Is there really happiness after infidelity?
There are no hard and fast rules to follow when it comes to healing after having your heart broken by the person you love most.
They key ingredient to be able to successfully overcome this difficult moment is to learn how to forgive.
It is hard to swallow your pride. But always remember that there is a price in giving.
Let this mantra serve as a guide to you:
“In the name of Love, I hereby forgive you and wish you peace. May you know that you are loved.”
One quote by Soren Kierkegaard could best describe it all: “To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity”.
The discovery of an affair will strike you with shock, surprise, anger, resentment and numbness.
These negative emotions are normal because any person who has learned about his or her partner’s cheating will enrage and infuriate any one.
No matter what way you choose to react, you have to deal with the fact that cheating did happen behind your back, without you having the slightest inclination.
You will suddenly find yourself lost as you are caught off guard.
You never thought this could actually happen to you.
So when it does smacks in front of your face, what should you do to accept this heartbreaking truth and how will you be able pardon it?
There are is no order in the hierarchy of mistakes.
We should always learn to accept that things happen for a reason and we just have to accept and move on.
Let’s hope that you can endure the long and painful this process by following these guidelines:
1. Let your emotions flow.
It is no doubt that you are in the most excruciating pain right now.
The feelings of shock, anxiety, devastation, anguish, sorrow, hurt and wretched feelings of betrayal will attack you after you have learned that your partner is cheating on you.
You will feel like someone has punched you in the head or pulled your legs out from under you. You are torn between of not being able to believe it and being angry at the reality of it.
It is expected that you will be annoyed and hopping mad when you learn about infidelity.
You will also have a fear that this feeling will drag on forever and will never be able to accept it and move on.
And even if you want to save your marriage or relationship more than anything else, you know that deep in your heart you are afraid that once you open yourself up again, you will let yourself be exposed to more danger, and that cheating may one day happen again.
It is almost impossible to believe that these very strong feelings will one day get better, just believe.
The very first thing to do when you learn that your partner has been cheating on you is to release all your emotions out of your system.
Holding on to your feelings will only make you feel worse and cause a huge amount of stress, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Once you have let go of your immediate reaction, you can start thinking more slowly and rationally, and be able to digest the awful truth.
You will start to carefully examine your relationship, wondering where it went wrong and if it was ever as splendid as you claimed it to be in the first place.
You will generate a marathon of questions that have been left unanswered and you start feeling that they will remain unresolved for a long time.
You just have to reassure yourself that this feeling will soon pass and everything will be settled in time, but first things first, let go of all your emotions.
The hardest thing to deal with regarding an affair is balancing your emotions.
One day you may begin to be amenable to your partner, and then a few hours later you will think about him/her and the other man/woman and you will become furious again and you just want them out of your sight.
This is of course frustrating to both you and your partner.
In some days you will feel like you are ready to move forward and forget about the whole cheating incident, but then the next day you will wonder if you are really prepared for that.
Then, you will contemplate, feel guilty and start to wonder if your sudden outburst will drive your partner away again. You have to understand that these feelings are completely normal.
Everyone goes through the same process.
It is perfectly alright to tell your cheating partner that you are still struggling and it is not easy. However, this may take a long time to overcome.
You both have to learn to develop patience and be able to sort-out your emotions.
Tell him that your partner that you don’t mean to shut him/her out or you’re doing it on purpose, but truth is, you have to deal with these feelings.
In most cases, one of the main reasons why the relationship or marriage do not work after infidelity is because the aggrieved partner is not ready to move on, and live in the shadow of doubt.
He or she starts to think things like: “Was I not pretty or handsome enough? Young enough? Exciting enough? Wasn’t I good enough for you?”
This kind of self-talk is poison and you really have to spit it out of your system. Learn to face the truth and handle it as matured individuals.
2. Consider the sincerity of the cheating partners when they ask for reconciliation.
Relationships are like fat people, they have to work-out. A cheating spouse or partner who is remorseful about his infidelity will go to you and ask for pardon. You cannot go to them.
Let them to come to you and ask for forgiveness.
Once they realize the gravity of the mistake they have done, you have to be sure it will not happen again.
