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Surviving Infidelity

Are Your Expectations Standing the Way of Your Relationship Recovering from Infidelity?
By Susie and Otto Collins

Rich has forgiven his wife Linda for having an affair-- mostly.

They have both worked hard to change some of the relationship habits that created distance between them and Linda has made her private life an open book for Rich.

But there is still disconnection between them.

Rich is having a difficult time fully trusting Linda again. Because she had an affair with a co-worker, he becomes very watchful and wary whenever Linda has to work late or attends a work-related event.

On some deep level, Rich expects that Linda will betray him again and cheat.

If you and your partner are trying to pick up the pieces of your relationship and rebuild trust after infidelity, you might be dealing with similar challenges.

Yes, you have made the decision to stay together and work to improve your relationship. But healing after trust has been damaged or broken
can take time.

It also requires your deliberate attention.

Do you ever stop and notice the expectations that you have about yourself, your partner, your relationship and your life?

Each and every one of us has expectations. It's pretty difficult
not to.

You might find, however, that the expectations that you have are contributing to the tension and distance that exists in your relationship.

After an affair, you might find your expectations fall into one of these two categories (they may fluctuate between the two as well).

1.) You expect that your partner will inevitably cheat again. It may seem to you that all men/women have affairs or just that it's in your partner's particular nature to cheat.

2.) You expect that your partner will be virtually perfect. He or she knows that the affair was hurtful and wrong and will now do anything and everything to please and make amends to you.

The drawback of both of these expectations is that when your mate doesn't act in accordance with what you are expecting, you feel frustrated or confused.

If your partner seems to be faithful and is transparent with you (not confirming expectation #1), this is actually a good thing!

But, when you strongly expect to be betrayed, you can't appreciate and  benefit from the positive strides your mate is making.

You're too busy watching and waiting with suspicion.

The experience is different when you expect that your partner will be virtually perfect. It may be that he or she genuinely feels regret for the affair and intends to make amends.

But, your partner is human and will be distracted, have "bad" days or somehow let you down from time to time. This doesn't necessarily mean that your mate is going to cheat again.

Expectations such as these not only cause internal pain for you, they can drive a serious wedge between you and your partner-- which
undermines both of your efforts to rebuild trust.

What to do about those pesky expectations.
Very few people walk around having no expectations-- especially when it comes to a person's relationship and partner.

But it is very possible and recommended to notice when your expectations are getting in the way of you moving closer together to your mate.

Watch your thoughts. When something like, "I bet he is checking out that attractive woman" or "Of course she will do this for me, she has to after having an affair" come into your mind, stop yourself.

Question the expectations that you have. Ask yourself, "Is this necessarily true? Is what I am expecting accurate and will it help us to rebuild trust and connection?"

If it isn't, release that expectation.

It can help to replace a limiting expectation with one that is more desirable.

For example, Rich notices that when Linda works late, he expects her to reunite with the man with whom she had an affair.

On those evenings, Rich storms around the house all caught up in imagined scenarios that involve Linda cheating again.

Now he is starting to replace the expectation, "Linda is only pretending to work late so that she can meet up with him" with "It is possible that Linda actually is working on a legitimate project at
the office. I could ask her about the project when she gets home."

You might simply replace an expectation with a reminder to yourself that you don't actually know that what you expected is happening or will happen.

When you rebuild trust with your partner after he or she had an affair, there's inner work to be done.

Of course, your mate will need to prove trustability to you.

You also need to be aware and question your limiting expectations.

As you do, you can be more open to see and celebrate the positive steps that you both are making.






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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
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