Forgiving Unfaithfulness and Betrayal--Tips to help let go
Many couples find themselves asking the unfortunate but common question, “how do we survive my spouse’s affair.” Most couples want to make the relationship work but don’t know how to go about doing so, especially when major events happen that completely disrupt their connection. First things first, turning away from the marriage is never the answer, but if you find yourself in that position and want to change it, its important to understand why and how you got there.
In order to list all the reasons why people cheat, I would need to dedicate a whole other article to it and a good span of the afternoon. Its important to understand why this happens so as a couple you can make sure it doesn't happen again. It is a painful process but the only way to strengthen your relationship is to deal with the truth.
High sex drive. These individuals have a hard time managing monogamy, and most often have that “entitled persona” where they feel that they work hard and should be able to have the freedom to do what they want. Women can exhibit this trait, but its most often seen in men.
Sexually bored. This is contributes to both sexes, if the passion and spark are missing and there are no efforts to spice it back up, you or your partner may start to find yourself having desires that fall outside the relationship. If this is the case, work with your partner to see how you both can liven things up. No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship its never too late to add some excitement.
Revenge for partners infidelity. The majority of these instances happen out of spite when the first affair wasn’t handled properly. If there is an affair during the relationship, one of the worst was to handle it in terms of saving your relationship, is getting even. It will just drive you further apart.
Self-abandonment. Oftentimes, this is a huge reason that motivates individuals to cheat. This leads to inner emptiness that results in a person seeking to be filled up externally. They use the outside achievements and material things to validate them. This could be having an affair with a hot, young girlfriend or boyfriend to rationalize to themselves that they are still young and attractive.
Emotional Connection. Some relationships can grow apart so much that the individuals in them can feel more like roommates than they do partners. Typically, affairs don’t result in lasting relationships but if the reason they are is because they are receiving emotional gratification from someone else, this puts the relationship at a high-risk for failure. Feeling emotionally fulfilled with someone that is not your partner is the number one reason why cheaters usually leave the relationship for their affair. Generally, more women say that they cheated for an emotional connection.
After you discover why there was infidelity in the marriage, the next step is working together to start forgiving. This takes effort from both sides, even though it may seem like the one who had the affair should be responsible for fixing relationship, its actually not the case. Since there are two people in the relationship, it takes two people to fix it.
Ask yourself, are they worth another chance? This means looking back at past behavior. Have they cheated in past relationships before? Have they cheated on you before? Was this a one time thing or an ongoing affair? The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.
Give each other some space. Most peoples’ initial feeling is to hold onto their partner even tighter and make sure they don't leave their sight. But holding on to the relationship even tighter actually shows an level acceptance of their behavior. By getting away you are proving a point that this not acceptable and helps your partner realize the consequences of his her actions
Find a time to meet. Establish that this is a meeting where questions need to be answered. There is one purpose for this meeting and that is to decide whether or not the relationship can be salvage and if both partners are willing to work at it. Honesty needs to be top focus no matter how painful it may be. You can’t change what’s not acknowledged.
Build a new relationship. Because the old relationship is damaged, it needs to be let go of. Its important to look at this as a new beginning of the two of you, which can be an exciting journey if you make it one. That doesn't mean the feelings of trust are automatically restored, but it means setting new expectations in place so it can be. Go on dates again and regain the spark that brought the relationship together. And be prepared to make some changes yourself and do your part in making sure your partner feels fulfilled.
Nothing is impossible in terms of the strength of a human relationship. There are 3 components that lead to a long lasting and happy connection: Commitment, Intimacy, and Passion and finding a balance of the three. Its like riding a tricycle, you need all three wheels to function properly in order to ride smoothly, if one wheel is missing or loose or there is too much weight on one side, it’ll be a struggle to ride it for long distances. The same goes for your relationship. If both people work to keep all 3 elements existing and balanced, it can survive through even the toughest terrain.
Emotional Mojo Talk Show RECAP: Additional Tips
Believe it or not, Attachment Styles will determine if we will be unfaithful. Here are the types of attachment styles:
Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment
Fearful Avoidant Attachment
Remember: The attachment style we developed as children is based on our relationship with our parents or early caretaker.
Who’s most likely to be unfaithful? The “anxiously attached” person is more likely to “betray” in a relationship.
So, How can we forgive when we’ve been betrayed?
Ask yourself, are they worth another chance (is it worth the investment)
Give each other some space (take time to clear your head)
Find a time to meet (acknowledge the pain, explore the facts, be honest)
Build a new relationship (the old relationship must be a thing of the past)
One thing to do TODAY: COMMIT to making a choice to forgive and call your loved one today!
Authors: Jada Jackson LMHC and Danielle James, Intern