Stages of Recovery For Infidelity
To support you with the stages of recovery from infidelity, take time to follow the key points listed below. Healing after an affair takes time, work, and extreme discipline by both partners.
Stage 1 of healing after an affair.
Discovery Of Infidelity.
The first stage of recovering after an affair starts with the discovery.
This stage focuses on ending the affair and learning what happened. It is vital to the success of healing and recovering for you who committed the affair to cut all ties and commit to vulnerability, honesty, transparency, and positive change.
Stage 2 of healing after an affair.
Understanding and Reaction.
This stage has three core sections:
- Emotional roller coaster, which has you experiencing a range of high to low intense emotions.
- Understanding why the affair took place and related details.
- Grieving for the loss of the relationship or the timeline in the relationship connected to the affair.
Stages 3 of healing after an affair.
Addressing The Issues By Working Together
This has three core sections:
- Identifying and working to resolve issues in the relationship that are connected to the affair.
- Identifying and working to resolve issues in the relationship that may not be directly connected to the affair, but nevertheless are present.
- Evaluating forgiveness and reconciliation.
Stage 4 of healing after an affair.
Building Commitment and Growth.
During this process, you enter with the highest level of commitment to moving forward together in life. The affair, though damaging, provided an opportunity of growth to you and the relationship. This stage continues the process of growth by focusing on a new beginning.
Keys To Healing After An Affair
1. After the discovery of the affair is mindful to not put unhealthy pressure on your relationship, yourself or your partner. An example of unhealthy pressure is expecting that the relationship will be perfect from now on or that you need to just get over it. A healthy expectation is to make the decision to actively engage in relationship exercises aimed at improving the relationship or to accept that there will be triggers and part of the healing process is learning to navigate them.
2. Do not compare yourself to the betrayal partner. This in no way will help you heal or move forward. Be mindful that one of the key reasons the relationship is where it is at is because a third person was invited in. As such, it is extremely harmful to the relationship and your life to bring back the third person by engaging in comparison.
3. Show up in each of the love languages as best as possible. I completely understand that it is challenging to provide quality time, physical touch, or any other love language after the affair. You may feel distant and closed off. You may feel hurt and in a state of wanting to protect yourself. When the decision is made to not receive or provide a love language, the act starves the relationship. No one likes the feeling of starving. It hurts and often creates an ongoing disconnect in the relationship. I simply want you to consider this and to begin one step at a time working to receive and provide the love languages.
4. It is vital to talk about triggers after the affair. Triggers are variables or things that may cause you to feel or experience an unwanted symptom. For instance, let’s say that when you see your partner pick up the phone at night and walk into the bathroom this causes you to feel insecure, angry, and distant. The trigger is connected to the affair details where your partner’s affair started on the phone through social media. The purpose of knowing your triggers is to increase your awareness of what causes you to experience unwanted feelings.
5. When only one partner is accountable for doing the work, the relationship is going in the wrong direction. So here is the truth that you need to hear. The relationship will not heal and grow if only one person is doing the work. Here is what I see at times when working with couples after an affair. First, the discovery takes place. Second, the partner who cheated is blamed. Which to a degree makes sense. Third, fourth, fifth, and so on. The partner that cheated is in the “doghouse” day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. They are showing up in the relationship doing everything they can to make the relationship work. While the partner that is betrayed is in the position of authority. My friends, this is poison to the relationship. It will lead to resentment not healing. No one wants to show up in a space where they are treated less than others.
6. Healing after an affair only works if both partners fully commit to the healing and growth process. You read that right. I completely understand that one person did the act. What I want you to shift your focus to is that there are two people in the relationship. Each has to commit to giving and receiving love. This means that each has to commit to the healing and growth process.
7. Together review the timeline of the relationship. You are going to find gold nuggets that hold a sense of hurt to them. This process is not about blaming, attacking or being defensive. It is your commitment to the relationship. After all, you are the one wanting to heal your life and relationship. So here is the hard truth. This process of reviewing the timeline of the relationship is going to uncover some really important things. You may find out that intimacy was lacking, or one person struggled with confrontation. The goal is to learn and grow. Do not use this space to judge or criticize.
8. Healing does not take place when partners continue to speak to each other and treat each other in a negative manner. Such as continuing to treat your partner as a “cheater” after the affair. This right away teaches your partner how you view them and will often lead to further separation. At the end of the day, no one wants to be in a relationship where they are seen as an antagonist.
9. Start slow with giving and receiving love. You may notice that after the affair you are distant from your partner. You may not want to have sex or even hug them. With this in mind, we know that to have a healthy and successful relationship there must be active work in the love languages. Simply means that we do not want to deprive the relationship, you or your partner, of love. With this in mind, you can begin a slow and steady process of giving and receiving love.
For more reads on healing after an affair check out the links below:
- Understanding Why The Affair Took Place
- How To Navigate and Heal After An Affair
- 10 Questions That Help Relationships Heal After An Affair
- Counseling Exercises For Infidelity And How Therapy Can Help
- 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationship
- Building Trust and Healing In a Relationship
- Book: Healing After an Affair