You recently discovered your partner had an affair, and what you once thought of your relationship is forever changed. Maybe you just discovered the affair hours ago, or maybe you have been grappling with the news of infidelity for months. Either way, what to do about the relationship is likely still looming over you. The following are some critical, core questions you want to ask yourself. You will want to ask yourself these questions every few weeks to assess how you are feeling about the relationship in real time.
The most important question to ask yourself: “Do I even want to stay in this relationship?” Assuming your partner makes all of the changes you are asking for: “Did he/she just cross a boundary that is a non-negotiable for me? Can I financially afford to walk away right now, or do I need some time to finish school/look for the right job?” “What do I need from myself, others, my partner, in order to stay in this marriage and work through this betrayal?” Working through partner’s affair takes time, and can be challenging, which is why it is helpful to explore the reasons to work on the relationship, as well as identify the obstacles that concern you.
Regardless of the decision you make relationship about your relationship, you will have good days, and you will have bad days. Some days you will feel confident in the decisions you have made regarding the relationship. Other days you will be full of self-doubt and possibly regret, even if you have the most apologetic partner who is now doing all of the right things. However, if you are having bad days and regret because your partner isn’t taking the right steps, you want to reassess your decision and ask yourself “What am I getting out of staying?” Identifying exactly what you want from this point on will give you an end goal to focus on and motivate you to keep doing the hard work. For example, if you decide your goal is to repair the trust and love with your partner, you need to continue to remind yourself and your partner of what your goal is. This will keep you motivated in moving forward towards a stronger relationship, rather than stuck in the past. The goal can only work if you and your partner are both on board. For example, if your partner isn’t being transparent with you about his/her current efforts to stay faithful to you and not repeat old habits, but your end goal was to repair your relationship and restore trust, obviously your partner isn’t committed to the plan. You can’t save your relationship on your own, and you may need to reevaluate your goal and develop a plan that is more feasible and respectful to you. When both individuals in a relationship are working together to restore and repair their relationship, having a focus goal will help you manage the occasional self-doubt, as well as possible negative feedback from opinionated family and friends.
Healing from an affair in your relationship takes time. There will be ups and downs in the process. You may want to consider finding your own individual therapist as you go through this journey. Having your own therapist who has experience working with infidelity can serve as your own support, and help you organize your many thoughts and emotions around the affair. Reach out today: (610) 608-0390 to schedule with Aimee Wood, LCSW.