Learning how to get over being cheated on and stay together probably feels like the hardest thing ever. You’re skeptical of the relationship you’ve built over the years and wondering if this can ever go back to normal. You’re in so much pain that you don’t feel like believing that it’ll ever go away.
Roughly 40% of marriages overcome being cheated on (more if one partner is actively trying). It’s going to take brutally accepting the truth and dealing with the root of the problem before trying to move beyond it.
Fortunately, as long as partners are willing to forgive each other and commit to staying together, the relationship can weather any challenge that comes along the way. Your spouse needs to realize the gravity of the affliction that they’ve put you through when they cheated on you. They need to put into extra effort to help you walk past it.
But since this relationship is a two-way street, it demands you to be open to holding your side of the bargain up as well if you want to move on.
Now let’s focus on how you can get over cheating and get your marriage back on track.
Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Cheating?
I’m going to make the assumption that the cheating is out in the open at this point. If you haven’t spoken about it, you need to start with getting your spouse to tell the truth about cheating before you can move on.
Yes, your relationship can go back to normal after your spouse has cheated on you. Provided your cheating partner is willing to cooperate and both of you’re devoted to doing the heavy lifting and going the extra miles, the relationship can get even stronger than before.
Note: It can certainly seem like you’re the only one who wants to save the marriage at times. If you’re the only one trying you can still save your marriage but it’s going to mean you doing more of the heavy lifting for the moment. If you’d like to tell me what you’re dealing with I can try and give more specific advice.
But, that won’t happen overnight and surely can’t happen when you’re still suffering from the insufferable pain your spouse has caused. Let’s find out what can be done to alleviate the pain so that you can walk toward a happy relationship again.
Don’t Suppress Your Emotions
You’re feeling an array of emotions and don’t even know what to do with them. You feel violated, betrayed, and angry. Many people try to keep a mask on and don’t show the entire world how brokenhearted they are. While I’m not suggesting you drop the ball in the quarterly meeting, I’d recommend you work through your feelings.
Don’t push them back inside and act as nothing happened. Acknowledge that the infidelity left you devastated and you’re allowed to feel the way you’re feeling. You need to start naming your feelings so that you can move forward with the healing. Is it guilt? Shock? Hatred? Experience these emotions and deal with them. That’s the stepping stone to survive infidelity.
Stop Blaming Yourself
Affairs tend to hurt your self-esteem and worth. You start questioning yourself. All the could have, should have, and what if keep making you feel like this is all your fault. Let me tell you that you’re not to blame for your partner’s infidelity. It’s a choice that they made.
While your spouse can’t justify the affair that put your relationship in jeopardy, they can explain why they did it. That can put your mind at ease. People cheat for a lot of reasons. Even if it feels like the underlying causes that made your spouse do it were your fault, don’t beat yourself up for their actions.
Acceptance Is the Only Way Out
If you’re serious about figuring out how to get over being cheated on and stay together then you’re going to need to accept what happened. I’ve seen what happens when couples try to cover it up and pretend it never happened.
It’s only natural for you to be in denial after you’ve discovered your partner has cheated on you. It’s your defense mechanism trying to protect you. But after the initial shock, you need to accept that the affair has happened. Your partner loves you but they made a godawful blunder. They made a poor choice and there’s no way denying it.
You can’t change what happened by saying or thinking that it was nothing or didn’t mean anything. Denial certainly helps keep you stay sane after the gut-wrenching pain your partner has inflicted upon you. Because it allows you not to deal with it all at once. But, recovering from an affair entails having the courage to face the reality and deal with it.
Take a Time-out
It might feel incredibly hard to be even in the same room with your spouse after they cheated on you. The lies they have told, the way they’ve broken your trust make it impossible to act rationally around him. You might end up hurting the fragile relationship even more when you’re still processing the pain. Take space and time from him to gain perspective.
Even if your spouse wants you to heal faster so that they can stop feeling guilty, you need to take as much time and space you need to figure out what you want to do now. That way you won’t make any rash decision that you’d end up regretting later.
Swallow the Bitter Pill!
When you have taken enough time to process the trauma after the revelation of infidelity, talk to your spouse. Ask them about the affair and get answers to everything you want to know. They’d have to be prepared to support you throughout the conversation even though they feel uncomfortable being put on the spot.
If they tell you the truth, show how remorseful they are, and promise to never break your heart like that again, you can start thinking about ways to repair the damage. Don’t let anybody decide what you want to do about the relationship. Don’t let them determine if you’re staying together or not. It’s your call. Communicate openly and honestly before reaching a decision.
