Overcoming infidelity in any relationship is hard, but when it happens in a marriage or other committed relationship it seems impossible. There is hope. Although it’s hard to fathom it now, forgiveness and understanding are the keys to both parties’ relationship health in the future. At The Marriage Restoration Project, we focus on helping couples save their marriage and develop healthy relationships with Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT). We have various modes of counseling available, but the most effective way to overcome a jarring wrench in your relationship is through intensive therapy at a couples retreat.
We host weekend marriage retreats for groups, in addition to private marriage retreats in Baltimore, Maryland. Contact us to learn more about our couples therapy options, including convenient online therapy.
Q: I cheated on my husband and truly regret what I did. I’d really like to learn how to fix a relationship after cheating. I admitted it to my husband and begged his forgiveness but my husband is still angry, in a lot of pain, and won’t even touch me after the affair. Can our relationship be fixed? What are the first steps to take to learn how to fix a relationship after cheating?
A: Infidelity can be devastating for any relationship. There is a lot of pain after an affair. One of the most difficult things facing couples after an affair is the anger that the betrayed spouse feels. Even worse than the affair itself is the feeling of betrayal. The relationship you once had has been called into question and it is uncertain whether it will ever be possible to rebuild the trust. If your husband is angry after the affair, he has a right to be. By not being loyal to him you broke your commitment to him. The best thing you can do right now is to validate his feelings, acknowledge that it is ok for your husband to be angry after the affair and to give the time he needs to heal to get over the affair.
It is especially difficult for husbands as they are likely to feel insecure about their masculinity and a real sense of shame that they were not able to provide their wives what they needed. Although it may seem rather primitive, males are overprotective of their women and definitely feel threatened and take it personally if another man encroaches upon their territory. Underneath that anger your husband is feeling after the affair is his utter sense of humiliation. It’s important to be aware of that and understand how he is hurting. Perhaps he will need to humble himself and get beyond his ego, but that’s ultimately his decision if he wishes to stay in the relationship. Your job as the affairer is to go above and beyond to rectify what you did by learning how to apologize and validating his feelings.
Do couples have to end their marriage after discovering their partner cheated?
Not necessarily. It’s a choice.
If you both want to stay in your marriage, then it is possible to repair.
If you’re the one that cheated, and you want to stay with your spouse, you need to fully admit to what you did and express sincere regret for your actions.
You also need to resolve to never do it again. You need to commit to real changes in the relationship as a gift to your spouse.
It takes time to learn how fix a relationship after cheating. In the beginning, he may not trust you at all. He may extremely suspicious and want to know all of your whereabouts. Regaining intimacy may take a while. What can you do to assure him that you are committed to him? As time passes and you work on healing the relationship, the trust will begin to grow again. While he may occasionally become suspicious, you will be able to rebuild the relationship.
One important thing to note is that if your husband is angry after the affair, you will want to make sure you really spend a lot of time working on your relationship. That means, its important to explore what was going wrong with your marriage that led to the affair. While you need to take full responsibility for going out of the marriage, nothing occurs in a vacuum. When you both get to the root of what caused your relationship to sour, you’ll be able to repair and prevent it from happening again.
Is it possible to heal?
Yes. It takes time to rebuild the trust that was broken. But with commitment and hard work, it is possible to heal and get over the affair, creating a loving and fulfilling relationship for both partners.
If you’re the one that cheated, realize that your spouse may be very angry and feel betrayed. It may take a while for him/her to calm down and come to grips with what you did.
This may mean having to constantly reassure your spouse and grovel.
In order to prove that you are trustworthy, you may have to go over and beyond what you are comfortable with. This may mean handing over all of your passwords, your calendar, your cellphone, so that you are completely transparent.
This will help rebuild the trust and take away your spouse’s doubts that you are still cheating.
If you only stopped cheating because you got caught, there will be even greater suspicion that you’re remorseful, because your husband or wife will think you ONLY stopped due to getting caught.
How long should you let your spouse be upset with you?
It will take time. If you were cheating for years, don’t expect your spouse to get over it in a few months.
Unfortunately, this is the price that you may have to pay for what you did. If you want your marriage back, you’ll work your hardest, and your sincere efforts will be recognized.
Not sure if you do want your marriage back?
There’s a reason why you didn’t just leave your spouse for this other person that you’re cheating with. Whether you have a family, know the financial disadvantages of getting divorced, or it’s just too comfortable to leave, there are probably many good reasons to stay in your relationship instead of starting your life anew.
If you fell in love with your spouse many years ago, that initial spark that brought you together is still there, despite the years of pain that you both may be feeling from your relationship being unfulfilled.
The good news is that if you take the time to explore how things got to this point, and learn new, healthier ways of being married, you can reignite the spark.
We’re here to help you both get clarity about your future because we know there is a lot at stake for both of you, regardless of what you end up choosing to do.
If you need an immediate intervention, and can’t afford to wait months in therapy to determine whether there is a future for your relationship, schedule your 2 Day Marriage Intensive here. In 2 days you’ll walk away with a clear game plan. Talk with us today to start the healing process. We can help you.
More inspiration on how to fix a relationship after cheating and getting over an affair:
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