Infidelity means unfaithfulness in marriage or other moral obligation.
Most marriages experience infidelity and the outcome is that the spouse who is betrayed most times, suffers PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms because knowing that your spouse is having an affair makes you lose your sense of normality and self-control.
Surviving infidelity can be possible and also challenging since the experience can be so traumatic that it takes time to heal.
What is surviving infidelity?
Surviving infidelity is a series that follows the healing process of an individual whose spouse is betrayed.
It’s a way in which one heals emotionally, mentally, and sexually it could be as an individual or as a couple. Surviving infidelity doesn’t mean just getting over the affair but addressing the situation to ensure there is genuine healing.
Proven Tips on How To Survive Infidelity
1. End all contact
This is the first approach and is usually difficult, but if your partner values your marriage and wants you to heal completely, they have to end every means of communication with that person.
This includes calls, social media communication, text messages, etc. The recent lover is more like an addiction, So, if they continue to communicate they will keep the relationship going.
They have to stop every communication with them and this might mean your spouse changing their job, church, neighborhood, etc. If this is not done, there’s a tendency that they might start to have an affair with the person again.
2. Open all accounts
The next step is for the guilty partner to open all accounts and passwords in their phone to show that they have cut all contacts with the person. This is a good step to restoring trust back. If they keep contacting the person it will traumatize you.
In addition, if the guilty partner opens the account and password angrily it won’t help resolve the issue. They are not supposed to be upset when they are even at fault, because they have caused alot of damage already.
At this point they are no more trusted, the guilty partner has to do this openly with all sincerity to show that they are ready to do everything possible to correct their mistake and help their partner.
3. Expose the affair
If after much pressure they refuse to open their accounts and passwords to show they have cut ties with their lover then you should expose them. When one is having an affair they are not usually in their right frame of mind, they are almost obsessed by the affair.
An affair creates a fake euphoria that is protected by the desire to have something different due to emotional unsatisfaction.
So a good step to break that relationship is to expose them for everyone to know about it.
Basically, if those around the guilty spouse get to know about his/HER affairs, they will talk to them and there’s a good chance they will realize their mistakes and come off it.
4. Get a separation
If after exposing them and they refused to stop the affair despite the caution from friends and family, then you should separate from your spouse.
This separation is between you and your guilty spouse. If you both have children, your family members or friends can help with visiting times.
Separation is recommended for two different reasons. first, it protects you from the continuous emotional torture from the affair. Secondly, it will help your spouse experience life without you to enable your spouse to decide if this is what he wants.
If after some months there’s no change, you can then make your final decision.
Exposing your spouse might not really end the affair but it gives you control over your spouse and regain your sense of belonging.
Constant communication with their lover will cause more emotional trauma for you.
5. Genuine repentance
When the guilty spouse has stopped communicating with his/her lover and has opened their phone and password the next is to turn a new leaf. They must be willing to repent and stop having affairs.
Genuine repentance is important for the spouse that was betrayed to heal from the hurt. If they are not genuinely remorseful it will be difficult for the marriage to work again.
6. Managing triggers
Triggers are an important part of surviving infidelity. For instance, You might be watching a movie that is centered on having affair which might make you react. You might get irritated by listening to a song about affairs. You might see similar accessories you wore on the day you caught your spouse cheating.
Being irritated is also one of the symptoms of PTSD and they occur always following an affair. How you manage it is very important. Most couples manage it poorly and it makes the trigger worsen.
Once the trigger comes, your anger is usually filled with rage and your spouse might be defensive in the process.
The very first thing to do is to decide which trigger to share and the one to deal with on your own.
This is because some triggers are mild while some are severe that would need you to share with someone that can help you.
Secondly, you must think of what to do that calms you down when the triggers come, it could be, talking to a friend, taking a shower, listening to songs, reading, cooking or singing, etc.
The third one is to let your spouse know about your trigger and how you get hurt by them. For instance, you can say, I saw a lady today who looked like your ex-lover and it brought back the pains and trauma I get from your betrayal. Tell them politely. Don’t say it with disdain.
Lastly, your spouse should be considerate and show empathy, for example, they can say I really feel bad for putting you in this traumatic situation, I am sorry for causing you so much pain, and I promise not to hurt you again.
If these triggers are handled properly they will go away with time, but if it’s not well managed it will increase.
7. Lessons learned
This step is getting to know what led to it. Though the choice to have an affair is totally that of your spouse, the conditions in your marriage that led to the affair are on both couples.
Thus, dealing with this is also necessary. Was your spouse feeling emotionally and sexually detached in the marriage? Did they ever feel abandoned? Did they feel intimidated or out of place? What exactly made them prone to infidelity? Knowing this will help you overcome infidelity issues in your marriage.
ALSO, READ 9 Clear Signs You Are In A Fake Relationship
Possible risk factors of infidelity
1. Traumatic event
2 . Being secretive
3. lack of appreciation or adoration
4. Life stress or family challenge
5. If needs are not met
6. Travelling alone without your Spouse
7. Drinking excessively
8. Emotional disclosure
How long does it take to recover after infidelity?
Surviving infidelity is a healing process in a relationship mentally, emotionally, and physically after your spouse just had an affair. Recovery time is usually from six months to two years and is always a painful and hurtful period. It might also take a longer time for some people.
What are the stages of healing from infidelity?
Going through the pain of infidelity and the healing process is really hard. It needs extra effort from both couples. Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman came up with the Trust Revival Method, with three defined stages of treatment: Atonement, Attunement, and Attachment.
Does infidelity pain ever go away?
Studies have shown that it takes eighteen months to two years to heal from the pain of your spouse’s infidelity. Knowing that you won’t just get over the pain will be very helpful, also knowing it ends with time will facilitate the healing process.
Other stages of the healing process are as follows:
6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Can infidelity be traumatic?
Alot of people are amazed that infidelity can lead to PTSD but it is true. Discovering infidelity causes an obvious trauma, the trauma that is likened to physical or emotional abuse, death of a child or parent, or other life traumatic situation.
Infidelity is a hurtful experience and no one would want to experience such, but when it occurs you should observe necessary precautions to help you recover from the shock and get back on track.
ALSO, READ How To Stop A Divorce
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