I recently watched a talk show that focused on infidelity. One of the couples had some great insight and advice. The husband cheated. She seemed genuinely happy and at peace with her choice to stay. It took time and hard work to get there.

This woman’s advice to the betrayed is to opt out of anger. You have to replace the thoughts of who he was with who he is. Tell him who you see now, not who you saw. Focus on the positive. Stay in the present. Don’t be around miserable, bitter people. Surround yourself with people who strengthen you and tell you the truth. Most of what needs to happen to heal comes down to choice. Your husband needs to prove himself again, yes. He’s got alot of work to do. But ultimately you have to make the choice to move forward. To let go of the anger and resentment. To let love back in.Because without that choice, he can do absolutely everything and it won’t make a difference.

Her husband’s advice to the one who cheated is to look at yourself. Take responsibility. You can find a way to justify your affair but its really a shortcoming in yourself. Its YOUR insecurity. Its your insecurity that you turned into your spouse’s issue. Disloyal spouses have triggers. You use the trigger to justify your affair even though you know its wrong. You have to identify the trigger in yourself and face it. You went looking for a missing piece of your life. But you looked in the wrong place. You needed to look inside yourself. Inside your home. You can’t fix what’s wrong inside your home by going outside it.  You have betrayed and devastated someone you claim to love. Someone you were supposed to protect. You have work to do to make things right. You need to reaffirm her. Regularly. You need to consistently show her you are a new man. Create an atmosphere for both of you to thrive.

On this show it was also stated that if everyone was held to their past and their mistakes we’d all be in trouble. I agree. I certainly would be. I have grown into who I am today. My successes and failures are a part of that. I’ve learned just as much from mistakes as I have what I got right.  To judge me based on how I used to act or something I did once, is unfair. I want him to focus on who I am today, not the mistakes I made years ago. So I must also do the same. However, I’ve first had to prove that I changed. He didn’t believe it or just take me at my word up front. I had to show through actions that I was different. He must also prove his growth and change to me.

As humans, we are capable of both good and bad things. It hurts like hell to be on the receiving end of the bad things. I do believe that, sometimes, normally good people simply fuck up. I also believe in redemption. Redemption is possible if they do their part to make amends and change.

While there is no definitive rule-book on healing from an affair (just don’t have one and you won’t need to do the work to repair the damage), there are steps that can be taken that facilitate healing. There are also actions -or lack of action- that further the damage, increase resentment and make healing more difficult and take longer. I found this article that highlights some great steps to take after an affair. I also found this article regarding rebuilding trust. They are like a road map to redemption and thus, healing.