Infidelity can cause many difficulties in relationships and is often a reason why couples will seek marriage counseling. Infidelity can happen for a multitude of reasons. A common misconception is that infidelity only occurs in unhappy marriages. While a sexually and or emotionally distant marriage might raise the chances of infidelity, it can also occur in perfectly normal, happy marriages as well. No matter what the reason, infidelity puts a huge strain on a relationship. Trust and intimacy is lost and needs to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.
The most important thing to remember when trying to regain trust after infidelity is it is a choice to make it work. Both partners have to choose to work on rebuilding the relationship after the trust has been broken. The betrayed partner has to answer internal questions such as whether he or she is willing to forgive their partner, and whether or not they feel the relationship is worth being saved. The partner who committed infidelity must be willing to be transparent, take blame and support their partner while they try to cope with the break of trust.
Dr. Gottman writes, “The wounded partner will feel the stirrings of new faith only after multiple proofs of trustworthiness. Atonement cannot occur if the cheater insists that the victim take partial blame for the affair.” The healing process cannot begin without full disclosure. Honestly confronting the issues within the relationship, specifically, the ones that led to the infidelity is the best way to regain trust and intimacy. Couples healing need to gain insight into what went wrong without accusing or putting blame on one another.
The most important thing to remember when trying to heal a relationship after infidelity is that it won’t be easy. It takes true commitment from both partners to work on their relationship. A whirlwind of emotions will be felt by both partners, including pain, regret, remorse, and anger. Overcoming these emotions and setting them aside while working at the obstacles to becoming intimate and close again is important.
A lot of times, couples can’t sort through all of these emotions and the strain it puts on the relationship moving forward, which is why a good majority of couples will seek therapy when they decide they want to work to move forward with their relationship. A good marriage counselor will seek to uncover the underlying issues that may have led to the infidelity, and encourage each partner to speak openly and honestly. Some intervention usually will help the couple to delve into all the issues and obstacles that may be preventing them from starting the process towards regaining a strong level of trust. Infidelity doesn’t have to be an obstacle that can’t be overcome, as long as the concerned individuals place an emphasis on fixing what is damaged.