Surviving An Affair

relationship Mar 13, 2024
Surviving An Affair

If your partner has committed an act of physical or emotional infidelity, you essentially have two options: stand by your mate or kick them to the curb. You're here, reading this blog, because you've chosen or are considering the former. You want to work it out with your partner, and you're determined to put your all into making the relationship work. The first step will be rebuilding the core foundation of any healthy relationship: trust.

Defining infidelity

Infidelity isn't a single, clearly defined situation — and what's considered infidelity varies among couples and even between partners in a relationship. For example, is an emotional connection without physical intimacy considered infidelity? What about online relationships?

Keep in mind that affairs are essentially fantasies. The person outside the relationship is often idealized and seen as an escape from real problems.

Why affairs happen

Many factors can contribute to infidelity, some of which aren't fundamentally about sex. Some factors stem from individual problems, such as low self-esteem, alcoholism, or sexual addiction. Marital problems that have been building for years can also fuel an affair. Generally, a person who's having an affair:

  •  Experiences sexual attraction to someone other than their partner and decides to act on this feeling rather than suppress it.
  •  Keeps the affair going in secret by resorting to lies and deception
  •  Confides in someone other than their partner about their marital problems.
  •  Feels a stronger emotional connection romantically to someone other than their spouse.
  •  Develops unrealistic fantasies about someone other than their partner and doesn't listen to information to the contrary.

The three phases in rebuilding a relationship after infidelity

Phase 1: The Revelation Phase

This phase occurs when the infidelity becomes known, and all the emotional reactions start for both parties; this needs careful managing, pacing, and structuring.

Phase 2: The Rebuilding Phase

This phase occurs when you begin to put your life back together, whether as an individual or as a couple. To do so, practice the four R's in Rebuilding Trust After an Affair.

  1. Responsibility: Take full responsibility for the affair without rationalizing, defending, or minimizing what you did in any way.
  2. Reassure: Know that your partner will be triggered often, which is normal! It would help if you reassured them when they feel insecure or suspicious- not deny, get defensive, or storm out. Whenever you respond to your partner's insecurities defensively or angrily, rather than listening, comforting, or reassuring, you earn yourself two more months of insecurity. (Comfort sounds like, "I'm sorry you're struggling with this. Is there anything I can do to help?" Reassurance sounds like, "I know I hurt you, and I want you to know that I am committed to never do that again.”)
  3. Remorse: Show remorse, apologize, and make amends. If there is little remorse, the recovery time expands to years or sabotages the recovery.
  4. Repair: Be an open book for as long as necessary. Do not hide e-mails, tell any lies—no matter how small—and be honest even if you think your partner will react negatively. Take lying off the table!

Phase 3: The Assessment/Inventory Phase

After dealing with your personal habits or issues, discuss any problems or weaknesses in your relationship with your mate. Some affairs stem from an individual's actions or attitude toward the committed relationship, such as boredom, frustration, irritation, or love of adventure. But sometimes, one person does things that may unwittingly encourage the partner to seek solace with someone else.

Typical causes are lack of appreciation, unresolved conflict, abuse, and overwhelming responsibilities. If problems are identified, work with your mate to address them so that you can avoid future problems.d future problems.