When your love was new, you never thought in a million years you would one day be reading an article about working through infidelity. It seemed impossible, didn’t it? The love of your life… a cheater? And now you’re left with graphic images of him and her racing through your mind, rendering you unable to even breathe properly. It feels like your heart is in a vice, and there’s a brick in your stomach.
Still, through your feelings of betrayal, depression, rejection, and disorientation, please know that there may be hope for a brighter future, with or without your cheating husband (or wife). If you think there may somehow be a chance at forgiveness and redemption, and this truly is the person you still love, then it may be worth it to try working through infidelity and re-inventing your relationship. But we’re not there yet… not even close.
In fact, this is one of the most serious and overwhelming situations you will likely ever face in your lifetime, second only to the death of a loved one (and sometimes not by much). This is a wound that simply will not heal on its own. For starters, you have questions that you need (and deserve) to have answered:
* What really happened between you and her?
* Do you love her?
* Can I ever trust you again?
* Can our love ever be as strong again?
* Do you still think about her?
* Do you still talk to her?
* Do you still love me?
* Why did you do it?
Obviously, there are many more, but you don’t need me to tell you what they are. For most victims of infidelity, these questions go unanswered. The cheating spouse almost always becomes highly defensive when asked for any details, which just adds to your hurt and frustration. And the questions compound, driving you crazier and crazier by the second.
One of the most important questions you can ask in this situation will actually be directed inward. Ask yourself what it is that you really want. YOU. Yes, you… remember that person? What do YOU want? Reassurance that you are the one and only? A heartfelt apology? Revenge? The attention you should have been getting in the first place? Complete and total honesty? Proof that it’s over between them? Whatever it is that you want, you should have no shame or reservation in demanding it.
The trickiest part of working through infidelity, at least for the great majority of women and men who find themselves in this unfortunate, emotional situation is the dynamic between themselves and their children. If you have kids of your own, you undoubtedly know what I’m talking about. Do you tell them, or keep it a secret? If you do decide to tell them, HOW should you do it? Of course, it wouldn’t be wise to “bash” the cheater, but it can take a thousand tons of willpower to hold back your raw emotions at this point in your life.
So what do you do? Just keep playing house when little eyeballs are on Mommy and Daddy, and then reverting back into your world of heartbreak, isolation, and contempt the minute they turn their heads? For parents, this will be right at the top of their list of difficuties when it comes to dealing with this betrayal. And quite honestly, this is generally too difficult for even the most well-adjusted, intelligent people on the planet to resolve. If healing is to commence, it is virtually inevitable that some sort of compassionate and knowledgeable 3rd party help must intervene.
Unfortunately, most couples working through infidelity never actually get to the point of seeking help. This often leads to divorce and severely broken homes. There are many reasons why people fail to take this critical step. Sometimes the cheater actually refuses to go, and the “couple” just end up in a big fight. Obviously, this doesn’t produce the kind of communication that is required to go forth after an affair.
If you are willing to do what it takes to repair your broken relationship, remove those haunting visions from your mind, and turn yours into the kind of home life you’ve always dreamed of, then I implore you to seek help. Unless you are an extremely rare exception to the rule, failing to get the proper help for working through infidelity will only lead to deeper resentment, greater distrust, more extreme emotional pain (or worse, absolute coldness), and ultimately the “D” word. If you refuse to accept this fate, even if just for the sake of your children, then please seek quality help immediately. BOLA TANGKAS