Give your spouse or partner a chance to prove himself and learn to forgive. If you know your partners/spouses well enough, you can account for their future actions.
You will probably not be able to reassure yourself that this will happen only once in your life.
However, if you truly love the person and you want to work-out your marriage or relationship, you will find it in your heart to forgive him/her and accept the sincere apology.
If you can get past all that, you can start building your trust and confidence in each other, but this will take time.
3. Know what is at stake.
The next step to consider and evaluate is what is at stake should you decide to end the relationship.
What are the consequences if you decide to accept the cheating spouse/partner?
What kind of a life did build together before the infidelity?
What does it mean to you?
What will be the effect on the children?
What will happen to your business and material wealth?
What will you lose if you call it quits?
These are the questions that only you can answer. Is the money, the marriage, or the children worth a lifetime of being cheated on? You decide.
If the marriage is one of convenience, you will not really care where your spouse sleeps or if he/she doesn’t come home at night.
It is going to be less painful to forgive them, unless he/she is your one true love because your emotional health is at risk due to extreme anger and mental torture.
There are several reasons to choose not to forgive and forget.
But what if you have shared a long happy and meaningful life together and your partner is an excellent parent to your children?
You will start blaming yourself for the infidelity because you feel you are not a good wife/husband.
Just because truly in your heart, you want to forgive them, it does not mean that you can forgive them easily.
How do you forgive and forget? The Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek, but how? How do you do it?
There is an enormous difference between saying, “I forgive you” without meaning and saying, “I forgive you” by saying it sincerely and whole-heartedly.
The vital key to sincere forgiveness is acceptance. Second important ingredient is trust.
At some level you have to really believe deep in your heart that you can trust this person again.
If you do not really have faith in your partner, then you are not really ready to forgive. The growing resentment will consume whatever is left of the foundation of your relationship.
The sincerity of their apology and their willingness to change and win back your trust will have a direct impact on your healing process.
If they demand that you just trust them on their word without making an effort, then you have no reason to stay with them.
It was never your fault that they damaged the trust in the first place. You cannot force yourself to give back the trust once it has been broken.
It is their task to rebuild it and they have to find their way back in the relationship.
4. You must give yourself a permission to heal.
You must first learn to forgive your cheating partner and accept that it has happened. The next step is to acknowledge the mistake. Then give yourself an opportunity to heal.
It is painful to know that your partner cheated behind your back, but there is nothing else you can do but to accept it, if you still want to work-out your relationship.
Deception, betrayal and infidelity can hurt anyone and you are not an exception. You don’t have to be in denial.
Give yourself an allowance to digest the pain gnawing you and after you have licked your wounds, healing will certainly follow if you forgive wholeheartedly.
It is in true forgiveness that you will be happy.
5. You must be willing to let go of the painful experience.
At first, it is difficult to accept that cheating took place because you thought the relationship was going smoothly and that everything is in place.
It will also serve as a way of meditation and re-assessment of one’s self to see it he or she has been a good partner or spouse.
Often times, the cheater engages in these kinds of kept relationships because they are unhappy with their partners.
It will also serve as a wake-up call to resolve issues and settle the problems in the relationship.
It is hard to be in denial but soon you will realize that all is well that ends well, only if you learn to accept and move on.
6. You must change your emotional response.
Once your emotions have been conveyed and sorted out, it is important to remember to not give the illicit affair more power over your life.
Truly, the ugly effects of the clandestine affair are not worth your time even though it feels like the end of the world.
It is a fact that your world does not revolve in your marriage or relationship. Look at the brighter side of life.
Understand that your partner’s affair has nothing to do with his or her love for you, nor does it make you the cause of the failure of the relationship.
What the affair does remind you is that there are important issues that need to be addressed and fixed.
It is but natural to be infuriated and unable to peacefully discuss this with your partner, so let him or her know that you are willing to sort-out your problems and find solutions to resolve them.
However, avoid getting violent and change your emotional response of being upset and furious all the time.
Let him or her know that you are severely hurt and suffering that they chose an affair as a means to deal with the problems in your relationship and you are taking your time to settle down before confronting the infidelity issue.
At best, this experience will help you understand the motive or intention of the cheater and prevent it from happening again; and help you recover from the trauma of an unfaithful partner.
