For many, infidelity is the bullet wound that’ll end any relationship. Marriage is built on trust, and there are few things that’ll break that trust more than sleeping with someone else.
Yet, infidelity does not have to be the be-all and end-all. Continuing and even growing in a marriage after one person has cheated is possible. It’s difficult, requires work, and may not succeed – but it is possible.
If your partner has done the unforgivable, but yet you’ve decided to forgive them, here’s how you can help your marriage repair and live again.
Should Your Marriage Be Saved?
Before embarking on this difficult endeavour, you need to ask yourself – is this something I really want?
This is different from simple forgiveness; you can forgive your partner but still decide your marriage is finished. For many, infidelity is something you can’t turn back from, despite how well you repair your relationship. You may still love the other person, but if there are deep-seated yet significant feelings of doubt, then you may have to walk away.
If you’re not committed to moving past this, if this is something that has tainting the relationship forevermore, then you need to be honest with yourself. Forgiveness is extremely difficult, and unless you’re onboard with the journey, you may struggle to reach the destination altogether.
Demand They Take Responsibility
There are many reasons why people cheat; in your marriage, those reasons may be things they feel – but it also may be things you’ve done. That is not to say you’re to blame; quite the opposite, the decision to cheat is made by two people of which you’re neither. Even though the cause might be your actions, your partner must take full responsibility for what they’ve. In order to rekindle a marriage, the starting block should be demanding this from them.
While there might be things you’ve done that have led to the marriage struggling, those are a separate issue to the infidelity. You’ll never be able to repair and grow unless your partner takes full responsibility and apologizes for their actions, all without excuse or blame.
If they are able to do this, that makes a strong foundation to build from. While it won’t magically fix your marriage, it is an essential start in the rekindling.
Get Professional Help
Getting past infidelity alone isn’t easy; that’s why getting professional help can be an effective option. Marriage counselling has lost much of the stigma it once had. Professional marriage counsellors aren’t there to force one person to think a certain way; they’re there to help in opening your relationship up to truths it hasn’t yet worked on.
From understanding the root cause of your problems to helping build a roadmap to forgiveness, marriage counselling helps make things more clear. They help you communicate with your partner in a safe, judgment-free way, something that’s essential in moving past infidelity.
Understand What Caused It
Infidelity rarely comes from nothing; most people in a relationship cheat because of problems elsewhere, possibly sexual satisfaction, lack of excitement, frequent arguing. In order to grow and improve your relationship, it’s important to acknowledge and work to rectify them.
It’s important to remember; you’re not working on these issues because you don’t want them to cheat again; you’re working on them to help improve your marriage. Yes, they may have been the underlying problems that led your partner to cheat. However, that is not why you’re addressing them. You’re addressing them to rekindle an extinguished relationship.
Be sure to talk to your partner about the problems you’re facing, work, and compromise on how to solve them. This isn’t doing everything your partner wants, nor is this an opportunity to disregard whatever they say. This isn’t just for yourself or your partner; it’s a chance to reflect on the issues caused or propagated by either of you. Whatever those issues may be, there are ways to work on them that are satisfactory to you both. You want yourself and your partner to feel happy and safe in their relationship; this is an opportunity to find out exactly what’s needed to get to that place.
Allow Yourself to Forgive
Forgiveness comes from a place of strength, not weakness. If you’ve made the decision to forgive, if you’re set on making your marriage work, don’t think that your forgiveness is you being weak.
Some may judge; they may think that you’re “letting them off” or “being easy on them,” however, remember these people aren’t in your relationship – you are. They won’t understand the work you and your partner have done and will continue to do in strengthening your marriage. They don’t understand what’s at stake or what your feelings are telling you to do.
If you’ve made the decision to forgive and work on your relationship, feel confident that this is your decision. As hard as it is to make, there is no wrong answer.