You have a feeling something isn’t right. You discover or uncover some SHOCKING and HEART SHATTERING information. Your heart sinks. Your breathing speeds up. You become furious. You want to fight, cry, scream all at the same time. Why did you do this to me? How can I ever trust you again? I never saw that coming? I thought we were happy? How could this be? We are always together, how did you have time for an affair? Have you ever been there? Ever had to face infidelity? Ever felt left feeling hurt, shocked, furious, traumatized, and terrified all at the same time? You are not alone. Infidelity in the United States is the cause for about 20-30% of marriages ending in divorce. An affair doesn’t mean you have to end your marriage. When you both are committed to the process of healing, most marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy. Sounds crazy right?
Listen to Kim’s (not her real name) story. “I returned home from a girls trip and could tell that something definitely wasn’t right with my husband’s energy. The night before while I was away, I was texting and calling him and wasn’t receiving the responses that I normally would receive. When I arrived home, instead of him being excited to see me he started an argument. That heightened my suspicions. We go to separate rooms of the house and I began to internally question his actions. I immediately felt a huge weight come over me. It was a gut feeling that something was WRONG. I pulled up our cell phone bill and was going through his outbound and inbound calls. I noticed a SHOCKING, HEART SINKING pattern of phone calls. It SHOOK me to my core. I couldn’t believe he was talking to this person more than me. I was pissed, furious, and shocked all at the same time. How could this be? How could he EVER do something like this to ME. We had our differences and I thought we were working through them. I confronted him and asked to see his cell phone. He gave it to me but the call log was completely different from the phone bill. I question him and he immediately became defensive and said I WAS TRIPPING. I pulled the bill up on my phone and asked who he was talking to so much at this phone number? He played crazy of course. I said let’s call it, he said there is no need to do this. He came clean, partially and said he would not talk to her anymore. Whelp, he didn’t talk to her anymore on that phone. He went and purchased another phone to talk to her on. I eventually found out about this too and was YET again DEVASTATED. Same number same person.” Did Kim stay or did she leave?
The thing about infidelity is that no matter how happy you think you are it can still happen. No matter how great of a person you are to them, it still happens. You can be one of thee BADDEST chicks on earth, and still get cheated on. Cough Cough Beyoncé! People cheat for numerous reasons and believe it or not sometimes it has nothing to do with the marriage. During a research project, I discovered 90% of cheating spouses admitted they were still in love with their spouse and didn’t want a divorce. How can that be? How do you betray someone you love? It’s because there is a deeper personal issue that person may be going through. A root that has never been dealt with. Instead of dealing with the root problem they mask it or conceal it and pack it away.
Relationships can rebound from infidelity but like Rihanna says it is going to take WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK!! True Reconciliation is the work I’m talking about. The work must be done by BOTH people TOGETHER not just the offended or the offender. Seriously, don’t waste someone’s time if you aren’t ready and you are going to keep repeating the same pattern! Seek help from a therapist to dig deep into the roots. I don’t believe a cheater will always be a cheater unless they want to be a cheater! I digress..
7 Ways to Overcome Infidelity
- Be On One Accord- None of the other 6 ways will matter if you don’t work together. Couples that spend time together after infidelity are more effective with transforming their relationship. Listen to each other and be completely HONEST with each other. Identify why the affair happened. Effectively communicate, take responsibility for the role you played in the affair, especially if you were the unfaithful spouse.
- Be Sure to Grieve- This process is different for everyone. You must FACE your FEELINGS!! It begins with denial, shifts to blame, anger sets in, depressions slides through, and then acceptance hits you up. Grief comes in waves and stages for everyone. Your relationship has changed and you need to go through the grieving process to ensure healing takes place. You will go through this process over and over because there will be triggers.
- Be Able to Forgive-Both of you must forgive the other person and yourself. Forgiveness is for you the most. It doesn’t mean you accept the behavior. It means that you are ready to release the heavy weight. Holding on to grudges, anger and resentment blocks love. Forgiveness is a powerful force. It is the key that unlocks the prison cell inside your heart. It takes a lot of strength and courage to forgive someone but it takes even bigger courage to ask for forgiveness.
- Be Ready to Heal- The healing process is one that you must be ready for. The unfaithful spouse must get to the roots of why they had the affair. Lay out all the facts about why not the details of the affair! If he/she wants to know details, tell the truth! The other spouse should let go of the blame, and feeling sorry for themselves. View this as an opportunity to have dialogue about what needs to be done. It’s never your fault when someone cheats on you. Take as long as you need to heal but don’t get stuck.
5. Be Clear about Purpose- You are going through the process of grieving, forgiving and healing. Neither will happen overnight, it’s a process. . It takes time! While you are going through the process you have to focus on the solution you will seek. The solution you seek will define your purpose! This is the only way to move towards creating the future. You will need purpose to restore and rejuvenate your relationship and take it to a higher place!
- Be Willing to Rebuild- We are talking about OVERCOMING INFIDELITY that means you MUST establish trust again. This will definitely require some SERIOUS energy! Begins with the responsible party being completely honest about EVERYTHING. Where they are going? Who they are going with? How long will you be there? What you ate? Know that you will be held accountable for ALL actions. Remember it only takes 1 lie to question ALL truths. Rebuilding takes 100% transparency. Start to date your spouse again, flirt with them, laugh again, and take this opportunity to fall in love with each other again. Rome wasn’t built overnight, the rebuild will take time. Be patient with yourself and each other.
- Be Encouraged- You need to be around other HEALTHY couples. You need to be encouraged by others and inspired by others. We must hold each other accountable in our marriages. Husbands and Wives challenge other husband and wives to be the best they can be to their spouse. If you have someone you TRUST and they have suffered infidelity ask how they overcame. Lean on them for strength especially in the early days when you are figuring it all out. Take care of yourself through this process. There is HOPE! You will HEAL! Life will GET better!
When you break someone’s trust it is like crumbling up a piece of paper and trying to smooth out all the wrinkles. That piece of paper will never be the same. You can’t expect the person who has been betrayed to trust easy again. It takes time so be patient with them and yourself. What did Kim do? Kim and her husband went to therapy together and she even went individually. They worked through these 7 areas and now 3 years after the affair they are happy and living loving life. She says, their marriage is stronger than it was before the affair happened. This list of 7 ways isn’t exhaustive by any means. The grieving process is an entire process by itself without the other six ways. IT IS OK TO SEEK THERAPY!! Again, IT IS OK TO SEEK THERAPY!!
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I am rooting for you to WIN in your marriage. It’s never too late to push the limits on love.