Repairing a marriage after a fracture as deep as infidelity is no small feat. It takes a gracious amount of humility, compassion, and resilience. The healing is certainly not linear, and while some stages may be hopeful, others may be tougher to get through. If you’re working towards healing after cheating, here are 10 common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity to ensure you the best chance at successfully healing.
From continued punishment to confining them within harmful stereotypes, it’s easy to get lost in your emotions when repairing a marriage without the guidance of a counselor or therapist. By avoiding these common mistakes, you could give your marriage a better shot at surviving the storm of betrayal.
Not Actually Forgiving Them
We all can have different perspectives and versions of what forgiveness is. While you may think that taking your partner back after cheating is forgiveness enough, continuing to punish them through remarks, surveillance or continual consequences doesn’t exactly equate to forgiveness. While this behavior within the immediate aftermath is understandable, it’s reductive during your reconstruction and will keep you both stagnant and tortured.
Avoiding Uncomfortable Questions
It’s important to talk about every who, what, where, when, and why when you’re working towards reconciliation. If any questions are left unasked, they can bubble under the surface and harden into even more resentment or baseless accusations. If there’s any question floating in your mind regarding their betrayal, make sure to voice it and communicate about it as constructively as possible.
Feeding Harmful Stereotypes
We all know the saying: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” This stereotype, along with many others, perpetuates a harmful and outdated narrative about infidelity. Every case is completely different, and you want to give your partner a chance to exist outside of black-and-white labeling for a better chance at successfully healing.
Neglecting “You” Time
Repairing after reconciliation takes a lot of time, energy and work. With so much of your emotion being poured into your healing, it can be difficult to think about your own needs. It’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself and meeting your own desires, in whichever way self-care looks like for you.
Inviting in Outside Opinion
While we all have our closest confidants who we trust the guidance and input of, not everyone has your best interest in mind or would take the same route you’re taking. By letting too many people into your business, you’re leaving yourself susceptible to a wide range of criticism that may confuse you during your healing process.
Not Taking the Time To Grieve
Even though you’re working towards building something anew, what once was is now no longer. With the infidelity came the death of the prior iteration of your relationship, and it’s important to take the time to grieve the old relationship instead of trying to force it back. The grief can be excruciating to feel, but necessary to move on.
Lacking Imagination for the Next Chapter
Your relationship post-infidelity may feel dull in comparison to before, but this is because new relationships glow with possibilities of what a future together could be like. You can reignite the spark by bringing back that sense of imagination. By making meaning and exploring possibility of the future you’re rebuilding together, you set yourselves free from the past.
If you and your partner have children, it’s important to keep them as oblivious as possible as you both work through your reconciliation. Involving them in the drama or individually telling stories about each other to your children in hopes they pick sides would ultimately be harmful for everyone involved.
Talking to the Other Person
Among the worst of the 10 common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity, reaching out to the person with whom your partner had an affair may be one of the most damaging. Everything you need to know should come from your partner’s mouth, and communicating with the other person will only scar you more deeply or lead to a potential altercation.
Not Addressing the Underlying Issues
Infidelity is often a symptom of underlying issues in the relationship, from lack or communication to lack of intimacy. Even if it means taking accountability for the role you may have played, it’s important to look at the bigger picture rather than blaming solely the infidelity for the dissolution of the relationship.
Many marriages have survived the supposed unsurvivable, and you are no exception. As long as you invest the time, energy, and most importantly, the love that it takes to bounce back from betrayal, your marriage has a shot at healing. Be sure to avoid these common marriage reconciliation mistakes, and open your heart to new possibilities.