There’s no doubt, an affair is a devastating blow to a marriage.
Everything that meant so much to you has been destroyed. All seems lost.
The bleak picture of relationship ruin you see before you may leave you thinking that the betrayal is just too big – you’ll never recover from it. You feel hopeless and helpless.
Don’t give up quite yet!
It is actually possible to heal from an affair and rebuild your love. In fact, in many cases, an affair serves as a catalyst for creating a marriage that is stronger than ever before.
To be successful, you must (1) truly want to rebuild your marriage, (2) put all your focus and emotional energy into it, and (3) know exactly where to place your efforts.
7 Ways You Can Recover and Rebuild Your Love
1. End all contact with the affair partner
The unfaithful spouse must make every possible effort to assure their mate that they want to repair their relationship. First and foremost, that means ending the affair (no excuses) and committing to monogamy. This also means showing genuine empathy for the feelings of your spouse over the hurt you’ve caused. And lastly, it means you have to do some serious soul-searching to figure out why you engaged in the affair in the first place.
2. Apologize and give reassurance
Another task for the unfaithful spouse is to offer a genuine and heartfelt apology to their mate –and not just once. It is critical that you consistently reassure your spouse that you regret the hurt you caused. Thank your spouse for their courage to work toward forgiveness and rebuilding the relationship. It also calls for the betrayed spouse to make an effort to receive their mate’s apologies graciously. Even if they’re not perfect, you can show appreciation for their honest effort.
3. Let go of any resentment
The betrayed spouse must learn to truly forgive. It’s helpful to understand what the affair did and didn’t mean. For example, it doesn’t necessarily mean your spouse doesn’t love you or isn’t genuinely sorry for what they did. When your negative thoughts stress you out and make you upset, try thinking of something else or let those thoughts out by writing them down. Then, find ways to replace them with more positive things.
4. Practice honest and open communication
Both spouses must learn to tell each other how they feel without assigning blame. Of course, it’s to be expected that the betrayed spouse probably has very intense emotions. However, they must still learn to release them in a safe way. Work through them with your spouse, not against them. Listen compassionately and don’t become defensive. Telling each other the truth must be aimed toward the recovery of your love and relationship.
5. Focus on the good in your marriage
Both partners will have to make a concerted effort to find the good things in their relationship. Re-connect and re-establish your love and intimacy by maintaining contact and spending time together whenever you can. Focus on discussing the two of you, your future together. Make it your goal to let the affair become just another event in your marital history – but not the defining one.
6. Reinforce your togetherness with happy things
Do things together you liked doing when you were dating and your love was blooming. See a movie, go dancing or to parties, or find new things to do. Make sure your activities include personal interaction and bring you lots of joy. The more things you do together, the quicker you can rebuild your intimacy. Cry together when you need to, but also laugh together as often as possible.
7. Pay attention to your own needs
Recovering the love in your relationship also means you both have to give yourself the attention you need to be a mentally and emotionally healthy individual. Only then can you make your marriage healthy, too. Take time for self-care and encourage your spouse to do the same. Two healthy and happy individuals have a better chance at creating a healthy and happy marriage.
Don't Stay Stuck in The Affair
Re-write Your Future Narrative of a Faithful, Loving Marriage
Suggested Reading: After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When A Partner Has Been Unfaithful, by Janis A. Spring, PhD