How do you get over an affair and learn to trust again? When one member of a marriage partnership, or of any committed relationship, undermines and destroys the trust of the other by having an affair, it may seem to be impossible to regain trust, and that the inevitable conclusion is divorce.
But if both partners decide to work together it may be possible to repair and save the relationship, and in fact it may even be possible for them to have a stronger marriage after an affair.
Affairs are not always about sex
Affairs occur more often than one might think, and while men were often considered to be the guilty party, it has become increasingly common for women to become involved in relationships outside of the marriage. Contrary to the common expectation infidelity does not always mean getting involved in a sexual relationship with someone that is not your marriage partner.
Both men and women choose to become involved with others to fulfil a need that is being met by their partner within the marriage, be it mental, emotional or physical. Once the innocent partner has been made aware of the other partners affair, there is a deep, wounding feeling of shock and betrayal, whether they find out through their own devices or whether the guilty partner decides to confess.
So how do you get over an affair?
The adulterer needs to allow the other partner time to ‘take in’ the fact that an affair has threatened the security and trust of their marriage, process their feelings, and accept that they have been cheated on. The unfaithful partner has had the advantage of time to consider the consequences of what their affair means to the marriage, and decide how what course of action they will take should they get caught, but for the other partner it is often unexpected and a shock.
The innocent partner will go through stages of disbelief, denial, anger and eventually acceptance, which is a normal process and to be expected. For there to be any hope of both partners being able to survive an affair, the wronged partner needs to be given the necessary time it takes to work through their emotions and make a decision about whether they have any interest in repairing their marriage.
This could take days or sometimes weeks, and the guilty partner needs to be patient during this process. Once emotions have settled down, both partners need to take the time to talk things through thoroughly, in order for there to be any chance of regaining trust after an affair.
Do you want to save the marriage after the affair?
Each partner has an obligation to the other to make a decision as to whether they want the marriage to continue. If both partners are in agreement and want to fight to save their marriage, seeking professional help to work through their feelings, and learn how to regain the trust that existed before the infidelity occurred is advised.
This process could take months, or even years, so a true commitment to rebuilding the marriage is required by both partners. If one partner is in any doubt but cannot bring themselves to file for divorce, counseling may help them find the commitment to work towards repairing the marriage, or alternatively help them realize that for them the marriage is beyond saving.
If healing is to be possible and trust to be regained, the unfaithful partner must understand the devastation the affair has caused their partner, and that trust will take time to rebuild.
You can regain the trust again
Suspicion is normal and should be expected for some time, but with love, respect and a committed willingness, trust can and will build again. A need to know where the unfaithful partner is at all times is normal, and while this may be difficult for the unfaithful partner they should be understanding and helpful, until eventually trust will begin to grow.
While it may trouble the unfaithful partner to be under suspicion and questioned about where they are and what they are doing, this is a normal response from the innocent partner. In time this need will become less and the unfaithful partner can help by complying with their partner’s request for information, and never giving cause for concern.
Trust after an affair, once regained, can often make a marriage stronger, with each partner having a better understanding of each others needs, the reasons for the affair, and how to avoid problems in the future. Trust is vital to a marriage, but it is possible to regain respect and trust after an affair.
Recommended Books on Marriage
- The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
- One New Habit To Fix Your Marriage: 10 Simple Steps To Put The Joy And Intimacy Back In Your Marriage
- The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope