Can a relationship be saved after a partner strays? It’s one of the hardest questions a couple can face. It’s different for every couple. What kind of bonds are still in place after an affair varies with each relationship. What is a deal breaker for one couple may not be the same for another. What if there are kids? Do the rules change then?
So the big question, can you rebuild a relationship after an affair? I say yes. I say it can be done. I say it is possible. There are hard parts, like can you ever trust your mate again. There are difficult feelings surrounding guilt and remorse and there is the mystery of forgiveness. Is it possible?
If you are in a relationship, will you want to fix the rupture or will you want to be done with the relationship because you are in such pain? Could you consider that this could be an opportunity for a deeper connection with the one who hurt you?
When couples go through a crisis they turn inside out. It’s an earthquake of the highest magnitude. There is no one right way to whether a catastrophe in your relationship. There are however, techniques and tools to help you find a way through the trauma, repair the relationship and rebuild it into something even better.
Most of us grow up believing that true love means fidelity. Most couples prize this above all else. If a partner has an affair it is seen as an affront and grounds for separation. That is the pattern for most couples.
Sometimes the couples decide to work through the crisis and seek counseling. I see this moment as a unique opportunity to create understanding of each other in a way unknown to the couple before the incident. This understanding and awareness is not available before going through something like this. It is also the key to being good partners in the future.
When there is an affair, chances are the person who strayed has felt isolated or disconnected from their partner, maybe for a long time. In counseling the person who strayed begins to understand his or her part; what was happening to them before they left the relationship, what they needed from their mate that they couldn’t ask for. This understanding of buried feelings is one of the keys to rebuilding the relationship. When the person who strayed begins to understand what led them to wander, then they become aware of the pain they caused their mate. This leads to true feelings of remorse.
The person who was cheated is often filled with anger and rage. It’s not uncommon for the faithful mate to want to know details of the affair. This part is best done inside a counseling session. It’s important for the injured party to feel heard, and curiosity is a natural component of the healing process. But true healing occurs when the person who strayed understand the pain they caused in his or her mate. When the person who injured the other realizes what they’ve done to the person they love, that’s when true healing can occur, for both.
No one ever wants to go through this in a relationship. And if it happens it is possible to survive it and even thrive.
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