Whether you were cheated on, or you did the cheating, if you’re going to stay together you will both need help dealing with infidelity and to learn how to deal with post-affair triggers. Triggers are situations that cause emotional feelings and memories to flood back to the victim.
Both the victim of infidelity and the perpetrator can help to control and get through triggering events if you’re both prepared that they will happen and what to do to avoid them and work through them.
Dealing with Your Spouse’s Triggers
If you are the one who cheated then it’s important to be aware of behaviors that you may have that can trigger your spouse. These might be things such as being late, hiding your mobile phone, quickly closing your computer screen when your spouse walks in the door or hang up phone calls.
Your spouse’s trust has been shaken to the core, and it will take time to rebuild it. As the spouse who cheated, it is your responsibility to understand the actions that you make that might trigger them and avoid them.
Answer your spouse’s questions – When your spouse has a question about your whereabouts, or actions, do not dodge them or feel attacked. Calmly answer the questions.
Your job for the foreseeable future is to rebuild the trust and the only way you can do that is for your spouse to see you as being very open and cooperative regarding actions that might hurt them.
Avoid being late – If you say you’re going to be someplace, be there. Don’t go someplace else or let down your spouse without calling and being truly open and honest about where you are and what you’re doing.
Understand that excuses of working late, even if you really do have to work late, are going to trigger their feelings of distrust. Do what you can to show them that you’re really at work, and really doing what you say you are.
Ask your spouse what to do – Talk to your spouse about potential triggers and let them know you’re willing to do what it takes to limit and avoid any of the triggers that might exist.
Even if that requires you to look for and find a new job, you’re willing to do it to avoid your spouse feeling off balance in their lives.
Finally, it’s important to accept that due to your affair, some people will now be off limits to you. Both of you may lose friends in this process of getting back together – especially the one who committed the adultery.
You may have to give up buddies or girlfriends who your spouse sees as a problem especially if they knew and supported your infidelity.
Dealing With Your Own Triggers
If your spouse cheated on you, there will be things that happen in the course of living that bring back those awful memories. But, it’s important to note that this is common, and that you can work toward building trust again and moving past these issues.
Your spouse will be able to have freedom again without your worrying about being hurt again, if you both work on the issues that may have existed prior to the affair as well as the triggers.
Tell your spouse what triggers you – Be honest with your spouse about what potential triggers may exist that cause you a lot of pain. This might be that they work with the person they had an affair with, or working late without proof, or going out with their friends without you.
As the spouse who was cheated on, you have a right to ask for concessions. If your spouse is serious about getting back together they will comply with your demands.
Let your spouse earn back trust – If you are distrustful going forward, forever – your marriage doesn’t have a chance. Set a time limit for yourself to question everything and let your spouse prove to you that they aren’t going to do it again. If you two work through the issues, it’s not likely to happen again.
Don’t become abusive – Whether you’re a man or a woman, once you have found out your spouse cheated a primal type of response can come out of you of which you didn’t know you were capable.
It’s important that if you expect your marriage to work that your demands do not become abusive in nature either mentally or physically. Finally, as the spouse who was betrayed you have a right to ask your spouse to get counseling and jump through a few other hoops if they really want to get back together.
It is very important that you do ask for what you need without being abusive about it. This is a good place to use a counselor as a mediator to help you and your spouse work out a new marriage contract moving forward in the marriage.
This is Normal
Triggers are a normal part of the aftermath of infidelity. Dealing with triggers and learning what to do about them is an important component to ensure the future success of your marriage that needs to be dealt with together.
Keep the lines of communication open, don’t hold back, talk a lot, even until you feel like it’s too much talking because that’s what’s going to see your marriage through this rough time and on to better times.
It’s easy to want to have it over with today, and just bury it and move on, but the fact is, to have a successful marriage that lasts for life requires concessions on both sides, but at the same time it also requires the utmost trust of your partner to put your needs ahead of their own. If you can both do that, you can rebuild the trust and create fidelity in your marriage again.