This one is difficult; I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s difficult for several reasons. The loss of trust, anger, resentment, and incessant question of what to do next.
What to do next?
Do you stay together? Do you separate? Do you divorce? If you stay together what does that say about the one who did not stray? You question why they strayed… you question what others may think of you for staying. Then the bigger question. What if they do it again or will they do it again?
Like I said, this one is difficult. It does take a good amount of hard work. It’s a three-part process. One part is helping the loved one who was cheated on. Their world has been turned upside down. Feeling of security or believing they know what their life was has been taken from them. They need space and time to work on and recover from this trauma.
The second part is getting really real as to why the one partner strayed. Was it because of sexual abandonment? Emotional abandonment? Was it because it was not communicated well what they needed in the relationship? Perhaps it was a difference in value of sex or intimacy in the relationship.
The remaining part is learning from this experience, owning the parts we contributed, making the choice to leave this in the past, but gain tools to prevent this in the future, or making the decision to walk away from the relationship. All of this takes time AND consistency.
Victims of infidelity do need time to go through their pain and process the trauma. Many times that is difficult for the person who had the affair to stand by and help in that process. It’s equally difficult for victims of infidelity to hear, understand, or accept the real reasons that their loved one strayed. That segued into how difficult it is for both partners to own their part in this and make the choice to grow past this or to leave it behind. That is the bridge that has to be crossed to truly trust again and have a strong relationship.
Once again. This one is difficult. Difficult but not impossible.