Something devastating happened last night. You discovered that your spouse was cheating on you. What do you do? Are you going to throw his things over the window and never let him enter the house? Maybe you thought about calling your psychiatrist or psychologist friends and ask for support and advice. Or would you gather all the hope that’s left inside you and give him another chance?
Some people opt for an immediate breakup the moment they find out that their partners are cheating on them. Yet for others, they linger on their love and still try to weigh the circumstances before deciding whether or not they will forgive and forget. But the bottom line is that one very vital foundation has been broken: trust. How do you build that all over again? As Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. said, “It can be hard to forgive, especially if your partner has broken the most solemn of their marriage vows.”
Perhaps you will never know how difficult, depressing, and stressful it is to learn that your spouse has an affair, which is why forgiving is as difficult to give. However, it is vital to keep in mind that although you have forgiven your spouse, there is no complete guarantee that he will not and will never cheat again. He is the only one who can make that choice, and you can’t control what his decision might be. But YOU, on the other hand, have the choice to trust or not trust him again. Of course, trust can be rebuilt. The effort is tremendous, and it will have to take both of you to commit to working together and repairing the relationship.
Once you’ve decided to forgive and focus on healing, read, and try to follow these tips to help you head in the right direction.
Be A-Team. There might some hatred and bitterness within you when you glance at your spouse, but you promised to work it out, so you must set these ill feelings aside. Instead, strive to build a strong team, you and your spouse. Start with planning the chores together, and then schedule a date or alone-time because you know you need it. If you can’t possibly avoid an argument, remember to talk about the present and not bring up the past. “Finding the place where forgiveness is beneficial can be a delicate process, and patience, with both the self and with one’s partner, is more likely to aid recovery than forcing the process.” – Deidre A. Prewitt, MSMFC, LPC.
Be Open To Each Other. Talking, even arguing, is healthy for a relationship. It allows you to learn more about each other. When you have a discussion, you can know the things that you in disagreement with, and the things that you can agree on. It encourages you to be honest with each other, even when you sometimes feel angry for what he did. Maybe it’ll feel better if you tell him straight.
Trust In Yourself. This is the hardest yet most crucial thing to fulfill, trusting yourself. It won’t be easy, as you will be confronted with questions to yourself. “Was I wrong to forgive him? Why didn’t I see this coming? Is there anything wrong with me? Am I not enough?” But as you slowly learn to trust on your instincts again, to listen to what your inner self is telling you, and be aware of your emotions, you’ll be doing fine as you move forward. Only then will you begin to have a peaceful and harmonious relationship with anyone. If your instinct tells you that it isn’t right, think again.
If You Are The Cheating Spouse
After having acknowledged that you made the mistake of having an affair, you have asked for forgiveness, and it was given to you. Now, you have decided to give it another try. Here are some things you need to remember.
Own It. Take responsibility for what you did and understand and be patient with your partner if she withholds some feelings or emotions from you. You hurt her, and it’s only natural that she takes it to step by step. Do the same. She will want to know why you did it, and you’ll have to be honest with her – that’s if you’re going to save your relationship. According to psychotherapist Abby Rodman, “It’s a reminder to both of you that your relationship is precious — and that neither one of you would ever do anything to recreate such a painful time.”
Do What You Say. Your spouse is trying to build trust again, so you’ll have to keep the promises this time. Change for the better and show her that you’re worth a second chance.
Give Your Spouse Space. She’s feeling angry, depressed, and very hurt because of what you did. Remember that she has every right to express how she feels. You may sometimes feel that things aren’t going toward the right path, but give it time. Give her time and space. You both deserve some privacy – your spouse to not feel bad, and you to think of ways to win back her trust.