Let’s call it the calm after the storm; infidelity has occurred in your relationship, what’s the next step? The key decision is whether the relationship is worth salvaging/rebuilding or if a clean break is best.
Among the things worthy considering are:
- Relationship Time – The length and quality of the relationship are probably the most important factor. Is this a highly unfortunate mistake, a blip on the radar in an otherwise happy coupling? Or, is it the tip of the iceberg, a strong indicator of a majorly flawed and unhappy situation that has come to a head in this ultimate breach of trust?
- Children – Undoubtedly, the presence of or lack of, children will play a role in one’s thought process. However, it’s important to remember that a healthy and rewarding home life is the most important outcome to you and your children. Therefore, if your relationship is something that you and your spouse intend to fix, begin the rebuilding process. But, if it’s beyond repair, move in a new healthy direction instead of staying together simply for the kids.
- Rebuilding Trust – If you choose to stay together, rather than emphasizing the infidelity, use it as a chance to alter the framework of the relationship. Starting from scratch, slowly create lines of trust and intimacy. Acknowledge the flaws that may have led to the infidelity and attempt to amend or correct them. But remember that moving past the infidelity is an important step, and if it’s constantly rehashed then it may prove too difficult an obstacle to move past.
- Express Yourself – If a clean break is the next move, remember to not let your past dictate your future. It is important to allow yourself to express sadness, anger, and any other emotions you may be feeling. Learn from this negative experience, and use it as a reference for how to communicate in a future relationship. Likewise, if you plan to stay together, make sure your spouse understands how the affair has affected you and what you need from the relationship to make it work in the future.
Remember that each relationship/person is unique. Use this newfound freedom and independence to your advantage. Explore the possibilities. Be consciously, albeit temporarily, selfish.
The next move is yours. Whether you decide to give your cheating spouse another chance or venture off on your own, keep moving forward and don’t stand still.