More than anything else, it will also target to repair the damage caused by infidelity.
It will help you understand why your partner cheated and if he/she and do not has a valid reason to go astray.
It will provide you a better understanding of your current partner so that cheating will be avoided.
It will reinforce your present relationship so that you and your partner will be more bonded and stay stronger, or may also be useful for the new relationships you might have in the future.
7. Make an effort to be strong and confront the issue.
When you are ready the finally face your cheating partner and settle the issue calmly as possible?
It will be hard to concentrate on the discussion if you keep on torturing yourself with visual thoughts of the cheating act done by your partner.
You should make an effort to be strong and avoid the irrelevant painful thoughts that will hurt you and get your relationship back on its track.
You already know what goes on when two people are intimate with each other, so spare yourself the details to avoid being more hurt.
The focus is to discover and create the reasons for the affair and find ways on how you can move on with your lives together, now that you protected your relationship from future temptations.
Open communication and healthy discussion will play a vital role on your road towards recovery. So be sure to ask the right questions, listen intently and try to understand with an open mind.
Learn to cooperate in finding suitable solutions on how to prevent the same event from happening in the future.
8. You must learn to accept.
The first thing to do when you find out that your partner has been cheating is to accept that it happened.
After acceptance, comes forgiveness. Make sure you understand the purpose of forgiveness.
The purpose of forgiveness is to regain personal peace. The fact is that most people who we do not forgive have already moved on in their lives.
Once the issue has been resolved and apologies have been accepted, you cannot bring up the same issue again.
Remember that forgiving someone for a cause exists for the purpose of putting down the burden that we carried when we were wronged.
If you sincerely accept your partner’s apology, there is no reason to relive the pain and struggle you had to go through.
Healing starts when you assure yourself you can live with the knowledge of your partner’s dishonesty and betrayal before you can continue with the relationship.
Nobody one expects you to forget right away, but you must have enough courage to be willing to forgive. Otherwise, your relationship may turn into a violent cycle of mistrust, revenge, reprisal and unspoken hatred.
If you say you are willing to forgive, you should mean it.
However, before you do that, make sure that your partner understands the kind of irreparable damage they have committed against you.
“While you may never actually forget”, as the saying teaches us, part of forgiveness is choosing not to bear the memory of hurt.
If you choose to forgive, you are also giving up all the claims or rights to win arguments in the future by stating on record of previous wrongdoing.
Start with a clean slate. Never attempt to bring up his infidelity and try to keep your mouth closed.
Learn to deal with pain, overcome it and then move on. It is perfectly logical to nurse a broken heart and be given time to heal.
9. Start by doing small acts of forgiveness.
Learn to do small acts of forgiveness. You don’t have to dive right in and set an ultimatum of all or nothing.
Start with doing simple acts of forgiveness and work your way up to completely forgiving your partner over cheating.
Surely he/she has done some things along the way that have driven you nuts or for which you are currently holding a grudge.
Learn to forgive by forgiving those little things that pile up and learn to let them go.
After you have confronted the issue, let us assume that you have decided that your partner has the ability to be faithful and this was a one-time indiscretion. You now need to forgive him or her.
Motivation is more important than the act itself. You should be able to pick-up the pieces of your broken relationship and start anew.
If you know the reasons why they cheated, then it is possible to avoid repeating the same triggers in the future
You also have to realize that you may as well have pushed your partner into finding love elsewhere.
Each person is a love hungry specie. “Love makes the whole world round as the song goes.”
Our spirits will die when we do not feel we are loved. And then the body will follow.
When we cannot get the love and affection from our spouse or partner, tendency is we get attracted to somebody else who can fill in what’s missing.
It’s a way of us to seek love. Be able to identify what caused the infidelity.
If you can without no doubt say that yes you were completely loving, nurturing and supportive, but still they cheated anyway, then you may want to consider walking away from the relationship.
If deep in your heart you believe that you are in a way a reason why your spouse or you partner cheated, and you can truly see it as a valid reason, then you must learn to forgive them.
If you are choosing to stay with your spouse or partner, choose love over vengeance or reparation. Love is not just a feeling of fondness, although we often use the word to represent it as such.
