Surviving infidelity can be done, but it takes time, honesty, and patience. For so many couples, infidelity can mean the end of relationships. The pain associated with the loss can be devastating and change the course of the couple’s life, for better, or worse. How the issue comes to light, the communication as a result, and the support involved as things progress are all factors in how the couple will get through the event. There are so many more factors, like the relationship prior to the event, that are pieces of the choices that people make. No matter what the reasons, or the relationship, infidelity is a choice.
Whether the relationship survives after infidelity is a choice that the couple makes. How people recover, has more to do with communication and, for the person cheated on, recovering their confidence. Although there may be guilt for the person that cheated, the cheater doesn’t seem to have the confidence issues that the person cheated on would have. Being in a relationship implies a safety that brings about a trust. When that trust is broken, it brings so many questions like why wasn’t I enough? What does (the other person) have that I don’t? Why can’t I find love? Should I change myself to try to make it work? Why didn’t I know? What did I miss?
The answers to those questions seem important at the time, but many times there are no answers, or at least not ones that make sense. When couples try to communicate about difficult topics, the conversation tends to disintegrate to blaming and anger. It’s hard have a conversation when the relationship is so strained, but both parties need to process the issues that lead to the event. The problem is that they may need to be processed separately first, before they come back together, if they ever do.
If you find yourself working on survival, whether you are the “cheatee” or the cheater, process what happened. We study history with the idea that we won’t repeat past mistakes, continue to make good choices, and make our lives better, not worse. Many people I see in treatment make the same mistakes over and over. They pick the same kind of person to get into a relationship with, and get hurt again and again. On the flip side, some people should never get married. They don’t have the ability to commit, and in their wake they leave broken hearts and sadness. Being able to understand what happened can help you make better choices in the future. As you put your life back together, you can build a life that works for you, married or not.
I have worked with people who have cheated on spouses, and the others whose broken trust caused problems in other relationships. Find out what happened, adjust, and have a better future. Survival is possible, and knowing what happened is important to your future. Find the red flags you didn’t pay attention to at the time. Think about what you want in the future, and make it happen. It can happen, and you can recover. Get help if you need it, and take time to heal. It’s all part of being happy for life.