The Advice Journal

Your Questions (Short-)Answered…

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How do I get past my cheating spouse?

Forgiveness is a process and ultimately a choice. Two fantastic book recommendations, Forgiveness Is a Choice by Robert Enright and How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda MacDonald. Whether or not you stay together, you’ll want to release the pain so you’re not carrying that burden. We forgive, first, for our own benefit and the ripple effect benefits others.

A few questions to consider:

Has your partner ended the affair? Is s/he willing to show evidence of this and have ongoing transparency? If the affair hasn’t ended, healing can’t begin. If there’s nothing to hide they hide nothing. If the affair is over, the betrayer should happily offer up opportunities to prove fidelity and trustworthiness, not be angry or defensive when you ask to look at their text messages.

Are you understanding reason(s) why the affair happened? To prevent future infidelity we have to know how to minimize or eliminate the contributing factors to the betrayal. What were they getting from the affair partner that you can now provide? Were they craving attention, new experiences, excitement, sex, emotional support? Then, are there ways to incorporate those things into your relationship so they aren’t looking outside the relationship for this fulfillment?

Does your partner express genuine remorse? If there is no remorse or it seems shallow that’s a non-starter for repair, and likely means they will cheat again.

Is this a relationship you both want to repair and rebuild? Why? It takes two people to be in a relationship and one person to end it. If one of you isn’t committed to repairing and rebuilding, that’s a non-starter. If you both say you’re committed, ask yourselves why. Why do you want to stay? Are the reasons unique to your partner? If companionship is a primary answer, you can find that with someone else and it’s time to move on.

Laying this ground work gives you direction. Are you moving on alone or together?

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