Infidelity: What do you do next?
When trust is broken in a marriage it is extremely hard for both people involved, not only the person that was betrayed. When infidelity is exposed in a marriage the stability and future after the exposure can be very confusing. Many times in a situation where someone in the marriage is cheating it’s the secrecy that is worse than the actual infidelity - the broken trust. When couples are faced with infidelity, there are some ways that could possibly help find the answer to why the affair happened in the first place. If you want to save your marriage and you think the infidelity is straining your relationship, the cheater must work on fixing his/her mistakes with their partner. Here are some tips to help you work through infidelity in your marriage after it has been exposed.
- Be Open and Honest: If you were the one cheating, be open and honest about all aspects of the affair. Sometimes opening up and revealing why the affair happened is the best way to figure out some voids that needed to be filled in the marriage. Identifying the voids in the marriage and what needs to happen to fill those voids could help heal the wounds in the marriage. It is about coming to an understanding – without excusing the infidelity.
- Restoring Trust While Having Compassion: Making a list of trust- enhancing behaviors that will help a couple heal is a great idea! This is a good building block and a first step to rebuilding trusting your partner again. Compassion needs to be explained between both partners. Maybe the cheating occurred for a particular reason and something was lacking in the relationship. By having compassion the recovery process can begin.
- Set Boundaries That Make Both Partners Happy: Make date nights and more time for each other. Set aside a weekend for hiking, tennis or other activities you both enjoy doing together. Communicate and voice what makes each of you uncomfortable and what makes each of you happy. Discuss how you would like the relationship to develop in the future. Being more vocal about where the couple spends their time separately is a trust-building method if it’s not too demanding of your partner’s space.
If you are struggling with marriage or relationship issues that may concern infidelity, feel free to contact our Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation of your relationships. Our marriage counselors and psychologists have successfully helped many couples and families.
Keep your relationship fresh and exciting!
The problems that lead to explosive breakups or divorces often begin as small annoyances. Thus, it is extremely valuable to develop skills for coping with small disagreements before they become big problems. Any relationship can benefit from concerted efforts to keep it healthy and exciting. Here are some exercises you can do with your partner to help maintain harmony in the relationship.
- Take time to talk about what’s bothering each of you. Ask what you have done to make your partner feel disrespected, unloved, or under appreciated. Rather than responding defensively, respond with understanding in order to keep communication flowing and nip problems in the bud.
- Have an Honesty Hour. Set aside a specific time when you can each share how you truly feel about certain aspects of the relationship with complete immunity. This way, you each build respect for each other’s opinions, and there are no festering resentments.
- Don’t go to into bed angry. The longer an argument lasts, the worse it gets. Agreeing to resolve conflicts on the same day they arise (if possible) can prevent conflicts from turning into bitterness.
- Plan fun activities. List fun things you want to do together and agree to do at least one each month. Sharing positive experiences is an important part of making a happy relationship last.
- Eat dinner together. Even in the midst of an argument, pausing everything else to share a meal is a great way to enjoy each other’s company.
- Share Friends and Commit.
How to prepare for a difficult conversation with your partner
Communicating can be very difficult when you are preparing to have a difficult conversation with an individual or group of people who you know most likely will have mixed reactions and emotions regarding the subject. Most People find it easier to avoid communicating something that they think is going to be controversial or unpleasant, which results in halting the communication and letting the situation linger. It’s usually embedded in people to avoid confrontation conflict and stressful situations.
“Learning how to have difficult conversations at work or in personal relationship’s boosts one’s confidence, increases one’s self-awareness, and gives one the sense of being in control of one’s own life. What stops us from having that difficult conversation we should have?”
Fear is usually what stops a person from confronting a difficult situation. Fear can arise when facing a difficult conversation because you may be afraid that you will hurt someone’s feelings, fear losing people you love, or fear of incurring in those we love or want to impress, “we fear the consequences of engaging in a difficult conversation”.
Some tips on preparing for a difficult conversation:
- Don’t delay the conversation any longer and provide reasons for why it needs to happen: Delaying conversations just makes the situation more dramatic and can even lead to failing to ever resolve the conflict. Being honest and confronting the person/ group and giving them a reason to see why you would like to discuss the issue, this will optimistically lead to a respectful conversation between both parties.
- Stay connected when communicating and encourage Questions: Each of us communicates in different ways; staying open-minded when communicating with the person or group and encouraging questions by the other person, may help the flow of communication and help to get a better understanding of how the individual or group feels about the subject at hand. It will encourage them to share their perspective. Do not focus the whole conversation on yourself; you should be interested in the other person’s opinions too. It is healthy to express your feelings but this is about you conversing back and forth, not one way.
- Resist making fast assumptions; Think before speaking right away: Listen to the other person and assess the situation fairly. Many people have a hard time seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Before making assumptions about the situation, listen to the individual/group and then arrive at a conclusion because it could be that the situations that lead to the conversation was just a misunderstanding. Hopefully this will result in figuring out a solution to the situation/conversation or coming to a mutual agreement about what the future holds after the discussion.
- Don’t Rehearse: Be genuine; if you are not you should not expect a sincere response. If you want to confront a situation that is bothering you, explain exactly how you feel honestly without sounding like your reading off a projector screen. Correct communication is the key to opening up new ways of approaching tough topics.
If you are struggling with communication issues, problems confronting a difficult situation that may concern you or anxiety, feel free to contact our Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation.
Bergen Marriage counseling is a private mental health and chemical dependency practice which has been serving the metropolitan New York area, including Manhattan and Bergen County, New Jersey, for over 25 years. Our Health care professionals include licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, and counselors with expertise in marriage, family, adults, teens, children, hypnosis and substance abuse. We are dedicated to providing quality, goal oriented care tailored to your individual needs by matching the treatment to the patient, not the patient to the treatment. Bergen Marriage Counseling provides warm, highly qualified psychotherapists will ensure that you receive individuated care in a comfortable, confidential setting. We aim to foster healthy, satisfying relationships, communication, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills that will enhance an individual’s quality of life.
Bergen Marriage Counseling has private offices located in Manhattan, NY, Paramus, NJ and Englewood, NJ. We provide our patients with convenient daytime, evening, and weekend hours.