner, but you're

also experiencing painful thoughts about yourself. You wonder who you

are and what you meant to your partner, or if you did anything to cause

this, possibly doubting your attractiveness or self-worth. Reading books

or blogs on the subject might help you see what is normal in reaction to

discovering betrayal.

8. Ask about the things you need to know. How long did this

relationship last? Was it physical/sexual? What was the extent of the

lies that were told in order to conceal it, and how much money was

spent? Is there a risk of an STD or pregnancy?

9. Don't ask about the details you don't need to know. You may

have the urge to push to learn the x-rated details of the

sexual encountersor ask your partner to compare you to the person they

had the affair with. My advice is: don't! Keep the focus on your

relationship, not the affair partner.

10. Postpone final decisions. It might take a long time to figure out

what led to this crisis and where to go from here. Your first impulse is

probably not the wisest. Try to postpone permanent decisions until you

can think more clearly.

11. Ride the initial shock wave. Allow an initial wave of shock, pain,

fear and grief to build and then break, like a wave at the beach. Wait for

this initial phase to pass before you attempt to figure out what to do in

response to your new reality. Impulsive angry actions are likely to make

a bad situation worse.

12. Immunize yourselves. As a couple, use the infidelity to immunize

yourselves against repeat episodes. Looking back at what happened,

identify and write a list of each step down the path to its occurrence.

Then, write out what each of you wish you had done differently at each

step, so that you will stay safe in similar future circumstances.

13. Launch a better-than-ever relationship. Take a relationship

education course that starts by helping you identify the weak areas in

your relationship and then strengthens them for future happiness

together. The stronger your skills for talking together about sensitive

issues are, the less likely you will be to drift apart or to let anger rifts

lead to resentment or fights.

14. Take turns listening even when it hurts. Make appointments for

each of you to just listen to the other. The speaker should speak briefly

and let the listener paraphrase what he or she heard. Often, the listener

will hear only part of what is said. Repeat what was missed, and check

before going on to the next point.

15. Tell the truth, as completely as you can. The unfaithful spouse

can share the thoughts and feelings that led to the choices that were

made. Doing this helps you both understand the underlying problems

you face. The injured spouse can also acknowledge his or her

contribution to creating the circumstances that led to the infidelity.

16. Grieve together. Even if you choose to stay together, something

has been irretrievably lost: your innocent belief that you would be true to

each other and all that implied. Whatever you create from here will be

different, hopefully better, but definitely different. Grieving helps you

give up your past dreams to make room for your future.

17. Recommit yourself to the relationship. Healing together is

difficult, if not impossible, when one person has their foot out the door. If

you want to stay together, act like you mean it. The betrayed partner is

going to feel hurt, angry and emotional. The partner who strayed should

allow this emotionality and validate it as being real by saying things like,

"Of course you are feeling hurt, I messed up." The emotional fallout

from infidelity can take years to heal.

18. Seek professional help. Look for a therapist who specializes in

infidelity. There is a reason why the infidelity happened. Both of you

need help to understand the underlying unmet needs, and how to heal

from the breach in the relationship. If you knew how to fix your

problems, you would have already done it. Instead, allow a professional

to help you build a more mutually satisfying relationship.

19. Build trust. You can do this by having your actions match up with

your words. If you say, "I love you," back it up with loving actions. If you

say, "I want our couple-ship to work," stop all contact with the affair

partner, and stick with it. There is nothing worse for your partner than to

find out you are not being honest.

20. Get out of denial. The person who committed infidelity has to

openly admit their wrong doings. Be truthful, honest and willing to

cooperate with everything your mate requests from you. Decide to fight

for your family and be willing to do whatever is necessary to save

your marriage. This is crucial in trying to rebuild the trust that has been

so badly broken.

21. Get help. Each partner must commit to couple and individual

counseling. Look for a counselor who administers both practical and

spiritual guidance. Without both aspects, it's impossible to heal and

restore your marriage. Seek God's help and allow His standard of what

is right and wrong to direct you and your mate during the healing

process.

22. Start fresh. Pray together, forgive one another and allow each other

time to heal in your own individual time. Let go of old thoughts,

behaviors and anything that triggers a thirst for infidelity. Replace them

with anything and anyone that encourages you to be committed,

honorable and faithful in your marriage. Seek new couple relationships

with those who have been married for a long period of time and can

share what makes their marriage work successfully.

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