How To Deal With Infidelity When A Couple Is Trying To Keep Collectively by Neil Wilkie, creator of Get better
April 10, 2021
Their relationship was shaken by betrayal. You may feel shocked, hurt, angry, in disbelief, and you may even want to get revenge. You now have to choose between three options:
1. Stick together and mingle in hopes that it will get better
2. Separation / divorce, convinced that trust can never be rebuilt
3. Work together to create a new and better relationship than the one you had
The first option is the simplest, but it avoids the possibility of creating something much better. The wound can only fester.
Breaking up takes courage, but is best when you are through the crisis and are absolutely certain that it is the best decision to make.
Working together to build a new and better relationship is the bravest option and will be hard work. It can take you both to a much better place as betrayal is a great opportunity to examine the old relationship and understand what could be better.
If you choose option 3; Here are the important steps:
Make sure you are committed to both the journey and the ups and downs that come with it.
Clarify the kind of new and better relationship you both want in the future. You can’t go back when you first fell in love. Time and you both moved on.
Don’t try to tape the old relationship on and hope it works.
There are now three people in the relationship. The one who had the affair (affair partner), the one they had an affair with (illegal partner) and the betrayed partner. This can create a poisonous triangle. Make sure that the relationship with the illegal partner ends gently but irrevocably and that the betrayed partner knows what has been said.
Understand where your relationship went wrong and whether the affair partner got something that was missing in your relationship
Acknowledge that continuing to blame doesn’t help, and perhaps the two of you played a role in creating an unhappy relationship.
The affair partner must show remorse for as long as necessary and ensure that the betrayed partner has heard and understood.
In order to restore trust, all future contact with the illegal partner should be stopped. If there are any, it must be allowed and the affair partner’s phone, email, and social media must be open to the betrayed partner so that there are no secrets or uncertainties.
Limit the number of people who let you know about the matter. Friends and family will of course take sides, and this will create a shadow that your new relationship will be difficult to escape from.
Get the pain and anger out. Try something called free writing, where you write for 15 minutes without stopping. Then take a break and come back and read what you wrote. See what topics are out, then take the paper and safely burn it. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Let us answer your questions about the matter and why this happened. A good way to do this is to get a glass container in which the betrayed partner can ask any questions they have. The partner undertakes to answer all questions at the right time.
Seek the help of a good relationship counselor who can provide you with a safe space to vent and talk.
Constantly work together on the 6 key elements for a happy relationship:
Communication: speaking to one another, expressing how you are feeling and being heard. Every week, do a review of what went well in the relationship and what the two of you need to work on for the next week.
Connection: This can be a look, a touch, a word. Create moments of intimacy where it’s like the world has stopped and nothing else matters. Sex is also a really important form of connection and an opportunity to create a new and much better love life than before.
Commitment: Make the new relationship a top priority.
Fun: Unleash the child in you, do stupid things and enjoy your new life.
Growth: Make sure that you, I, and we all are growing and alive
Trust: This is the foundation of a relationship and needs to be rebuilt
Understand this is going to be a roller coaster ride. You need to be kind to yourself and to each other while keeping the goal in mind.
Neil Wilkie is a relationship expert, psychotherapist, author of the Relationship Paradigm book series, and inventor of the online therapy platform The Relationship Paradigm®. More information is available at www.relationshipparadigm.com
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