“Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept, what your mind already knows.” Unknown
When we’re talking about surviving infidelity it’s typically in the context of: Can the betrayed relationship survive? But whether or not you choose to remain in the relationship after one or both of you have cheated, you need to survive regardless.
If you decide that you want to remain in the relationship and attempt to rebuilt trust again, obviously you will be working through the hurt and betrayal, attempting to trust again and eventually being able to forgive.
But even if you decide to leave the relationship, you still don’t want to carry all that pain with you from this relationship and unintentionally sabotaging future relationships.
Many of you know that some of my clients have been cheated upon; some have cheated themselves.
For that reason, regardless of which side of the betrayal you’re on, I’m going to provide you with three tools you can use for surviving infidelity:
When there’s an affair, we all want to focus on that act as the source of all the pain. But because infidelity doesn’t happen in loving, connected, committed relationships, we know that there was something broken to make the relationship vulnerable to an affair in the first place. If we don’t understand what was broken and heal that, not only is another affair likely to occur again, but we miss the real opportunity to solidify the relationship so that the relationship feels good for both of you.
A generation ago, we found out about infidelity by seeing lipstick on a collar or finding a receipt in a pocket. Now, when we find out about an affair, we see emails, pictures, IMs, text messages, notes written and sometimes voices and images recorded. And once you see those things, it’s incredibly difficult to un-see them. Those images don’t go away easily. So, even though you want to understand what was happening, stop short of needing to know (or share) all the gory details.
Whoever broke the trust is now responsible for rebuilding that trust within the relationship. There is no set timeline it will take for trust to be re-established, but the more open and transparent that partner is, the quicker the trust can be rebuilt. It’s easily more than one week, but certainly less than a lifetime. It will always take more time than you would like, but if progress is being made, then it might be worth the time and effort.
The task of surviving infidelity might be the hardest relationship work we will ever do with one another. How do you get over infidelity?
My short answer is, you don’t.
But you can survive it. You can make peace with it. You can even open your heart to trust again.
Watch the video below to hear a client story and to find out why you should forgive, but not necessarily forget.