It seems that infidelity in a marriage or relationship is as common as fidelity these days. According to some research, infidelity is affecting millions of relationships worldwide every year. One or both partners admitted either emotional or physical infidelity in 41% of marriages.
Moreover, a percentage of men who admit they would have an affair if they knew they won’t get caught is 74%. At the same time percentage of women who say they would cheat on their partner if they knew they would never get caught is 68%.
You found out that Your Partner Has Been Unfaithful –Now What?
Learning that your partner has been cheating on you can be devastating. Once you are totally sure in his/hers adultery, you need to face it and accept the truth that you have been cheated on. Easier said than done, you’re right. It is very hard to accept the fact that someone so close turned their back to you.
Your fillings are all mixed up and you are confused. You hate your partner for what he or she have done. However, you still love him and there is nothing you can do about that. That is why their infidelity hurts so much. You feel rejected, sad and betrayed. And that is all normal.
There are certain stages of healing from infidelity, regardless you decide to stay with your partner or end your relationship. And heal you will, eventually.
Like dealing with any other type of loss, there is no typical time frame for healing process after infidelity. Different people deal with partner’s adultery in different ways. Furthermore, the time a person needs to heal after discovery that partner was unfaithful also depends on the type of an affair. Namely, for most people it usually takes longer to heal after a long-term affair than after one night thing.
However, there are some similar questions that arise after an affair. Also, we can talk about similar stages of healing that different people go through.
So let’s take a closer look of common phases most people go through after they reveal their partner’s infidelity.
First Few Weeks after Infidelity – the Devastation Phase
This is a phase of Shock. Anger. Devastation. Disappointment. This stage that follows straightway after the disclosure of your partner’s affair.
You will most likely experience a wide array of emotions soon after you discover that your partner was unfaithful. They can range from disbelief, furry, confusion and pain to even self-criticism or self-accusation. And that is completely normal.
This is definitely the most traumatic period after the affair. Learning about your partner infidelity will probably leave you devastated and rise many questions. It will make you doubt everything in your relationship. You will ask yourself what was real and what was not. Did your partner ever love you??
Furthermore, at this early stage after the infidelity a lot of people engages in some troublesome behaviors. Hurt and disorientated, you may reach for excessive amounts of alcohol, starve yourself because you lost the appetite or spend the nights awake. Also, many people reach out for extramarital affairs themselves in an attempt to punish their unfaithful spouse.
Try to avoid these behaviors, though. They can make more damage than good, both to yourself and people around you.
Some important questions that you need to answer to yourself after an affair include questions about your future as well:
- Should I leave or stay in the marriage/relationship?
- How can I forgive my partner?
- Will my partner cheat on me again?
- Do I need to seek relationship counseling?
- How long will it take to heal from my partner’s affair?
- Will my marriage/relationship ever be the same?
You will probably be spinning in the circle of questions, doubts and even self-criticism after your partner’s affair. You may be flooded with doubts, questions and self-blame like. You’ll be asking yourself questions like: Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Am I still attractive? Is there something wrong with me? Is this maybe my fault?, and similar.
However, it is important that you constantly remind yourself that your partner’s infidelity is not your fault. It was your partner’s choice to have an affair. Not yours. So, you are not to blame.
Take Care of Yourself
Furthermore, it is of vital importance not to make any major decisions in this stage of healing process after your partner’s infidelity. Why? Well, first of all, you are hurt and overwhelmed with different emotions at this stage. Secondly, you need time to process the information and think about everything clearly. The first thing to do after you learn about partner’s infidelity is to restore the peace and composure.
How can you do that?
Take some time on your own. Spend a week or two away and do the things you enjoy. Allow yourself time and space to think clearly and understand your feelings after the infidelity.
Furthermore, ensure that you are meeting your basic needs. Make sure that you regularly eat and sleep. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits and fibers. Get enough rest and sleep. Go for relaxing walks and do some light exercise. Spend time with your friends and family. Even if it’s difficult, try to find a reason to laugh. Taking good care of your body during the healing period is equally important as caring for your mental wellbeing.
If you decided to forgive infidelity and rebuild your relationship, this would be a good moment to reach out for a marriage or relationship counseling. If you feel that you are still not ready to take this step, then wait. Take as long as you need to digest the shock of partner’s infidelity before you take next steps in your healing process.
Up to 6 Months after Infidelity – the Accepting Stage
At this stage of the recovering process you are starting to understand how the affair happened and what possibly led to it. Beginning to understand the affair may lessen some of your frustration and answer some of the questions that arose after your partner’s infidelity.
Furthermore, this is the time when your life might be getting back to normal to some extent. However, if you decide to stay in your relationship after the affair, it is also a time when you will be confronting your partner a lot. You will seek answers to your questions in an attempt to understand the circumstances that led to the affair.
If you haven’t done it by this point, seeking a couple’s therapist support might be a wise decision. Experienced marriage or relationship counselor will help you improve your communication with the partner. He or she will also help you address all the doubts and fears you might have and help you start restoring the bond and trust in your relationship again.
Up to 1 Year after Infidelity – the Restoration Stage
It’s been a year after you survived possibly the greatest disappointment of your life. Your marriage/relationship may be back on track by now. You resumed the trust in your partner and you are finally beginning to feel relaxed after a long time.
At this stage most people start feeling somewhat stable in their marriage or relationship again. Furthermore, at this point in healing process you start feeling connected to your partner again. You look forward to your future together.
On the other hand, if you ended your relationship after your partner’s affair, this may be the phase when you are finally starting to feel free and relaxed. The feeling that you are moving forward with your life emerges. You are allowing yourself to trust other people again. You are ready to engage in a new relationship.
It is normal to feel doubtful from time to time though. Keep in mind that you have just gone through a difficult time in your life. You need time to restore trust and confidence in people.
Recovering from partner’s infidelity is a long road. And it is a painful process. However, as any other road, this one ends at some point too. For different people it takes a different time to heal.
The End of Journey
Nevertheless, with the help of experienced marriage counselor, you will grow stronger as a person after this experience. In addition, a good and effective couple’s therapy can also help you develop stronger bond with your partner after infidelity.
Down the Road
Don’t waste the time on reminding yourself and your partner of their infidelity after a few years have passed. Be sensitive towards their feelings too. If you decided to forgive, then don’t go back.
Infidelity affects trust. Make sure you have reestablished trust in your partner and show it to them. Your partner needs to feel that you have forgiven the infidelity. Only that way you will be able to have a healthy relationship again.
Your journey of healing from infidelity may be a tough and long one, but the destination is definitely worth traveling.