Find a Sense of Control Again
After the affair, you must’ve felt like a victim of your cheating partner’s impulses. You had no control over that life-altering episode. The next step to move forward is to regain a sense of control. Let go of the feeling that you could do something differently to prevent this.
Your cheating spouse needs to help you rebuild trust by giving you the control. While they do that, be prepared to take it from them. If that means a change in relationship dynamics, they have to be ready to let that happen. If being in constant touch helps you, they have to keep pouring reassurance along with giving you all the passwords and keeping you in the loop. Don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Be the Bigger Person
You decided to forgive a cheating spouse, if that wasn’t big enough then what is? Make sure you’re not trying to get even by cheating on them even if retaliation feels like the only way to feel better. You also need to be empathetic on your day to day lives to establish a healthy relationship. Don’t hold the affair over their head. Every time you two have a disagreement, don’t throw this at your cheating spouse to have an edge. Don’t humiliate them as tempting as that might sound.
I’m not telling you that it was okay for them to betray your trust. Because it wasn’t. But, when they’re trying to make reparation to move ahead, you should try to forgive them. You wouldn’t give them another chance if you didn’t love them. So, I’m reminding you that a betrayer tends to feel plagued by shame and guilt as well. Just by appreciating their effort, you can make a huge difference.
Don’t Talk About It All the Time
Even if you feel like talking about the affair every time it starts to bother you, refrain from it. Since you chose to give your spouse another chance and stay together, dwelling in the past will only do more harm than good. If you keep talking about it, neither of you can move past the infidelity to heal and restore the trust. Apparently you need to rehash the details quite a few times in the beginning.
Make sure your spouse understands why that’s necessary for you. Because you can’t recover without their help and it’s hard for them to support you if they think you’re bringing it up to humiliate them. Involve a licensed therapist or a good friend if you two can’t work it out. Schedule a time to talk about it on a regular basis to effectively deal with the trauma caused by infidelity.
Be Brave Enough to Seek Help
You need your support system around when dealing with something as serious as a spouse’s betrayal. Even if your spouse wants to keep this between you, make them understand that repressing your emotions will only make things worse. Reach out to your parents or best friend. These people always had your back and you feel safe around them.
Going to a marriage counselor is a great idea so that you can be guided through this trying time. Because of its unbiased nature, both partners feel comfortable working with a counselor while they process their emotions. If it’s your spouse’s idea, don’t shut them off. You both decided to work together on this, remember?
Take Care of Yourself
You don’t feel like getting out of bed. Your heart is shattered and you want to shut everyone out. But in order to heal, you need to put yourself first now. Do you want to visit your family? Take a trip with your friends? Spend some time alone? Do whatever you believe would make you happy.
Make time to indulge in a hobby. Let that take your mind off the constant pain you’re dealing with. Eat well, exercise, and sleep regularly. You’re stronger than you think and you’ll get over being cheated on with regular doses of self-love and care.
If you’d like to get into the details of your marriage, take a few minutes to tell me what you’re going through.
Does Infidelity Pain Ever Go Away?
Note: If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at timeframes I’ve covered how long it takes to forgive a cheating spouse in more detail.
I’ve got good news for you. I have seen couples recovering from infidelity and making the relationship work even when one partner was on the brink of walking out of the door. It doesn’t happen overnight but bit by bit you will heal. Research shows that a year isn’t long enough when we’re talking about healing from an affair. It generally takes 18 months to 2 years for the pain to go away. Don’t concentrate on how fast you’re recovering. Putting a time limit on healing will only make it harder.
Recovering from an affair isn’t a straightforward procedure. But there are ways to facilitate it. If your spouse shows the willingness to rebuild the trust while showing genuine remorse, you stand a better chance to heal sooner than later. They need to understand that their betrayal completely changed who they were in your eyes before. With their help and your determination to walk past the affair, you stand a good chance of rebuilding the relationship.
You won’t immediately get back where you were before they cheated. You have to stand on the ashes of the old relationship while you work hard to rebuild the new one. You might think that your spouse needs to do it alone since it wasn’t you who risked it in the first place. But marriages barely work that way. Both partners need to take responsibility and work together to fix it.
Forgiveness takes time. But, when you finally start letting go of the resentment and start forgiving your spouse, the pain starts fading away.
Learning how to get over being cheated on and stay together is hard but, if you’re here, then it’s worth the effort in the long run. I’ve seen couples come back from this and even go on to become better than they once were.