Originally posted on May 15th, 2021
How do you repair your marriage after cheating? I have compiled a list of the best practices and steps to take in repairing the damage done. If you (the betrayer) are unwilling to do any of the items listed, it will be less likely your marriage or relationship will last. The items listed are not in any particular order.
- SEEK HELP FOR YOURSELF! Both the betrayer and the betrayed need to seek medical and mental health help. If one partner does not seek help, this is certain sign a partnership will not last. If you are not finding what you need from professionals then seek different kinds of help such as support groups, marriage retreats, etc.
- Remove and block every contact your partner does not know, may be questionable or you had inappropriate contact with. This includes your phone contact list, social media, apps, emails, etc. Double check your backups to make sure they are not saved. It is best if your partner can see some form of physical evidence this has been done.
- Create a master list of all sites, social media, email accounts, apps, etc. you use along with their accompanying usernames and passwords. At the same time remove all questionable apps that were used to assist in your betrayal. This is a really good thing to do in the first year after the infidelity was discovered. Overtime the betrayed should be checking on you less and less but once a day is not too much during the first few months after discovery.
- Show empathy, remorse and compassion. This is HUGE! The betrayed partner wants to see you break down and cry. They want you to put yourself in their shoes and feel it. They want constant apologies with changed behavior. Eventually they won’t need any more apologies.
- Truthfully Answer ALL the questions your partner has about your affair activity. Answer them truthfully no matter how hard it is to tell them. If you hesitate to answer your partner will use their imagination which is guaranteed to be worse than the truth so just spill it. Be careful to not divulge extra information that was not asked for. Instead of saying exactly what restaurant, just say a restaurant. Instead of saying exactly what hotel, just say a hotel unless your partner asks for this information.
- Acknowledge how much time it will take to heal. Never rush healing. Often times the betrayer says “Just get over it.” You have had time to sit with your affair but your partner is just now finding out. Try to remember and verbally acknowledge your partners world was turned upside down. It takes approximately 2 to 10 years to recover from the majority of trauma associated with the betrayal.
- Check in on your partner’s happiness level. Let them know yours. Every……single…… day make a conscious decision to do this. Once a day is good but do realize your partner may wake up happy and go to bed angry. Checking in on feelings lets your partner know you are empathetic to them.
- Release all information about the affair partner/s. Any attempt to not release this information can be seen by your partner as you protecting the affair partner.
- Seek purpose (forgiveness) for yourself and for your partners forgiveness. What was the big lesson taken away? How can this be part of the bigger picture? No matter how bad a situation there is always something good to come from it.
- Never stop telling the truth, EVER. Keep up with the honesty. This is a simple thing you can do to rebuild trust and is a great way to rebuild yourself as well.
- Do not expect your partner to “Pretend Normal.” It can be detrimental to your partner if they are expected to act as if nothing happened. Your partner has the right to divulge information to their supporters as long as it is done with respect.
- Accept your character defects. You need to accept your personal reality no matter how tough it is. Do not underplay what you did. Own up to it. Become a person YOU can respect.
- Talk kindly of your partner and stand up for them.
- Do not hide your phone. Your partner will feel safer if your phone is not being hidden. Don’t put it upside down, don’t take the phone to the bathroom, avoid taking calls away from your partner. Also ask your partner if they need you to silence your phone, change the ringtone or notification sound.
- When you witness your partner having a tough moment ask them “Is there anything I can do for you right now?” Massage their shoulders, whisper loving phrases in their ears, hold them, hug them. Never stop saying your sorry and reassuring them you will be better and do better.
- This last little piece of advice is one I would have liked to see from my spouse. Tell the affair partner/s the truth about your partner, set things straight, and crush the affair partner/s.
You may have caused a considerable amount of damage but you can be a part of repairing that damage too. There is no comeback story without a downfall. Make your comeback story an unforgettable one.