Helping your spouse heal from your betrayal isn’t pure science. It’s even more challenging when your mind is plagued by feelings of shame, guilt, and regrets. Every time you look at your spouse and see them suffer, you see no light at the end of the tunnel. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Helping your spouse heal is a mixture of being open and honest about the betrayal while focusing on the future at the same time. It’s going to take both patience and effort but, in the long term, it can bring you both back together and roughly 40% of marriages do survive an affair. More if one spouse is actively trying to heal and move on.
Infidelity can be an opportunity to look at the issues that have been neglected in the marriage and left both partners unsatisfied. How fast spouses can heal from the infidelity depends on several factors like how serious the affair was, for how long it has been going on, if it was discovered by the husband or wife or the cheating partner has confessed, and so on.
But, mostly it depends on how both spouses hold on to each other after the revelation and work their way through this rough patch. If you shared a solid bond before the affair and your spouse wants to give you another chance to rebuild the marriage, you can certainly help them heal with your unending love and support.
Bear with me when I show you the way to alleviate your hurting partner’s pain.
How to Help a Betrayed Spouse Heal?
Use the best tool in your arsenal. What’s that you ask? It’s the way you know them to their very core. Use that expertise along with the directions I’m presenting here. Fingers crossed, you can help your betrayed spouse heal and make them happier than before,
The sooner we get started, the sooner you’re both on the road back to recovery. Keep in mind this advice is based on general things I see in a marriage dealing with betrayal (often infidelity). If you haven’t already – make sure you take the marriage assessment quiz so we can focus on your marriage and how to get things back on track quickly.
Show Them Proof!
You’ve cut ties with the other man or woman. But, your partner still seems to feel insecure and questions your integrity. Well, I know this breaks your heart but their trust has been violated and the affair has made them suspicious of your actions. Rebuilding trust takes time.
Meanwhile, show them the text you’ve sent to break the affair off. Let them check your texts, emails, and call logs. Share passwords so that they can see for themselves that you’re giving your best shot to earn their trust again. Respect their need for transparency.
Own up to Your Slip-up
No matter how many underlying causes you believe there were to make you cheat on your spouse, you need to take full responsibility for your affair. Cheating is a choice. Nobody made you do it. The faster you take responsibility for your actions, the sooner your spouse can start the healing process.
Being defensive won’t get you anywhere. Don’t blame your partner for your indiscretions. Even if you believe that they were responsible for the unhappiness or loneliness you felt which led you astray, the choice was still yours. So, accept the responsibility without trying to justify what happened.
Show Genuine Remorse (Read This!)
I can’t stress this enough. Probably the biggest thing you can do in helping your spouse heal from your betrayal is learning how to show real remorse. This is what they need.
Remorse doesn’t mean saying sorry a thousand times a day just to stop feeling guilty or to move on. If there’s one thing that can make your spouse recover from an affair more than anything, that’s true remorse. It’s when you acknowledge the pain you’ve caused them and want to lessen the burden in any way possible.
Your actions speak volumes about your repentance. True remorse entails not making excuses for the blunder and not trying to pass the buck on your partner. Don’t just say sorry and expect them to believe you right away. Include explanations for why you’re apologizing and ask how you can facilitate their healing. Then sincerely work on making reparations.
Don’t Ask for a Timeline
I’ve gone into this in more detail before when I looked at how long it takes to forgive a cheating spouse. The timeframe can vary but
It feels like they’re taking ages to recover. You have been consistently apologizing and still, they can’t forgive you. That breaks your heart and keeps you on your toes. But, as hard as it is, you can’t really ask for a timeline as to when they’ll completely recover. They need to process the pain, anger, and resentment on their own terms.
Meanwhile, you can offer them genuine apologies on a regular basis. Show them how far you’re willing to go to ease their pain. If you make them feel guilty for not recovering fast enough, you’ll push them further away. You took a vow for a lifetime, right? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other till they heal. Take professional help if necessary. A licensed therapist can guide you two through this trying time in a healthy way.
Be an Open Book
Every time your spouse starts talking about cheating, it makes you cringe. You already feel bad enough about it without them constantly reminding you of the worst choice you’ve ever made! It’s normal for you to feel uncomfortable while they can’t leave this topic alone after you’ve apologized for the umpteenth time. However, it’s crucial for them to rehash the details of the affair in order to deal with the infidelity.
