One of the most difficult questions in how to survive infidelity, after the initial shock, isn’t making the choice to work on you marriage, but rather to learn to trust your spouse again. There are some things that you can do to rebuild the trust, restore the relationship with your partner and save your marriage.
Get Everything Out in the Open
It can be difficult to discuss the affair but it’s important that you and your spouse discuss as much as you are comfortable learning. Even if it’s hard, you need to hear from your spouse why they think the affair occurred. This isn’t to say that they should make excuses for their behavior or place the blame on you. But, when the affair happened, what was your spouse thinking, before, during and after they cheated? Were they lonely, bored, or was it just a one-time situational thing?
Understanding your spouse’s reasons, not excuses, can go far in helping the two of you to rebuild the trust back up in your marriage so that it can survive infidelity. While on one hand it’s commonly thought that there is no reason for infidelity, the truth is, most of the time almost every problem within a marriage takes two. It’s going to take both of you to work on building trust again too and it starts with an honest assessment of your marriage before, during and after the infidelity.
Ensure That the Affair is Over and Done With
It may be really difficult, but if it was an actual affair it will help you to learn to trust again if you are able to know for sure that the affair was ended. Hearing your spouse end the affair in no uncertain terms can go far in helping your mind accept that it really is over. Your spouse may not want to do it this way, but to move forward in the marriage you have a right to reassurances. You don’t have to be cruel to the other party involved because you do not know their situation, but you can listen in on the break up.
If the affair happened with a co-worker, your spouse needs to be willing to be transferred or seriously work on finding another job. You have to be realistic but ensure that your spouse takes this seriously as much as it is financially feasible. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to learn to trust again after the betrayal. Knowing for sure that the situation is over, and that it can’t happen again is one of the clearest answers in how to survive infidelity and move forward.
Spend Time With Each Other
Many times, an affair is a symptom of other issues within the marriage such as communication problems, or simply not spending enough time together. Once you’ve made the choice together to work on your marriage, re-prioritize your marriage by making a point to spend as much time together as possible. Take the time to realign in terms of religion, money, sex, children and the other things that you both believe to be important about life.
You can only do this if you spend time together. For now, shoot for 20 to 30 minutes each day to be engaged in meaningful conversation with each other. If work schedules permit, go to bed together each night and get up in the morning together. Even if you are not ready to resume normal sexual relations with your spouse this act of lying down with each other, and talking to each other, and being together will go far in helping you learn to trust again.
Find New Activities to do Together
Go to cooking classes together, take painting course, work out, and learn to line dance. Find something that you and your spouse will like learning together that is outside of something you do now. It can also be something you used to do together but stopped doing when life got too busy or tough. The point is find time once a week to go on a date with each other doing something that brings you closer together that doesn’t involve looking at a screen, or having to worry about other people.
The only way to remember why you got married to each other is to date your spouse. Each of you can take turns planning a different date each week, or you can schedule the same date each week. It does not matter as long as it’s something you both want to do and doesn’t impede the ability to talk, look at each other, and get to know each other again.
Put the Marriage First
Right now you might not actually feel particularly loving toward your spouse who cheated. But the best way toward surviving infidelity and learning to trust your cheating spouse again is to put the marriage above your anger right now. It’s okay to be angry, and it’s completely natural to be hurt, but if your marriage is going to survive the infidelity, you and your spouse will need to put the contract you made with each other first.
Sometimes it’s easy to get tied up with being “right” and “winning” arguments, but the truth is this can end up being a real communication killer. While your cheating spouse did make a choice to cheat, and one you had no control over, right now you both have a choice to move forward or not move forward. If you and your spouse are going to make the choice to move forward and save your marriage, you might have to get down to the vows and legality of your marriage and simply agreeing to value that ideal right now, even if it’s imperfect.
With some work learning how to survive infidelity and trust your cheating spouse again involves a lot of introspection and hard work. But, if both spouses are serious about making it work many marriages come out stronger than before the infidelity happened.