Love is a conscious decision to do whatever will be for the best interest of the other person, setting aside your personal interest. While everyone thinks that they would never cheat on their spouse or partner, the fact remains that no one is totally immune to infidelity.
Forgiveness requires acceptance, grace and love.
You are never required to forget an affair, but forgiving an affair is a gift that you give to yourself because it is a liberation from all hurt and pain your heart.
Forgiving a cheating spouse or partner is not letting them off the hook easily or giving in to his alibis.
It does not mean you are being a door mat, but instead it is a decision that you are willing to give yourself the gift of letting go all of these harmful feelings for your own welfare.
You are choosing to free yourself from the noxious feelings that prevent you from moving forward. Understanding why your husband cheated will make forgiving easier to do.
Forgiving is knowing that you can handle the problem maturely so that you don’t have to hold onto these emotions like the anchor that will pull you down.
It will not be easy, it is not like a walk in the park.
You cannot wake up one day and just forget and forgive an affair, with a joint effort of you and your partner, your marriage and relationship will become better.
Choosing the gift of forgiveness for yourself will one day make this affair appear like any other crisis situation any marriage or relationship have to go through, just like the death of your parents or one spouse/partner losing their jobs.
It is dreadful, painful, and stressful and you never want to repeat it, but together, you can get over it, learn from it, and you will emerge stronger persons in the end.
10. Let your partner earn your trust in order for you to be able to forgive completely.
The cheating partners need to be sorry and remorseful for result of his/her actions. They must understand sense of gravity and damage brought about by of this mistake.
In most cases, men are truly sorry that they have hurt their wives.
I have heard so many wives say “he’s not really sorry about the affair, he’s only sorry he got caught.” I’m not sure that is true.
Married people who cheated generally have empathy for their spouse and would not want to purposefully cause them distraught and pain.
But in the case of most spouses or partners are honest enough and will tell you the affair was the result of the perception that they were not physically, emotionally and sexually satisfied.
But, this is not entirely true. Trust is a very vital ingredient in any relationship. The foundation of the relationship or marriage will depend on how you value the trust of your partner.
Once you are confronted with the issue of cheating, you have to prepare yourself to forgive and not be too trusting right away. Before you can trust your spouse of partner again, he or she should be able to disclose all the facts and circumstances to you.
It is not that you want to antagonize yourself, but it will help settle the issues directly. Many of us cannot handle full disclosure when the feelings of pain, shock and agony are still raw.
But it is still best to face the situation the soonest time possible. You need to understand why your partner did it and he or she needs to be honest enough to tell you the truth.
Now, some aggrieved partners would rather not know the details of the infidelity, and while this is understandable at first, not being honest and putting this into the light will only allow it to worsen.
A cheating partner needs to give his/her spouse access to his/her whereabouts and offer reassurance early in the healing process.
It’s understandable that you will need reassurance shortly after you learn about the affair.
Of course, over time this need should diminish a bit, but in the beginning, the partner should be very open to your knowing where he/she is.
After an affair, both husband and wife eventually, or the boyfriend and the girlfriend need to be open to the idea that the affair is a catalyst to make you’re their relationship stronger.
11. Find back the lost love
To avoid getting caught up into the past, the couple must set their minds and hearts on creating new memories together. The affair is already a closed book and should not be discussed anymore.
Exploring new happiness and new beginnings will help your relationship mend and move on successfully. Start to go out dates, get romantic and become better friends than before.
Share each other’s fears and expectations. Keep in mind that nobody is perfect and we all deserve to be forgiven for our mistakes.
Also put yourself in your partner’s shoes and you will be able to better empathize with them once you understand the regret, pain and agony they are going through.
He or she knew it was wrong to do before they committed the mistake, but they probably felt it was their only way to cope with their troubles during that time.
You should start to work as a team and be each other’s strength in putting the past behind you, looking at it as a learning experience in which will guide you in making your relationship affair-proof from this point onwards.
The way to fix the broken marriage or relationship is to talk things over. Begin mending the relationship. It is like going back to square one.
Make sure the conditions and circumstances that may have caused or allowed for the betrayal to happen in the first place have been thrown-out of the relationship.
