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Can relationships survive infidelity?

Bongiwe Mati

Infidelity in a relationship often causes emotional harm leaving the cheated partner in doubt of their place in the other person’s heart. Once it has been discovered that the one partner has been unfaithful, it often feels like the relationship will never get back to its form again.

This betrayal destroys trust and often leads to resentment in many cases. The big question many ask themselves is, can a relationship survive infidelity? The answer supplied by institutions like the Mayo Clinic, Psychology Today and Choosing Therapy is YES!

Choosing Therapy adds that, “Both people would need to work through the effects of infidelity on their relationship and individual mental health.” It continues, “the person who was cheated on typically experiences some level of betrayal trauma, depression, low self-esteem, and trust issues, while the individual who cheated will need to explore what caused them to cheat, whether they are remorseful, and potentially overcome any feelings of shame and guilt.”

Choosing Therapy offers the following tips to fix your relationship after infidelity:

  •  Talk About Why It Happened

    Having open, healthy communication in a relationship is especially important in the journey of healing from infidelity. The person who was cheated on should be able to ask what they feel they need to know in order to move forward, which may reveal painful information or details. On the other hand, the individual who cheated should be ready to be asked questions that can be uncomfortable to answer without getting defensive, stonewalling, or shutting down. Couples should identify whether this conversation benefits them and whether they should seek support from a third party, such as a therapist or spiritual leader.

  • Be Honest

    Honesty is crucial in healthy communication, but it can feel uncomfortable to share details of the affair or answer questions being asked. It might be conflicting to share information about the affair in fear of hurting the betrayed partner. At the same time, transparency creates healthier, clearer expectations and boundaries as the relationship progresses.

  • Redefine Your Relationship Boundaries

    Discussing boundaries in relationships is crucial in moving forward after infidelity, as it defines, sets, and enforces the couple’s expectations. Setting boundaries can also help manage and rebuild trust, but it is important to make sure you are holding each other accountable as well.

  •  Be Willing to Do the Work

    Both people need to commit to doing the work that needs to be done after an infidelity. The details of the work are specific to each relationship, but a clear, steadfast commitment to working through infidelity can be challenging for individuals. Make sure you and your partner are both equally committed to healing from infidelity together.

  •  Be Patient

    People usually want the infidelity recovery process to move at a different pace, but it is important that you be patient with yourself and your partner, as this process can be overwhelming. Reminding yourself that healing can take some time can help manage the differing expectations and reality.

This article first appeared on Bona