Getting Past The Affair

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People cheat on each other every day.  Your friends have done it, your neighbors are doing it as we speak, even members of the church cheat on each other.  Some scientists even theorize that humans were not designed to just have one sex partner.  Anyway that you look at it, if you ever find yourself in a committed relationship, at some point you will have to deal with the issue of infidelity.  If the relationship is worth salvaging, it will require a large amount of effort, time, and energy from both of you to put the act behind you and move on in a direction of togetherness.  I have created a brief list that will help lead you both along the path towards healing and forgiveness.

MOVING PAST THE AFFAIR
1) Reveal The WHOLE Truth.
This is an important step in the healing process. Tell the complete truth but leave out all of the extra details (ex: how big his penis was, the different ways she gave you head, etc.).  If you do not tell him/her everything, he/she will find out anyway.  So if you lie about when it started, how the two of you met, or even the places you went, he/she will become Inspector Gadget and will ultimately discover the truth.

If you get caught in a lie after the affair has been uncovered, it will be extremely difficult for him/her to EVER trust you again.

2) Acknowledge The Hurt Feelings That BOTH of You Share.
When someone cheats it is often easier to blame each other for the pain that you both experience.  Both of you have to understand that you have equally been wounded.  You have to be at this place in order to begin the process of rebuilding

Sometimes it is easier to write these things down or send them in an email.  It is OK to reveal thoughts and feelings through written words, just make sure that the two of you discuss the letters immediately after reading them.  The two of you must make verbal commitments to work through the pain or else it will never happen.

3) Explain The Feelings & Events That Led to The Affair.
Behind every affair is a reason.  The reason might be as simple as, “because I felt like it”, as complicated as, “because you never show my any affection,” or as brutal as, “because I think we got married when I was too young.”  Whatever the rationale might be, it is very important for the two of you to discuss the reasons why it happened.  If the two of you can begin to understand the “why?” behind the affair then you will increase your chances at reconciliation and forgiveness.

4) Create & Outline a Contract to Move Forward.
Things will never be the same again.  The relationship that the two of you had prior to the discussion of an affair is gone forever.  Understand that you will never be able to recreate what was; instead you will have to create something that is even more special and fulfilling that what existed in the past.

In order to truly move on you will have to leave the past behind you.  The only things that you need to bring with you from the past is 1) the mutual love that has made you decide to try to work things out, 2) the information behind the “why?” of the affair, 3) and the knowledge that it could happen again.

Sit down and draft written contracts that explicitly state what rules both of you promise to adhere to.  Each person should write their own and then the two of you can sit down and edit them together.  Eventually you will have a list of actions and standards that both parties will swear to stick to.

5) Plan a Group Visit to Your Family Physician.  The two of you should go together to your physician. Tell your doctor about the affair.  He/she will run a battery of STD checks on both of you and he/she will test you for HIV.  It is important that both of you get checked out because you never know what sexually transmitted diseases could have been passed between the two of you.  Your doctor can go over the test results and refer you to couple’s counseling if you think you need help to work through your issues.

This is an important step because it demonstrates that both of you are ready to make a fresh new start.

6) Start Back Being Intimate Soon After the Results Are In.
If you wait too long to start back touching, hugging, and kissing each other, you might lose the desire to ever do so.  If you have made a commitment to make this relationship work, intimacy is an important part of it.  Show him/her that you are still in it. . .don’t just tell them.

7) Forgive, But Don’t Forget.
The only way a relationship can recover from the sting of infidelity is if both parties forgive each other.  If you really want to continue with the relationship you have to understand that the past cannot be undone.  Things will never improve if you dwell on the past and what you shared will never blossom again if you expect the wounded partner to “just get over it,” and have instant faith in you and the relationship.  These things take time!

As you rebuild the relationship continue to look forward.  Refer back to your written contracts periodically to ensure that both of you have truly made a commitment to make it work.  Discover new hobbies and pastimes to enjoy together.  Rediscover what brought you two together in the first place.  And if it’s gonna work, YOU CANNOT DWELL ON THE PAST!

DrRachael.com

As a medical doctor and a sexologist, Dr. Rachael Ross has been heralded by the Chicago Tribune as the next Dr. Ruth, the nationally renowned sexual therapist who pioneered frank sex talk.

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