The actual numbers vary from one study to another, but infidelity is common. The number of married people that have cheated varies from 25% to 70%, depending on the study cited. Regardless of the frequency of infidelity, there’s no doubting the pain it can cause. Many intimate relationships have been destroyed by infidelity.
But some couples are able to overcome infidelity and create an even stronger relationship in the process.
Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship:
1. Focus on the positive. How you feel about your partner and the situation is largely determined by your focus. Spend five minutes each day writing down what you appreciate about your partner. You’ll notice that your feelings will change after a week or two. This is a good exercise to continue for the rest of your life.
2. Determine why the infidelity occurred. Was it a lack of attention? Boredom? Something else? By determining the cause, you can take steps to decrease the likelihood of infidelity happening again in the future. There are no guarantees, but you can stack the odds in your favor.
3. Spend time together on enjoyable activities. It’s important to find things that you both enjoy. Sharing time together while doing something that you both enjoy can increase the positive feelings between the two of you. Find a way to laugh and smile.
4. Build trust together. What do you need in order to trust your partner again? Does he need to find a job with another company in order to create space between him and the other woman? Does your wife need to stop drinking excessively with her friends? Would attending couple’s therapy show a commitment by your partner and build trust?
- Consider what you require to feel comfortable moving forward.
5. Let go of the need to know the details. It’s natural to want to know the gory details. Where did they meet when they got together? How frequently did they spend time together? Of course, you’re curious. But what will you accomplish? Having a clearer picture only makes your imagination more active and increases the negative feelings.
6. Make plans for a new relationship that’s better than ever. It’s like buying a new house. You can buy a house that takes into consideration everything you liked and didn’t like about the old house.
- You can’t change your partner, but you can change your relationship. What changes would you like to see? What would you like to keep the same?
7. Recommit to the relationship. This applies to both of you. It’s necessary to make the relationship a priority. Without a strong commitment by both parties, the outlook isn’t good.
8. Give yourself time. You can’t expect to shrug off an incident of cheating within two days. It can take months or even years before the painful feelings go away. Be patient with yourself and ask your partner to be patient, too.
9. Give couple’s therapy a try. Sure, it’s uncomfortable for both of you. However, you’ll have the guidance of a trained expert with a lot of experience on the topic. It’s hard to deal with something when you lack experience. The more you’re struggling to forgive your partner, the more therapy can help.
Infidelity is common, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence for a relationship. It is possible to overcome infidelity and build a better and stronger relationship. Build trust and spend positive time together. Remind yourselves of the good times. Remember that professional help is available if needed.