How can we cope with the aftermath of an affair?
How can an affair be forgiven?
It is vital that you both understand the real reasons why it happened. To do this you will have to talk about what had been going on between you in the time leading up to the affair. This can be very painful, but unless you know what went wrong, you won't be able to change things in the future. Be patient. Rebuilding trust that has been broken can take a long time.
What helps to mend a relationship?
- The unfaithful partner must end the affair, once and for all.
- Talk it through. This process may take days, weeks, or longer.
- Don't talk on for hours and hours - you'll just go round in circles.
- Set a time limit, and don't talk when you're tired.
- Agree to also discuss future problems, instead of just hoping they'll go away.
- Make a commitment to a new future together. Both partners must do this, and mean it.
- Find more time for each other, take more interest in each others' lives and feelings.
- Try to sort out sexual problems.
- Consider relationship counselling.
Long-term effects of an affair
Only you can decide what to do in the aftermath of an affair, and whatever you decide will not be easy. Many affairs cause havoc in a relationship that is already dogged with problems. Affairs do sometimes provoke far-reaching changes that eventually strengthen and enhance the relationship. The cost can be very high, however.
An affair can also have destructive effects on your family. Children, in-laws, friends, may all find themselves caught up in events, and perhaps having to take sides. Permanent barriers can be created. Even so, an affair does not always mean the end of your relationship. With hard work, commitment and patience, it may be possible to come through this crisis changed, but also stronger.
The key message is to understand why the affair happened, rather than running away from the reasons. Whether you stay together or part, it is crucial to gather some insights into what went wrong. Do this, and if you remain together you will have a deeper understanding of yourselves. If you part, you will know that you had the courage to face the truth, and will be better prepared for future relationships.