Infidelity is one of the hardest marriage crises to recover from and one of the leading causes of divorce. Interestingly, most couples who divorce because of an affair or cheating don’t divorce until quite some time after it happened. This would lead you to believe that they tried to heal from the infidelity but just didn’t make it.
We’ve talked with and learned from a lot of couples who have rebuilt their marriages after infidelity.
We’ve seen them make mistakes and we’ve seen them do things that made their marriages even better than they were before the infidelity. If you need to get over infidelity and save your marriage after an affair, we have some advice we want to share with you.
1. Be patient.
For the spouse who cheated: Understand that rebuilding trust takes a lot more time than breaking it. If your partner is willing to work on the marriage, give them the time they need to feel safe. For the spouse who was cheated on: You’re both working on change. You need time to heal from the betrayal and your partner needs time to heal from the guilt.
2. Be transparent.
For the spouse who cheated: You may get annoyed or even angry when your partner questions or doubts you. Understand that rebuilding trust takes more time and effort than earning it the first time. Be open and honest about everything. Your spouse may sound like he/she is collecting evidence to convict you, but they’re trying to collect evidence that you can be trusted again.
For the spouse who was cheated on: Be upfront and honest with your spouse about what hurts you, what scares you and what makes you angry. Try not to rehash old stuff repeatedly, but do be honest about what your challenges are now. If they don’t know, they can’t empathize. If they can’t empathize, they won’t know how to help.
3. Be vulnerable.
For the spouse who cheated: You had to make yourself vulnerable to rejection before your spouse fell in love with you. You’re going to have to do that again.
For the spouse who was cheated on: You have to be vulnerable to being hurt or let down again by your partner, in other areas of your marriage. Every time you leave yourself open and don’t get hurt, you rebuild trust.
If you want to learn more about healing after infidelity and saving your marriage, there are some great resources we suggest. Discovery Health has an excellent article on healing from infidelity here. Read the tips they provide together and work on a plan to work it out together.