Tips for the Unfaithful Partner
Here are some tips that will help you and your partner deal the most constructively with the infidelity:
1] You have had more time to deal with the infidelity than your partner and therefore you two will be operating on whole different time-lines. You must, therefore, be extraordinarily patient especially in the beginning and realize that it often takes 1-2 years to successfully work through the issues of infidelity. The longer the deception/lying has persisted the longer the recovery may take.
2] The following conditions make for the FASTEST and often the most positive recovery from infidelity:
- The sooner you completely stop all contact with the affair partner the better.
- It’s best that you tell the complete truth about everything so that no partial truths/lies will ambush the recovery and reset the process to ‘start’, thus eroding trust yet again, making healing a bit harder each time. Up front honesty will save you a lot of time and trouble later on and your partner will likely eventually be very grateful to you (hard to believe now, isn’t it?) It really isn’t protecting your partner to sugar-coating the truth or to tell half-truths at this point.
3] Realize that your partner looks at the situation very differently from you and will need to ask many, many questions in an effort to make sense out of all this. You need to answer all the questions honestly to the best of your ability (“ I don’t know” may be the most honest answer at times but don’t hide behind it). If the questions truly go on for way too long or are way too excessive, consult a specially trained coach/counselor or therapist to check out your perceptions. You may find out that it is within normal limits or you may find out that some therapeutic intervention is needed for your partner. In either case, you will have some clarification and some support for yourself.
4] Do some introspection and try to figure out why you engaged in this behavior. In the past it was often thought that infidelity always meant something was missing in the relationship but that is not always the case. It will mean a lot to your partner to know that you are doing soul-searching in an effort to get insight which will help define some of the directions for healing and give very welcome clarification to your partner.
5] Apologize, Apologize, Apologize: Let me count the ways– Do it frequently, more than once daily in the beginning and in numerous ways, e.g. cards, poems, verbal expressions, One tip is to find out what a “genuine” or “heartfelt” apology sounds like to your partner (it varies from person to person). I can’t emphasize how important the ongoing need for apologies is. Don’t expect that the early apologies can even be accepted–but still offer them.
6] Expect emotional fireworks from your partner: He/she is devastated and shattered and desperately trying to find a way to cope. Do your best to be patient, kind and NON-DEFENSIVE.
7] Give your partner reassurance: Try to ascertain what are the most vulnerable areas that were hurt the most and then try to address those with reassurances, e.g. “I have never loved anyone but you”, ”you are so much more_______ than he/she ever was or will be”.
8] Recommit to monogamy: Tell your partner that you really want to design a relationship where monogamy is the goal and take the initiative in thinking of ways you can change to facilitate that. Expect that the recovery, in the beginning, will take one step forward and two steps back fairly regularly and then it will move to two steps forward and one step back and then for a long period of time you can still expect infrequent but periodic flashbacks out of the blue just when everything seems wonderful. Just remember that each of these negative times is a potential for positive growth for the relationship. Design an intervention strategy for how to handle these times.
9] It is normal to feel a sense of loss about the affair partner and some of the good feelings you had during the infidelity [often the attention and admiration is what infidelity is all about] and what you may have shared with the third party. Don’t expect your partner to be able to listen very comfortably to this, especially in the beginning. You may need to talk to someone else about those feelings. Eventually, you and your partner need to figure out how to get many of those same feelings in your relationship
10] You may feel paralyzed with conflicting feelings yourself: It might be wise to talk to a coach/counselor or therapist before even attempting to share these types of feelings with your partner.
11] Earning forgiveness can be a liberating concept for both of you: You, however, have to know exactly when, where, and what to do. Making amends, atonement, making reparation and similar concepts all apply at this juncture and are very helpful in healing the wounds and rebuilding trust. All require high-quality information from the hurt partner so you can “hit the mark” with your behaviors and know that they will be received in the spirit which is intended.
12] Praise your partner for having the courage to work this out with you despite being so wounded.