So you’ve had an affair – now what? You and your partner may find yourselves on a downward spiral of emotional loss, pain and confusion. Reconciliation and emotional healing are difficult, but very possible. It’s vital that you identify the error and origin of your choices, before healing can take place. Below are a few brief tips to help you respond to your relationship crisis in a dynamic and attentive manner.
1. Recognize the “what” and “how” of the breakdown between you and your partner. Change cannot occur without acknowledgement. While infidelity may be a selfish choice for some, it can also be the resulting response to neglect and abuse within a relationship. Explore the functionality of your relationship so that you can better determine how you will move forward. Is staying or leaving the best option?
2. Don’t perpetuate deception. It’s important to be honest with yourself and your partner about your next steps. Is the relationship worth saving? Is the affair over? Have you ended all contact? Do you have anything else to hide? Ongoing violating behaviors will not improve the state of your relationship; they are misleading and increasingly harmful to you and your partner. If you jointly plan to save your relationship, let your actions display your determination to progress together.
3. For affairs that are started due to monotony - be sensible. Happiness from a “new” and arousing fling with someone you share no history, children, bills or other life normality with is illusionary. A troubled relationship is not a pass to play; and affairs are not a cure for lack of interest.
4. Be mindful and fair. It’s perfectly logical to live in each moment and engage in what makes us feel good, but not when our choices are at the expense of other people’s feelings. If you believe that your relationship is beyond repair, it is ok to leave, it’s not ok to pass on hurt.
5. Is there hope? Do whatever it takes. If you want to save your relationship – it’s time for you and your partner to turn to one another for support. Experience, feel and openly discuss all emotions. Be willing to go the extra mile in rebuilding trust, security and respect. This means a long road of mutual hard work, responsibility, and honesty. Use this chance as an opportunity to reestablish commitment. If you don’t intend to reconcile - be truthful, offer closure and move forward in positivity.
6. Invest in mind health. It’s possible that you may be experiencing an emotional response to factors like: addiction, boredom, abuse, neglect or loss of interest. Take time to evaluate the link between your mind, feelings and behaviors. Whether its sex/porn addiction, suffered abuse/mistreatment, or confusion about how to reestablish a connection with your partner – there are professional resources available to help you find your way. Get the help you need, so that you can lead a life that is pleasing to you, either individually or with your partner.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.