Relationship Can Survive and Then Thrive After Infidelity
By Susie and Otto Collins
You've possibly heard those stories of how a couple worked
together in the aftermath of infidelity in their marriage or
actually came out closer and more connected than before.
These are amazing and inspirational stories-- particularly
if you have also experienced cheating in your relationship.
But you've also probably heard and read about the countless
couples whose relationship could
not overcome the damage that an affair wreaked.
So which is it? Can a marriage or love relationship survive
and even thrive after infidelity has occurred?
Sheri asks herself this question just about every day. It's
only been 3 months since her husband Pete admitted that he
was having an
Sheri still feels nauseous when she
remembers that awful day. Although she feels sure that he's
stopped cheating with the other woman, she wonders how she
will ever trust Pete again.
Both Sheri and Pete have decided to give their relationship
a second chance but Sheri is having a difficult time
envisioning a future with Pete that, for her, doesn't
include worry, fear and a shroud of
Focus on YOUR relationship and life.
Ultimately, you don't know what will be true for your
situation. At some point, you, your partner, or both of you
may choose to end your relationship.
On the other hand, you may find a way to regrow trust and
find yourself more in love than you ever were. We suggest
that rather than worry about what statistics or anyone else
has to say, you stay focused on the decisions for the future
you and your partner have made.
Give your attention to what you feel inside about what has
happened, where you are now, and what direction you want to
Some of Sheri's best friends have also gone through their
husbands' or boyfriends' cheating.
When she shared with them about Pete's affair, each of her
friends recounted the experiences they had in their
relationships-- usually terrible and gut-wrenching accounts.
Finally Sheri realizes that hearing about her friends'
relationship woes due to infidelity is not making her feel
any better and is certainly not positively contributing to
the commitment she and Pete have made to try rebuild trust.
For the time being, Sheri has decided to steer conversations
she has with her friends away from the topic of affairs and
on to different subjects that are neutral or helpful.
Look for opportunities to foster trust.
Sometimes it's all about where and what you focus on. If you
say you want to trust your partner again yet you keep
looking for proof that he or she really is untrustable, then
you'll probably get the
proof you're seeking out.
Instead, what if you look for opportunities to foster trust
between the two of you?
Are we suggesting that you deny information you might
receive that's telling you your partner is cheating again?
Of course not.
We encourage you to stay aware of what's going on and listen
to your feelings-- not just fears, but your gut feelings.
You might start with small ways that you can rebuild trust
with your partner.
For example, perhaps you begin to notice how he or she
follows through on promises about projects around the house
or plans to meet for lunch.
You can begin to feel improvement in your
relationship when you notice and acknowledge to yourself and
your mate seemingly insignificant trustable moments.
Pete has been making a real effort to prove to Sheri that he
has re-committed himself to their relationship and their
Before the affair, communication was often a prickly area
for the two of them. Pete used to guard his privacy and felt
that he shouldn't have
to "report in" to Sheri about his plans.
But now Pete is following through with his intention to be
more open about his activities and
he has even begun to ask Sheri to share with him more about
They are also scheduling more time together which is an
With clarity and awareness, make note of what's going right
between you and your partner as you rebuild trust after
Rebuilding trust can take time, but you may just be
surprised to find that you two can not only survive the
affair, but, eventually, your relationship can actually