5 Steps to Healing an Affair
There are few things that cause more damage and pain within a relationship than the betrayal of an affair. The reality is affairs happen some studies showing up to 37% of men and 22% of women admit to having cheated on their partner. Other studies show affairs impact 1/2.7 couples on average. The good news is it is possible for a relationship and the individuals to heal from an affair. Here I am going to outline 5 key steps to healing an affair.
1. Confession – This might be the hardest part, because the betrayer feels shame and guilt around the affair and does not want to hurt their partner. Confessing when the affair(s) started/ended, and who the affair partner(s) is. All affairs must be confessed, whether they were physical, emotional or online. If another affair partner is revealed down the road the betrayed partner will be traumatized all over again and the chances of repair will be extremely low.
2. Remorse – The betrayer must accept all responsibility for the affair, no excuses or reasons why. Talking about why the affair happened will come later, right now is time to take responsibility and apologize. Talking about it now will come across as blaming the betrayed partner.
3. Trauma/PTSD – Learning about an affair is a traumatic event. The betrayed partner will be traumatized when they discover the betrayal, and may experience symptoms of PTSD. This will be worsened if there was denial or gaslighting when they suspected an affair.
4. Question Period – The betrayed partner is allowed to ask questions about where, when and who the affair took place. These are not to be accusations. Just factual questions like did it happen in our house, what about those times you were working late etc. DO NOT ask about specific details about the encounters, this will cause further trauma. The betrayer must answer all questions with 100% transparency to increase the chances of staying together. It is highly recommended this process happen with a therapist to prevent further hurt and damage to the individuals and relationship.
5. 100% Transparency – As a result of the affair the betrayer forfeits their right to privacy, this is necessary for the betrayed partner to build trust. Since trust has been shattered the betrayed partner will need evidence of faithfulness, this can take many forms. Some examples of this will be they are allowed full access to the betrayers phone, emails and messages. They might need their partner to always answer their phone, or to check in several times throughout the day, see evidence they ended the affair etc. This is not meant to last forever but will be required while trust is being repaired.
These 5 steps are the beginning stages of healing from an affair. There is much more work to be done to address what led to the affair in the first place, and to start building a relationship where there is a sense of shared fondness and admiration, they are turning towards each other instead of away, know each others worlds, and manage conflict well. For more help in this healing process call 780-831-0606 or click the link to book an appointment https://restoringpeacecounselling.com/appointment-request/