Trust and honesty are the life force of any healthy relationship. We open up to our significant others, share our hopes and dreams, and become more vulnerable than we normally would with our friends or family. We put time and energy into our intimate relationships, and hope for the same in return. Unfortunately, some relationships end with one or both partners choosing to be unfaithful either physically or emotionally. This can be an enormous blow to one’s confidence and can greatly affect one’s overall mental wellness.
Here are some key things to consider:
It’s never your fault.
You didn’t force your significant other to jump into bed with another person or to have an emotional affair. They are solely responsible for their choices. We often ask ourselves what we did to push someone else in the direction of cheating, and it’s best to understand that we are not at fault. Placing the blame on ourselves will only create more distress. We can dwell on the past and think about what we could have done differently, but it’s more effective to move forward and work on what you can do in the present to better your situation.
Therapy will help.
If you and your significant other decide that working on the relationship is something you both want to do, you have a long road ahead of you in which you will need to be patient and forgiving with one another. The affair will not be easily forgotten, but will, unfortunately, be remembered for months or even, years to come. Therapy will help. Having a third party that can listen to both individuals as they work through their various emotions, will help both of you feel heard and understood. Trust will need to be rebuilt, and having a therapist talk you through exercises will help the process move forward.
Forgiveness is key.
Remember that if you choose to stay with a partner who has been unfaithful in the past, it is best to work on forgiving him or her. Holding a grudge and holding onto resentment will create even more distance in the relationship. Talking about your feelings and how the affair affected you is healthy. At some point, the affair will be in the distance and no longer the focus of your lives. If you choose to work on the relationship, it does not make you a weak person. You may have friends or family giving you advice to leave your partner, but, ultimately, it is your decision. If you feel that the relationship can be improved and that you would like to stay with your significant other, do what you think is best.
Breaking up is hard to do.
It is completely understandable for you and your partner to part ways. Not every relationship works out. If we can take the positive aspects from our relationships that have ended, we are better equipped for our next chapter. Whatever road you choose to take, it will be long and windy, and may seem endless, but remember that you deserve happiness.
Written by Elizabeth Reichelt, M.S.W., Relationup Advisor