Breaking Down Your Walls After Infidelity

A couple discusses the infidelity in their relationship to a therapist in order to heal

Is it possible to come back from cheating?

Key takeaways:

  • Infidelity causes heartache and devastation that fractures the foundation of any marriage or relationship.

  • It is possible for a relationship to survive infidelity. It requires both partners to be committed to authentic healing without tearing each other down.

  • After infidelity, it’s important to take some time to heal, rebuilt trust, admit guilt, and learn how to forgive.

  • Some marriages become even stronger with deeper levels of intimacy and commitment after an affair.

  • Professional therapy can be an integral part of mending and healing a marriage or intimate relationship after infidelity.

For many couples who experience infidelity, it’s over as soon as the cheating partner gets caught or admits guilt. The cheated-on partner will often say something like “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” and the former couple parts ways never to connect again. Some couples, however, decide to take the journey back from infidelity together and choose to remain in the relationship. With patience, healing, and learning, they’re able to move forward as a couple, nurture their love for each other, and regrow a meaningful and healthy long-term relationship. We explain how you can come back from infidelity, begin to forgive your partner, and repair the relationship.

The definition of infidelity varies

When it comes to infidelity, the concept is not clearly defined by a single situation, and the idea of what constitutes it varies among couples. For example, one partner in a relationship may consider an emotional connection without physical intimacy infidelity, while the other partner considers this emotional unfaithfulness to be harmless. The partners in a committed relationship must define for themselves what signifies cheating.

The steps to Promote Healing

When people discover what they believe to be infidelity in a relationship, it’s normal to experience intense feelings of betrayal, despair, hopelessness, fear, and anger. Recovering from an affair is one of the most challenging things you can encounter in life. It is possible, though. Here are some tips to cope and recover:

  • Take some time to process the infidelity

Before deciding whether or not to continue your relationship, take the necessary time to heal and understand the circumstances behind the affair. This is not a rash decision to make at the height of emotional struggles. Give yourself some space to try and process your intense feelings. Avoid all social media and any emotionally draining discussions as you begin the healing process.

  • Don’t blame yourself

Feelings of betrayal often ruin self-esteem and leave a partner feeling unworthy of love. It’s critical that a partner who is cheated on does not blame themselves but rather practices self-love and self-care.

  • Practice accountability

If you were the unfaithful partner, take responsibility for your indiscretion. End the affair and stop all interaction or communication with the person you were unfaithful with.

  • Seek support from different sources

Get help and support from nonjudgmental, understanding friends and family. Seek their words of comfort and share your experience with them. Clergy and spiritual leaders can also be an important resource at this difficult moment in your life.

  • Consult a therapist

During this time of relationship hardship and unrest, it is highly beneficial to seek direction from a licensed therapist specifically trained in couples therapy and experienced in working through infidelity. Professional therapists help put the infidelity into perspective, work to identify issues that may have contributed to the affair, seek to rebuild your relationship, and avoid divorce. With a focus on the infidelity, couples therapy can help fix communication problems, intimacy, and sex-related concerns in the relationship.

  • Restore trust

After an affair, there are usually extreme feelings of anger, hurt, and confusion. The cheater often feels embarrassed, conflicted, ashamed, and guilt-ridden. The partner who was cheated on starts to re-trace the history of the relationship and wonder what else was a lie. The couple’s worlds are unraveling in different ways. While one partner shared intimacy with someone else, the other partner’s loving trust has been shattered.

During this time of reconciliation, it’s important to restore trust. If you were the unfaithful partner in the relationship, then admit guilt and pursue genuine forgiveness. Don’t deny or minimize the infidelity but own it. Work hard to make your partner feel safe and loved in the relationship again.

Likewise, if your partner was unfaithful, show your commitment to fixing the fracture in the relationship once you’re ready. Try to offer forgiveness and seek understanding. Show your remorseful partner that you’re willing to consider giving them a second chance. Accept that you cannot change what happened but know you can grow from it and heal together as a couple. The hurt will start to lessen day after day and leave space for rebuilding.

Moving forward together

Once it’s mutually agreed that a couple wants to work to come back together after infidelity, communication is critical. Both parties must express their concerns and not tear each other down.

Staying calm is easier said than done but will helpful. At the beginning of the road to recovery, there will be the urge to create a wall of protection as a defense mechanism; the cheating partner broke the intimate and inherent trust in the relationship. Identifying and dismantling these walls is not easy and a therapist will be able to coach you both through the process.

Building a conscious relationship

Neither partner will want further trauma in the relationship, so guidelines must be set up so that information unfolds carefully, completely, and accurately. Both partners must agree not to immediately act on feelings of despair.

Relationships do not heal quickly after an affair. Sometimes, it can take years to repair the hole that infidelity has caused. Be patient, take care, and seek professional help from Love Discovery. During this time of healing, it is important to embrace your unique love story and break from any destructive relationship patterns.

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