“What if my partner cheats again?”
“Can we ever get back the relationship we had before?”
“How do we re-establish ourselves as a couple?”
“What if we can’t make it work and we have to split up?”
It may seem like your future is very uncertain and dependent on so many factors, and while you cannot control every variable as you enter your life post-affair, you can control your beliefs and behaviors. Both you and your partner choosing to commit to making your relationship work will provide you with a great head start toward your future together, but if you are not there yet, hopefully discussing the future will increase your clarity and willingness to commit to trusting each other again.
An Open Communication Channel
By now, you have heard from many different sources the importance of communication, but do not let your familiarity with the topic deter you from spending a significant amount of time setting up an effective and worthwhile communication channel with your partner.
You should be able to easily discuss and prioritize everyday items such as your child’s upcoming field trip and deeper topics such as your temptation to visit that website where you get into trouble. If you are having a weekly “family business” or “check-in” meeting outside of couples therapy, be sure to guard that time against interruptions or postponements and be open and honest if you or your partner need to ask tough questions.
A Rewarding and Meaningful Relationship
Perhaps when you read this subtitle, you rolled your eyes and thought “yeah, right!” But give your relationship a chance to surprise you, in a good way. Just as a tree’s roots grow deeper and stronger by weathering a mighty storm, your relationship with your partner has the potential to become deeper and stronger than ever before by working through the aftermath of this infidelity together, on the same team rather than as adversaries.
As difficult as it may be to believe, your experience of growth, reconciliation, and healing may provide you with the opportunity to help other couples in the future find hope and guidance. In fact, maybe you know of a couple who has gone through a similar journey who you could reach out to for support and encouragement as you continue along your journey. There is strength in community.
Though a majority of couples are able to find hope and healing by committing to reconciling with each other, perhaps in your situation too much damage has been done or your partner decides to leave you for their affair partner. This can be devastating if you are not on the same page, or even if it is a mutual decision, but it does not always have to be so. Do your best to leave things on cordial terms, especially if children or other family members are going to be profoundly affected. In that case, be sure to set up guidelines and boundaries for family communications between households, never making the children feel like they have to take sides. Only you and your partner know what will work best for you, and be willing to alter your agreements or boundaries as time passes and things change. Do your best not to speak negatively about each other, and hopefully, you will find a way to remain civil for the rest of your lives.
Hopefully, you and your partner have found practical encouragement from these resources and have made a commitment to make your relationship work, no matter the costs of time and energy. May your family find reconciliation and strength as your hearts heal.