7 steps to help your husband/wife heal after an affair
If you have had a marital affair, your husband/ wife has found out and you want to save the marriage, there are some key steps you will want to follow.
How you react in the first few hours to 3 months matters as this is the “trauma stage” in the healing process. If you want to keep your marriage intact then I suggest you read and follow these healing after an affair steps. You may also want to get some support to move you out of crisis into rebuilding trust, love and respect. This applies whether it is an emotional affair, physical affair or internet affair. If the betrayed husband or wife defines it as cheating then healing is needed. An affair is an attachment outside of the marital relationship. Many couples ask me does messaging count as an emotional affair or betrayal? I think as a guide for a couple moving forward is to focus on appropriateness. If you would not say or do something if your wife or husband was copied in the message then don’t say or do it.
I have devised the below from helping hundreds of individuals cope with the pain after an affair, as well as couples to come out stronger through this. Some of the below might sound basic, however, to save a relationship and become closer — grand gestures mean little, it is consistent daily action that makes all of the difference whether healing a cyber, physical or emotional affair.
Steps to Healing After A Physical or Emotional Affair
- Stop and cut ties immediately
Sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many men and women find it hard to let go or want to stay friends with the person they cheated with. Get support if you are struggling to cut contact. It goes without saying, if you continue the marriage will be even more severely damaged. Cut all ties where ever possible, obviously if you are working together this can be more of a struggle to do straight away. Something you will definitely need to work out and discuss after the affair with your husband or wife, how you will manage this.
If you fail to get this right, then pain will often continue for your spouse at a deep level. Understand and acknowledge the pain your husband or wife is going through. It makes it ten times harder for them to move on if you cannot appreciate how much hurt you have caused. In order for us to accept apologies we need to believe that we are really understood. This includes accepting that your wife or husband may see it as an affair, even if you do not. Denial of your spouse’s interpretation prevents healing from happening.
This is essential to helping your spouse heal after an affair. If you blame your spouse, circumstances or the third person, then your spouse will not be able to trust you won’t cheat again. That’s a disaster for repairing a marriage, as Trust is essential for all healthy, loving and intimate relationships. Own your actions and you will be able to recover far quicker together.
Transparency and total honesty is key. Don’t make the mistake so many men and women make of holding back information to try and “protect” their spouse after an affair. This ALWAYS back fires. Denial, lying and not sharing details is often what takes a couple closer to divorce, more so than the actual affair. I hear of cases time and time again where husbands or wives have lied to their spouses face after the affair to try to salvage the relationship, but this makes things worse. As their spouse either already knows everything and has all of the information and is waiting for them to reveal it, or they ask information and then spend nights and weeks, analyzing and investigating it to check for the truth.
Forget lying about anything. Or even withholding information. If they are not given details they assume the worse anyway. Share all information that they need to move forward, no matter how awkward you feel or how aggressive they become.
- Act to rebuild trust, love and respect
Don’t rely on words alone to save the marriage. Promises that it won’t ever happen again and that you are sorry are a great start but won’t save a marriage. It takes actions to rebuild love, trust and respect. The right actions, which I talk about in my weekly webinar. Start taking actions to become closer not only to recover after an affair but to strengthen the connection and marriage. I have several resources on this, contact me if you want more information on strengthening after an affair.
It’s common after an affair for the betrayed spouse to ask the same question again and again. They may want to check they can trust you and your story is accurate, they may want to know that you really do love them.
Recognise that it is not their wish to hurt you by this or make the relationship tense. Have compassion for them that they are most likely asking because they cannot switch off the reoccurring doubts and thoughts about your interest in them and the relationship or about what happened during the affair.
When I help a couple heal from an affair, I spend a lot of time focused on helping men and women, rid their mind of negative thoughts and painful images as well as help them to boost their confidence.
Keep in mind, that to you it might seem like they are living in the past but for them, they cannot move forward unless they can put a lid on the past. Often they are not choosing to hurt you or the relationship by repeating conversations, they are in need of closure. With their mind circling, they just need to check. If you refuse to communicate about the affair, you are stopping the healing process leaving them stuck with their negative thoughts. Often increasing stress, anger and their insecurities.
Insecurities are almost always present after an affair. Feeling unattractive, unloved and undesired is common. As well as questioning performance beneath the sheets. Reassure them with loving actions, words and your attention that they are desired, cherished and adored.
In summary aim to be as open, compassionate and caring as possible. Taking full responsibility for the heartache caused. Then look at ways to use this wake up call to strengthen your relationship. I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of couples through affairs to become closer and happier than ever before. With the right steps this can be you too.
From my heart to yours, Nicola
P.S If you are wondering is my marriage is over or not, take the free quiz here and get some support … https://training.nicolabeer.com/official-marriage-assessment
Originally published at www.savemymarriageprogram.com on June 23, 2017.