Updated: Apr 11
You might have already read our blog post on whether we believe it's possible to repair a relationship after infidelity (Can You Repair A Relationship After Infidelity).
After having counselled over 2,500 gay and lesbian couples, we have found that it is possible.
Because even good people in good relationships can make mistakes.
But as with everything else in life, it's easier said than done.
That's why we've set out 9 helpful tips on how to get over betrayal.
Most of them come from Shirley Glass' book, Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Fidelity, an excellent resource for getting over an affair.
Tip #1. The cheating partner must get rid of all mementos of the affair.
In order to move past the affair, the unfaithful partner must get rid of all physical reminders of it. This includes gifts, photos, even household furniture or vehicles that may have been violated by the affair.
This not only helps the party cheated on to feel a renewed sense of commitment to the relationship, it also prevents either partner from reliving elements of the affair itself or its aftermath.
Tip #2. The cheating partner must make a final farewell.
The end of the affair cannot be left uncertain or ambiguous (for example, just ghosting the extramarital partner); otherwise, it's impossible for the party cheated on to believe the affair has indeed ended.
The cheating party must send an unequivocal, clear message of finality to the third party that the extramarital relationship is over.
And the rationale for its end must not be out of duty ("for the children"), but rather because the cheating party has recommitted to his or her partner out of love for them.
Note here that it's helpful to have the party cheated on present during this goodbye phone call or written/email correspondence. This provides all parties, particularly the offended partner, concrete evidence the affair is truly over.
Tip #3. Put up a cement wall between the unfaithful partner and the third party.
Under no uncertain terms, all contact with the extramarital party must end.
Tip #4. Full disclosure must be made.
The partner cheated on likely has many questions about the affair. In order to move beyond it, the cheating party must answer every single one of these questions.
And it's essential to be completely open about the details of the affair. When left to fill in the blanks, our imaginations come up with far worse than reality ever could.
That said, a word of caution on inquiring about explicit sexual details. Knowing them may cause more harm than good to the relationship.
Tip #5. The couple must work together to repair wounds and flashbacks.
It's important that the unfaithful party not minimize the pain of their partner or avoid talking about the affair.
It is only by working through the consequences of the affair - together - that a couple can make it through.
Tip #6. Move forward with no secrets between the couple.
The cheating partner should not speak mistruths, even if they believe (erroneously) that they're protecting their partner from pain by doing so.
That's because even the smallest white lie can sabotage the healing process and send a couple straight back to Ground Zero.
Tip #7. The boundaries of the relationship must be respected.
New, safer patterns concerning people outside the relationship must be set out and adhered to. This does wonders in preventing the potential for any extramarital interest to develop.
Tip #8. The cheating party must be held accountable.
For a period of time, the unfaithful partner will need to answer to his or her partner. It will take time for trust to be regained and built up, so consider it the cheating partner's duty to give details on where they are or what they were doing on any particular day, if that's what the offended partner needs.
Tip #9. After healing has taken place, autonomy is a must.
The partner who was offended must relearn trust if the relationship is to proceed in a healthy manner. This means that space must be given to their partner to choose commitment, choose partnership, and choose the right path. In order to get trust, one has to learn to give it.
Still need help getting over an affair?
Much can be accomplished to get over infidelity with the help of a seasoned, trained couples therapist.
If you'd like some help getting your relationship back on track, apply and schedule a call today.