Your relationship has been rocked by a betrayal. You may feel shocked, hurt, angry, disbelieving and maybe even want to get revenge. You now need to decide between three choices:1. Stay together and muddle through, hoping that things will get better 2. Separate/divorce, believing that the trust could never be rebuilt 3. Work together to create a new and better relationship than the one you had
The first option is the easiest but is avoiding the opportunity to create something much better. The wound may also just fester.
Separating takes courage but is best done when you have got through the crisis and are absolutely sure that this is the best decision.
Working together to create a new and better relationship is the bravest option and will be hard work. It may get you both to a much better place as the betrayal triggers a great opportunity to examine the old relationship and understand what could be better.
If you decide on Option 3; here are the important steps to take:
Make sure you are both committed to the journey and the ups and downs that this will involve.
Clarify the sort of new and better relationship that you both want in the future. You cannot go back to when you first fell in love. Time and you have both moved on.
Do not try and put a sticking plaster on the old relationship and hope it works.
There are three people now in the relationship. The one who had the affair (affair partner), the one they had an affair with (illicit partner) and the betrayed partner. This can create a toxic triangle. Ensure that the relationship with the illicit partner is ended gently but irrevocably and that the betrayed partner knows what was said.
Understand where your relationship had gone wrong and if the affair partner was getting something that had been missing in your relationship
Acknowledge that continuing to blame will be unhelpful and maybe you both had a part to play in creating an unhappy relationship.
The affair partner must show remorse for as long as needed and ensure that the betrayed partner has heard and understood this.
To rebuild trust, any future contact with the illicit partner should be stopped. If there is any it needs to be admitted and the phone, emails, social media of the affair partner need to be open to the betrayed partner so that there are no secrets or uncertainty.
Restrict the number of people that you tell about the affair. Friends and family will naturally take sides, and this will create a shadow that your new relationship will find it hard to escape from.
Get the hurt and anger out. Try something called Free writing, where you write non-stop for 15 minutes. Then, take a break and come back and read through what you've written. See what themes there are, and then take that paper and safely burn it. Repeat this as often as you need to.
Get your questions answered about the affair and why this happened. A good way of doing this is to get a glass container into which the betrayed partner can place any questions that they have. The affair partner commits to answering all the questions, at the right time.
Seek the help of a good relationship counsellor who can give you both a safe space to vent and talk.
Constantly work together on the 6 key elements to a happy relationship:
Communication: Talking to each other, being able to express how you feel to each other and being heard. Have a weekly review of what has gone well in the relationship and one thing that you both need to work on in the next week.
Connection: This can be a look, a touch, a word. Create moments of intimacy where it is as if the world has stopped and nothing else matters. Sex is also a really important form of connection and an opportunity to create a new and much better love life than before.
Commitment: Putting the new relationship as your top priority.
Fun: unleash the child within, do silly things and enjoy your new life.
Growth: Ensure that the you, the me and the us and are all growing and vibrant
Trust: This is the foundation of a relationship and needs to be rebuilt
Understand that this will be a roller coaster ride. You need to be kind to yourself and each other while keeping the destination in mind.
Neil Wilkie is a Relationship Expert, Psychotherapist, author of the Relationship Paradigm Series of Books and creator of the online therapy platform, The Relationship Paradigm®. Find out more at www.relationshipparadigm.com
It was from the stillness of meditation that I received the message. It was a profound message and it was clear. I heard it audibly: ‘There is no difference between right and wrong’ (No Difference Between Right and Wrong - NDBRW). A seemingly illogical message… I responded to that which sees beyond my perspective, “what do you mean there is no difference between right and wrong? Everyone knows there is a difference between right and wrong!” I had received a spiritual revelation...