Infidelity in a relationship can create a huge rift between partners, and some never get over it, according to the WebMD article “Overcoming Infidelity.” Both of you must commit to doing the work required to rebuild trust and heal the problems that allowed the affair to occur. Understand that the relationship will never go back to what it was before the infidelity, but that can be a very good thing.
Ejecting the Affair Partner
Getting over cheating requires the cheating partner to build a sturdy boundary around the primary relationship that excludes the affair partner, suggests Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies the biological underpinnings of love, in a U.S. News and World Report article titled “What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Attracted to Someone?” Whether you and your significant other are married or not, if your relationship has first priority, there isn’t room for the affair partner. The cheating partner must cut all ties to the affair partner and be open and honest about any contact with that person, advises Michelle Weiner-Davis, a marriage and family therapist. If the affair partner texts the cheater, the cheater must tell the other partner about it so that both can decide together how to respond.
Committing to Time and Hard Work
Realize that overcoming the cheating takes time and work from both of you. The betrayer must demonstrate time and time again that she is committed to your relationship and regrets the betrayal. She must answer all your questions about the affair, even if you’ve asked them before. Relationships where the cheating partner answers all the questions from the other partner are more likely to survive, according to extramarital affair expert Peggy Vaughan. Prepare for a roller coaster ride of emotions before things settle down and feel stable.
Examine the Foundation
Both of you must accept some responsibility for the affair, according to Janis Abrahms Spring, a clinical psychologist quoted in the U.S. News and World Report article. The person who cheated bears the largest share of the blame because he stepped outside the relationship, but the betrayed partner may have neglected essential emotional needs and criticized and emotionally disconnected from the betrayer. Maintaining a strong connection where excitement and intimacy are felt in your relationship can cement the cracks in your marital foundation and prevent future cheating, according to Fisher.
Meeting your partner’s most important emotional needs can help your relationship survive an affair, according to Dr. Willard Harley, Jr., Ph.D., in his book, “His Needs, Her Needs.” Discover what emotional needs are most important to your partner, such as affection, conversation, openness and honesty, sexual fulfillment and admiration. Commit to meeting those needs in ways that are meaningful to your partner. Work with your partner to ensure that you turn to each other for those needs instead of to someone outside your relationship.
- WebMD: Overcoming Infidelity
- US News and World Report: What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Attracted to Someone?
- His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-proof Marriage; Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr.
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