So, don’t cut them off or don’t turn the conversation into a blamestorming session. Tell them whatever they want to know and don’t lie as convenient as that might seem. Your effort makes your partner feel heard and shows them how much you care to bear the shame and guilt without complaining. Your honesty will help them heal while facilitating recovery. Deflecting their questions will only raise suspicion.
Learning to rebuild trust in a marriage is a slow and consistent process. It’s also one of the most important.
Provide Validation and Reassurance
Their self-esteem took a big hit when they found out about the affair. Their mind became filled with insecurities and self-doubts. What was missing in them that you had to go to someone else? Now they need to be reminded of their value and only you can do that.
Say the ‘L’ word. Remind them how much you love them and tell them why you chose them once again after your infidelity. Don’t be dismissive of their feelings and thoughts. Acknowledge them and show that you understand why they act differently these days.
Sharing your partner’s painful experience will give them the much-needed validation they need at the moment. That’ll give your marriage a fighting chance that it badly needs.
Rekindle the Passion
Your spouse has felt betrayed and left alone in the marriage. It’s time you show them you want to reconnect with them. Schedule date nights with them. Keep your electronics away and be fully present with them. Be an active listener when they talk. Show them that this relationship is your number one priority right now.
Hold them closer and try to initiate intimacy. While they’re allowed to take as much time as needed before getting back to regular sex life, it’s important to let them know that you still fancy them. Hug them more often. Something as simple as a smile when you get home, a kiss before leaving for work, a text saying you’re thinking of them can help you ignite the lost spark in your relationship.
Make Healthy Adjustments
Your spouse might still be suspicious even when you’ve been forthright with your words and actions after the affair. So, if you want to salvage the marriage, you need to be prepared to make some changes to make them feel safe again. If, for example, you’ve cheated with a coworker, try to get transferred to another department or leave the job if you have to.
If your job keeps you away from your spouse just as it did before the affair, you risk making them feel insecure. Since they won’t take your words at face value anymore, try changing jobs if possible. Find one that allows you to invest more time in the relationship. It doesn’t have to be this way forever.
But, your relationship will get stronger if you can commit to doing whatever it takes until your partner heals. Figure out what led you astray and work toward improving your relationship together. Your spouse also needs to understand that you can’t keep the flame burning alone and need their help to restore the broken marriage.
Your marriage has become an emotional roller coaster for you. You have been trying so hard to mend it and while one day it looks like you are making progress, the next day your spouse is feeling broken like day one. Did all your efforts go in vain? Is there no way to ever go back to normal?
I know you feel this way because seeing them hurting is heartbreaking. But you can’t really give them an ultimatum to heal. Recovering from an affair doesn’t work that way. They need your patience and unwavering support every step of the way.
Don’t feel frustrated over these minor setbacks while you’re on your way to a more meaningful relationship with the love of your life.
Take Care of Yourself
You’re wondering where did that come from? We’re talking about healing your spouse here, right? Here’s the catch. To support your partner more efficiently, you need to make self-care a priority. Because taking care of yourself will allow you to be more emotionally available and patient with your spouse.
Read that again if you need to. Meet your own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs as well as your spouse’s. You can’t pour from an empty cup. So schedule a meet-up with your squad, talk to people who have always been there for you. If your spouse gets insecure about that, ask your friends to come for dinner or a game at home.
When you’re more balanced and rested, you communicate better. Learn to forgive yourself for your indiscretion. You need to recover from the shame, guilt, and hurt that your betrayal provoked as well. Only then you can show up as the best version of yourself to win your beloved partner over again.
Create New Memories Together
The memories you had together before the infidelity has been tainted by your betrayal. Your spouse gets triggered whenever you talk about them. Replace them better yet, create new memories together.
Plan a trip just for the two of you. Make them fall in love with the amazing human being they fell in love with in the first place. Shower them with your love and affection to remind them how much you two have built together.
Recovering from an affair is challenging and it takes both partner’s consistent dedication and hard work. However, if and when you succeed, you will find yourself blessed with a more satisfying relationship than you’d ever imagined. Keep walking toward that and don’t fall into despair when things get hard.