Affair healing Blog
Healing Steps of the Involved Partner
The healing of a marriage/relationship after an affair is not a passive process. There is no recovery conveyor belt to carry you from one stage to the next. The only way to reach your preferred destination is by walking the right path, step by step.
Couples who hope to heal together can expect to stumble. A lot. They will need to frequently adjust their footing to get back in sync. Knowing their desired destination can only be reached by taking the difficult journey together, both partners must cooperate in their efforts.
Consider the steps the Involved Partner (the one who had the affair) must take to help their relationship heal...
Disclosure: The recovery process is significantly enhanced when an affair is disclosed before it is discovered. If it has already been discovered then provide a quick admission rather than denial or half-truths. This is not necessarily the time to confess every detail, but it is important to be honest about the basic facts of the infidelity. (Partner's Related Step: Discovery)
Remorse: Your partner will have deep emotional reactions to your betrayal. Instead of becoming cold or defensive, you need to take inventory of yourself and take responsibility for the injury you have caused. If you are not experiencing significant sorrow and regret, you need to take a more honest look at what you have done. Your response needs to move from your head to your heart. (Partner's Related Step: Trauma)
Empathy: As your partner moves out of trauma, they will continue to deal with ongoing pain. You must be willing to be curious about their point-of-view and to connect with what they are feeling. The willingness to establish and explore an emotional connection to their pain will provide present comfort and increase the likelihood of future intimacy. (Partner's Related Step: Pain)
Honesty: Truthfulness should be viewed as an ongoing commitment, not just a momentary confession. If you hope your partner will accept you at your word, you must remain consistently honest about your past actions, your present behavior, and your future expectations. (Partner's Related Step: Acceptance)
Restitution: If you are serious about accepting responsibility for your betrayal, you will recognize a price needs to be paid. Although you cannot undo the past, you must be willing to do whatever is necessary to “make things right” again. (Partner's Related Step: Forgiveness)
Trust-Building: You cannot expect your partner to trust again until you have demonstrated your trustworthiness. You will need to take the necessary time (months/years) to act in ways that earn back trust. (Partner's Related Step: Trust-Giving)
Related Post: The Healing Steps of the Injured Partner
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Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.