I often get emails from people telling me that they doubt that they can ever get over their spouse’s infidelity in a healthy enough way to make sure they can move on. They really want to get over the feelings of hurt, frustration, and betrayal, but often there are always memories, doubts, or problems that seem to get in the way. Nobody wants a life sentence like this, but people often fear that this is exactly what is going to happen. Often times, they just can’t imagine a future that doesn’t include the way they feel now.
I understand these fears. I felt them myself, but in the end, I was able to overcome them. And I exhibited a lot of the “signs” that people assume mean that you won’t be able to move on. I’m often asked things like “How do I know I’m at a point where I can’t get over this? Part of me hopes it will heal over time. But another part of me just knows. This is a deal breaker. I will never recover. How do I know which of these assumptions is true? “I will try to answer this question in the next article.
Anger and frustration don’t always mean you can’t get over cheating: I often hear from people who tell me that they hate a spouse who cheated with passion. They tell me that they think these strong emotions mean that they will never be able to move on. I understand this assumption, but it is often not true. Almost everyone is angry for quite some time. You need time to process things, and it will take some time for your spouse to show you through his or her actions that you and your marriage can recover if that is what you want.
And, strong negative emotions are not actually indicative of an inability to move on. The lack of emotions is actually more concerning. Strong emotions like anger, pain, and fear are indicative of the fact that you still care a lot about the person and the relationship, even if you wish you didn’t right now.
Lack of confidence after cheating is not something that cannot be overcome: On the other side of the coin, I sometimes hear people tell me that over time, their anger and pain have started to fade. They are beginning to view their partner in a more positive light, but they can’t seem to restore trust. They always doubt and suspect their spouse. They are always suspicious and this frustrates their ability to move on.
Again, restoring trust takes time. But more than that, if you don’t get what you need, you may need to ask for it. You may need to explain to your partner what you want and need in order for them to check in, include you in extended periods of absence, and allow you to access your cell phone or computer if you feel the need to check to make yourself feel safe.
A spouse who is serious about restoring your trust should have no problem with this. Sure, it can be frustrating for both of you and you can feel like the parent while they feel like the child. But if this is part of what you need to restore confidence, then you must work and endure.
Indifference and the desire to stop trying is more indicative of a person who cannot overcome infidelity: As I have mentioned, a spouse who is hurt and angry and who is unwilling to trust again (at least at this point) does not always mean that the marriage will not survive or that you will not be able to overcome this infidelity. . It usually just means there is work to be done and more productive time (and rehab) is needed. These things can usually be overcome if both people are willing to continue this work.
Usually what is more troublesome is that the cheated spouse becomes indifferent. They are not so hurt anymore. They may not even be angry. In reality, they no longer care at all because they are no longer involved in the relationship. In short, they know they are “done.” They are no longer interested in trying to figure things out or moving on. They are not excited or angry about this. They simply know intellectually that they are no longer interested in continuing on this path, as they know that this is not the best option for them at this time.
If you are still angry, hurt, or distrustful, chances are you are still worried and committed. It also means that you have more to heal. I cannot promise you that this cure will be easy. It will probably work. But I’ve seen it lead to rehab and peace many times, so most people who follow this path feel that it has paid off in the end. This is usually true whether the marriage survives or not, because at least you know you did everything you could.