When a person commits infidelity in a marriage or relationship, it can be a devastating blow to the bond those two people have built and shared. So when this infidelity is committed by both parties, the affects can be even more damaging to the relationship because both people have not only been betrayed but also have to live with the guilt of betraying a loved one. If you and your partner are willing to fight for your relationship and truly regret your mistakes and the hurt you have caused one another, you can heal from the infidelity.
Be open and honest with each other about your feelings and behaviour. A healthy relationship is built on sound communication and you must start as you mean to go on. This could mean seeking marriage/ relationship counselling or setting some time aside every day to discuss your feelings. Lying is what got you into this situation in the first place, so make sure you are absolutely honest with each other, but without trying to assign blame to the other party, according to Relationship Expert Danine Manette.
Confront the problems in your relationship which caused you both to stray, as suggested by Elly Prior of Professional Counselling. This means making changes and compromising to reassure and demonstrate that you are both committed to the relationship. For example, curb how much you go out without each other on an evening, or make an effort to spend more quality time with each other like you did at the beginning of your relationship. It could also mean changing a problematic routine. For example, if you work late every night and this upsets your partner, change your work routine to better fit your marriage.
Re-build the trust that is broken between you as a result of the betrayal. Trust is an essential component of a functional relationship, and so you both must learn to trust the other person once again and believe that past mistakes will not be repeated. This will allow you to move on instead of getting stuck in the past and becoming obsessed with checking up on your partner and presuming he will cheat again, says Prior. Manette recommends taking an "open book" approach to your lives with each other to demonstrate that you no longer have nothing to hide. For example this means inviting him along to things you would normally attend alone, giving open access to your email or cell phone if he wants it and keeping credit card bills in full view. Another important way to rebuild trust is for both of you to cut ties completely with the people you had the affairs with. The knowledge that the betrayal is no longer happening will help you both to heal enormously.
Forgive each other wholeheartedly for the fidelity you have committed in order for you to look to the future as a couple and move on. This means letting go of the hurt you have caused each other and accepting your fallibility as human beings. Manette recommends providing love and continued reassurance to your partner, which will ultimately enable you to remember why your relationship is worth fighting for. It will also give you faith that your love for each other is strong enough to survive the turmoil your actions have created.
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- Be patient and don't expect your relationship to return to how was before your infidelity; healing will take an unspecified amount of time.
- Not all couples can heal from infidelity and ultimately you need to decide what is best for you and your wellbeing.
Emily Watson started writing in 2008. Watson has been published in "Children & Young People Now," "Youth Work Now," "Accent magazine," "The House Hunter," "Gap Year Business," "Timeout Education" and online at Travelmagazine.com and DunningEleyJones.com. She holds an honors degree in history from Newcastle University and has a PMA-Group postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.
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