For example, the person who your partner cheated with has to be out of the picture. No friendship, no once-in-awhile gatherings, no phone calls, no contact at all.
Anger, as well as other emotions, will arise while you and your partner attempt to resolve things for the better.
You may blow up during serious and deep talks because your mind will re-fresh your memory of how your partner had the guts to betray you and how stupid, hurt and disrespected it made you feel.
Your partner may also become exasperated if you resort to continuous blame and fight over the affair, particularly if they took the initiative to sincerely confess and also genuinely apologized to you.
Before you bring up any conversations about the affair, make sure that your partner and you agree not to become too emotional and violent.
You must not allow your negative emotions control you. Take a deep breath and be prepared to sort thing us by talking to him or her. Open up your heart and let go of all your anxieties and heartaches.
This will help you release some of the pain bottled up inside you. You both should give each other enough time for recovery because it is a long and painful process to get past the emotional outbursts.
If things start getting out of control and you find yourselves only yelling and blaming instead, end the conversation and give each other some space. You may need to do several talks until you can talk peacefully and calmly.
Always take it one step at a time because after all, if you and your partner have made a decision to make things right, it is better to take it slowly but surely.
13. Rebuild the trust in the relationship
After you and your partner get all your feelings and emotions out in the open, you begin to understand the root cause of the affair.
The next thing to do is to concentrate on re-building the trust and learn to forgive once and for all.
Forgiving your partner does not mean you will completely forget what happened, but it will mean that you have accepted what the infidelity and that you are ready to move forward without bringing the past into your future as a couple.
It will be a challenge for you to blindly trust your partner again, but both of you must make a conscious effort to start anew.
Your trust will strengthen as time goes by, giving your partner a chance to rectify his or her past mistakes.
You do not have to be on guard and monitor him or her 24 hours a day. It is a sign of distrust.
Do not expect things to dramatically improve overnight. Otherwise, you will end up getting disappointed.
Re-building the trust, passion, love, strength and openness in your relationship will take a reasonable amount of time.
It could even sometimes require going through counselling to see what the experts have to say if you feel you cannot straighten things out on your own.
The moral damage caused by the cheating partner with an illicit relationship is so grave and it cannot be fixed overnight.
The emotional trauma in the form of sleepless nights, wounded feelings, moral shock, mental anguish and besmirched reputation is not that easy to forget.
Trust in a relationship is important. Once it’s broken, it is hard to rebuild it again.
It has to be earned by through hard work and acts of love and sincerity. It is the obligation of the cheating partner to win back the love and trust of the one person he/she loves.
14. Rebuild your self-esteem
Re-building your self-esteem will help you eventually forgive the affair as well. Being betrayed can do great damage to the way you feel about and look at yourself.
You may also feel physically less attractive and not deserving enough both emotionally and spiritually.
Get in touch with yourself and stop focusing on your insecurities by finding ways to replenish your inner strengths.
Always remind yourself that an affair does not change the wonderful person in you and you are just as attractive, beautiful, desirable, smart, intelligent and respectable as ever.
Marital infidelity is one of the most disheartening moment in one’s life. It is the most serious problem which can cause a marriage or a relationship to break.
Often times the object of our cheating spouse’s or partner’s affection is what we would consider to be below our standards.
It leaves us marvelling about our partner’s judgment, and is followed up by making us wonder if it is still worth-keeping the relationship.
It is not simply the infidelity that breaks a sacred promise of two people to love each other faithfully and unconditionally.
We are then left to answer the question why our spouse or partner has given his love to another.
We are then left with only two choices. Either we stay with him or her or simply walk away from the relationship.
In either way though, we are expected to move forward and learn to forgive.
Cheating is the worst offense that can ruin any relationship.
It destroys long-term relationships and marriages. Infidelity can happen to anyone, even to the most unlikely people, in the most unlikely places you can ever imagine.
This experience will be considered as a test in the relationship. Things between you and your partner will never be the same again, but with a little work, it can still be good.
You have to find common ground, strengthen the love that remains and support one another in every way possible, and bravely face the challenges together.
Lastly, here is a quote from Ernest Hemingway which can help you move forward: “Forget your personal tragedy.
We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously.
But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it.”