Many people who are going through infidelity think that they’ll never survive the ordeal. But, healing from cheating is entirely possible if you know where to place your efforts. If you follow these 7 steps, and really put everything you have into it because your marriage means that much to you, then healing from infidelity will happen and your marriage might even come out stronger than ever.
Step #1: End the Cheating Relationship Fully
The number one step is that the cheating relationship has to end. Not only should the relationship end but all contact with the person needs to end too. This is true even if the adulterers work together. Now this might take more time than you want it to, but know that is what you have to work toward.
There is no reason that the innocent party to the affair should have to worry about knowing their spouse is with the person they cheated with. That is too hard to do. If you’re the one who cheated realize that even though you know you’re not going to do it again, you have to prove it to your spouse over time, a lot of time.
Put yourself in their shoes and realize how you’d feel if your spouse was spending time daily with the person they cheated with. It might be different if it was a one-night stand, but if it was a real relationship it will be even harder. So, you will need to work toward letting go of that relationship in full by getting a new job if necessary.
While that won’t happen overnight, at least show your spouse you’re doing it by talking about the jobs you’re applying for and asking for assistance practicing for interviews; help to update your resume and to keep track of appointments.
For the spouse who was cheated on — be patient. If your spouse is doing all they can to make a change, that’s really all you can ask for in the long run. At the end of the day, it may be very difficult to find another job depending on a variety of factors such as the economy, education, experience, age and more.
Step #2: Let Go of Resentments
This one can be hard to do. And believe it or not, there is resentment on both sides of the equation but the one who feels the most resentment is the one who has the most work to do. Sometimes people hold on to resentments due to not allowing themselves to forgive people for their transgressions. But, for true healing from cheating to occur, you’ll need to let it go and forgive.
When you find yourself ruminating on thoughts that make you upset, cause stress, anxiety and are rooted in resentment try turning those thoughts around by consciously thinking of something else or actually doing something else. For example, if it happens as you’re falling asleep try reading a positive book before bed.
Another thing that works to turn resentment around is to give yourself a certain amount of time. For example, give yourself five minutes per day to think negatively, and then turn the thoughts around. It can help to write those negative thoughts down so that you can see it on paper, then one by one mark them out and replace them with positive thoughts and affirmations.
Finally, it’s important to practice forgiveness. Often resentments occur when forgiveness hasn’t really been complete. If you’re still struggling with resentment, look at how well you’ve forgiven not only your partner but yourself for anything that has gone wrong in your marriage.
Step #3: Focus On the Good in Your Relationship
Even though an affair happened, healing from it can occur if you can find a way to focus on the good in your relationship. Usually, there are lots of great things about the relationship before, during and after cheating. It’s a myth that cheating only happens in bad relationships. It’s just not true. Often, when people cheat it’s more about what’s missing in them than their marriage.
Every single morning spend at least 10 minutes doing something happy together such as enjoying coffee, cuddling in bed, or just hugging. It’s up to you what you do but you should leave for work feeling happy and positive. Scientifically, the fact is, if you kiss your spouse every single day, deeply, you can ensure a better biological connection.
At least once during the day, send your spouse a positive text message or, if you can take the time, share a quick loving phone call. Hearing your spouse’s voice every day during the work day can do wonders for your confidence and happiness. Healing from an affair requires that you and your spouse show your love for each other in big and small ways.
In the evening, always find some time together to enjoy quiet. Turn off the news, turn off the technology, and spend time just being together. Play a game, read poetry to each other, discuss your future. But, during this time don’t talk about the affair. Set aside very specific times to discuss the affair so that it is not the main focus of your life together.
Step #4: Practice Doing Things Together That Elicit Good Feelings
When you were dating, you sought activities to do together that were fun. You probably went to movies, dances, games, and parties with friends and more. Start doing all of that again. At least weekly have a date night, and at least monthly get together with your friends, and then if you live near family get with them each month too. The reason is that when you spend a lot of time as a couple with others it reinforces your togetherness.
Some great ideas to do together if you’re not sure are things like a painting class, cooking class, interactive theater, miniature golf, hiking and more. Do things that require interaction, speaking, touching, and laughter. The more things that you can do together that bring you joy, the better you can strengthen your relationship and healing won’t be as difficult for you to accomplish.
Step #5: Focus On Yourself
This may seem counterproductive, but it’s just like when you take a flight and the flight attendant tells you that if your oxygen mask is released, put yours on first, then help others, including your children. If you aren’t healthy, it will be hard for you to care for others. When you are working on recovering take time out for yourself and focus on your needs.
Embark on a plan to fix anything about yourself that has bothered you for years and you’ve done nothing about. Need to get healthier, then get a plan and go for it. If you wanted to go back to college, do it. Do not put things off that are healthy for you for the sake of your spouse. It just never works, builds resentments, and causes problems in the marriage. As a spouse, support your spouse on their improvement measures. Don’t get in their way, be supportive, and understand that being better will make your marriage better.
Step #6: Practice Extreme Communication
This one is so hard but so important. When you see the words “extreme communication” you’re likely thinking about telling your spouse that they are fat or something. No, this is not what that means. This has to do with your feelings and your needs. Always tell your spouse how you feel using “I” statements without blaming them.
“I feel sad when I think about your affair.” Is much different from saying “You make me sad.” Or worse “I hate you.” Always try to be cognizant of the fact that you want to improve your relationship not make it worse. Therefore, your honesty should be directed toward the good of the relationship and help each other make it work, not on hurting each other.
So, when your spouse misses you for lunch, tell them how it makes you feel. If they were the cheater you’ll need to explain that it makes you feel off balance and nervous about where they stand with the marriage. Being late or not showing up is the real thing you need, to be honest about how it makes you feel and not use it as a reason to shut down. Healing after an affair requires a lot of communication and honesty.
Step #7: Start Something New Together
Healing from cheating is not something that is a fantasy. It can happen. You just have to be committed to the process. Now that you’re starting anew, why not do something to signify the new relationship that you’re trying to build? There are a lot of new things you can do to make everything new again.
Get a new house, or refurbish your own. Get a puppy together, or a cat. Start a new hobby together. If you’ve always wanted to spend your weekends hiking or biking, now is the time to make it a reality together. The more time you spend together the stronger your relationship will become.
You can make recovering from an affair a happy time in your marriage if you work toward it and follow these seven steps to putting an end to the misery of cheating so that you can get real healing.