Frequently Asked Questions
Relationship Matters: Reviving Your Relationship after Infidelity
You’re in the middle of wrestling with a traumatic life event. There’s no right or wrong way to feel whenever such information is revealed. It wouldn’t be unusual to be experiencing a whole host of feelings, like anger, sadness, and fears about the future.
Because you’ve only just discovered the information about Will’s infidelity, you require time to think about what’s happened and where you want to go from here. Getting through this type of trauma doesn’t happen overnight.
You’re choosing wisely to stay put and give yourself some time to process through what’s happened. Making a rash decision may devastate you and your family further, especially if you’re unsure about what you want to do in terms of the relationship.
The first thing is to allow yourself the time and space to accept what has happened. You may be wondering why it happened, too.
It’s normal to have a lot of questions now about why Will was unfaithful. However, it’s likely been very difficult emotionally for you to hear Will’s explanations for his indiscretions.
Even though you remain in the house together, you can allow each other opportunities to sit and think, be alone, and write down your feelings. It will help you greatly to just be with yourself and begin recording your thoughts and feelings. Doing so will help you feel cleansed and allow you
to go on as normally as possible with your day.
The more you write down your feelings, the more likely it is you’ll discharge quite a bit of negativity. You’ll begin to find your strength. Also, get support from a close friend or some of your family members. Tell them you just need someone to listen and be understanding of what you’re going through.
One of the toughest aspects of discovering your partner has betrayed you is determining how much you really want to know about what transpired. Be honest with Will about being unsure
regarding how much you can hear at the present time. Tell him that you wish to reserve the right to obtain more information later, depending on what you decide.
You’ve experienced a violation of the emotional intimacy and bond that you and Will had and this can be devastating. Some personal boundaries were crossed when he became the woman’s
confidante about her own marriage.
In a recent study, researchers found that the majority of the women studied found their husbands’forming of emotionally intimate bonds with other women to be as disturbing and destructive to
their marriage as a sexual betrayal.
At first, you might be more focused on the details of what Will has done with the other woman, like places they met, people who’ve seen them together, and the extent of their physical
However, as time progresses, you may be more focused in figuring out why or how you and Will “misplaced” your emotional bonds and ceased having the emotional intimacy you had before.
The fact that you have concern for Will at this difficult time shows you care deeply about him. He, too, needs time and space to reflect on what’s occurred and to process things. You can
talk together to the extent that you can do so without arguing or escalating into negative feelings and situations.
Although he’s likely dealing with some of the same feelings as you, like, sadness, fear, andanger, he may be struggling to resolve feelings of guilt and shame about what he has done. Even
so, he may have considerable difficulty acknowledging his guilt openly to you.
Although the task seems monumental now, realize that thousands of couples have successfully resolved the issue of infidelity in their marriage. And many of them have come out
of it feeling closer than ever. You can do several things to begin the process of healing your marriage. Nearly all of these strategies involve the same action: mutual communication.
In your conversations with Will, it would be helpful for each of you to discuss your personal goals for the future. Honesty, of course, is the best policy. But if Will feels his honesty will cause
you pain, he’ll hopefully pay attention to your needs, in terms of how much you say you wish to hear.
Also, it’s important for Will to own up to the choices he’s made and the ramifications of his choices on your relationship. Stepping up to be accountable and to apologize for what he’s done
will be an important aspect of healing himself, you, and the marriage.
Most experts recommend that if there’s any chance of healing the relationship, the partner who was unfaithful must cut off 100% contact with the person they were unfaithful with. In
Will’s case, becoming involved with someone at work means it is recommended he seek a new job to leave the place of connection with the other woman behind.
An important aspect of the marriage that will eventually need to be addressed is trust. Trust has been broken and it will take time, patience, and effort to re-build it. Will may be willing to
meet your requirements in terms of what you need to know to be sure he’s no longer cheating on you.
For example, you might want him to call you more often throughout the workday. Or you might want to drop in unannounced to take him lunch on other days.
As you get through some of the emotional distress that you’re feeling now, you’ll have the opportunity to think about what types of things Will can do to begin to earn back your trust. You
have the right to tell him exactly what you’ll need to begin rebuilding the trust you had before.
Talking about what troubles you is a huge step to feeling better. Each of us has our own timeline for healing, so it’s best not to rush things.
Feeling as if Will listens and responds to you when you want to share feelings with him about his infidelity is of the ultimate importance. The type of communication you had before the
indiscretion may continue in your relationship after it. Consider your answers to the following questions to assess the effectiveness of your marital communication:
- Have I consistently been able to share my deepest, honest feelings with Will?
- Most of the time, do I feel he listens and is truly interested in what I have to say?
- Have I shown interest in Will’s communications with me?
- Do I know how to listen well?
- If we misunderstand something the other said, do we “check it out” with them to clarify things?
Answering “No” to any one of these questions indicates both of you may need to brush up your communication skills.
If, after some time passes, you feel less relief than you’d hoped, consider calling a counselor. Speaking with an objective person about your fears, hopes, and worries can help you move
through the negativity and proceed forward.
Hopefully, you both will find that you want to work things out. However, if you flounder in doing so, consider engaging in joint therapy to get some assistance in resolving your issues. A
partner who truly wants to vacate the other relationship and keep your own relationship together will be willing to open up in joint therapy, as difficult as that may be.
Keep in mind that individual therapy is meant to help you sort out feelings and determine what you’d like to do with your life while joint therapy is best when you know you want to stay
together but both of you are unsure about how to heal. It will help greatly in sharpening your marital communication skills so you can answer “yes” to all of the above questions.
Know that you’ll eventually get through the pain and come out on the other side, smarter and stronger, regardless of whether you decide to stay with Will.
For many in your situation, forgiving does not come easy. In order to forgive, it’s often helpful to have processed the entire situation and gained some understanding over it, like why it
happened when it did. And those things take time. Although it’s not always the case, forgiving Will may also be linked to your capacity to gain back trust in him.
As time passes, you may have to simply make the decision to forgive Will. At that time, you’ll likely find it too difficult to keep holding on to what has become an “old hurt.” Forgiving will
bring you freedom from the pain so you can move forward into a lasting, loving existence with Will.