It is heart breaking for a partner in a relationship to learn about the other’s sexual infidelity. Infidelity isn’t just about sex addiction counseling; it entails a lot of other factors such as the loss of connection and trust your partner.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that one-fourth of the married partners who have experienced infidelity in their relationship, found it extremely difficult to deal with the associated feelings of hurt, pain, anger, resentment and isolation. However, there are couples who manage to move past this serious breach of trust with the help from a reliable therapist, friends and family members. Therapy and support from loved ones usually helps in re-strengthening the relationship between the two partners.
Below are some useful tips for those who might be going through a rough time dealing with their partner’s lack of loyalty:
First and foremost, feel free to breakdown, cry and throw a fit if you like. It is natural for you to feel angry and it is best to let the anger out. Once you feel lighter, avoid reacting immediately. Take some time to assess your situation otherwise you might end up taking the wrong decision. There is no hurry to take a call on the situation right away. You might want to make some plans after giving everything a thought. Consider all options.
When a partner comes to know of infidelity, it is crucial for them to vent and talk about their hurt, pain and anger to the other party. Articulating your raw thoughts and feelings is extremely helpful in the process of healing. As the hurt partner, you need to feel heard; otherwise you might feel absolutely crazy grieving in isolation.
You may want to isolate yourself completely but facing infidelity does require a certain amount of emotional support from sources such as a therapist, family, friends and support groups. Research suggests that interacting with people who have gone through a similar situation can be extremely helpful.
Regardless of your plans to stay in or out of the relationship, you deserve support, love and care. And this can be achieved by talking about your situation to an empathetic and compassionate lot of people.
There are times when a partner is so desperate to save the relationship (they may have a fear of abandonment) that it overpowers their need to express anger. You might be tempted to quickly forgive your disloyal partner just to keep them with you. This is actually ‘cheap’ or unhealthy forgiveness. According to psychologists, such forgivers are likely to end up in similar kinds of relationships in the future i.e. relationships that pose the risk of infidelity. This is because they haven’t gone through a proper grieving process and are afraid of expressing their true feelings to their partner.
If you feel unsafe living with your spouse, it is best to trust your honest intuition. Your partner may have a genuine disease of sexual compulsion. However, if they aren’t making an effort to take help, either by attending a 12-step recovery program or by going to a therapist, then it’s best not to expect much out of the relationship. It may be time to move on.