How can we expect or demand the cheater to do what’s necessary to heal from the affair and rebuild a marriage?

heal from affairBy Linda

Last week we had the unique opportunity to talk with two couples considered to be experts in infidelity and relationships.   

As a result of our discussions, Doug came up with a post about mistakes that he made after the affair in regards to rebuilding trust.

I agree with every mistake that he made and commented how much easier and faster our affair recovery would have been if he would have not made those mistakes.  However, I feel that the way I acted after the affair made it very easy for him to take path he did.

In our interview we discussed all the various things that the cheater must do in order to heal from the affair and  rebuild their marriage and I kept thinking to myself how difficult that this really is. 

Often the cheating spouse is so far in the affair fog that they aren’t thinking or acting rationally. At the same time, the betrayed spouse may be completely unsure if the cheater is still conducting the affair and is definitely uncertain if they are still loved or what their future may hold.  And this is on top of the roller coaster of emotions that are flying all around.

The Nuts and Bolts of Affair Recovery – The elements that need to be present in order to heal from an affair.

While all of this is happening, how can we expect or demand the cheater to do what’s necessary to heal from the affair and rebuild a marriage? How can they be patient, trustworthy, willing to learn about infidelity and be available to answer all of our questions? How do you get them to behave in such a way?

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I believe the answer lies in oneself.  The confidence that we are desirable and deserve to be loved, to be happy, to be respected.  However, after the trauma of the affair, the betrayed spouse loses all confidence in themselves (at least I did), their marriage and their ability to love.  It is almost impossible to portray to the cheater that you deserved to be treated in a certain way when you don’t even believe it yourself.

I knew deep down that my marriage was special and that no one could provide the kind of love and companionship that I could.  But the way I portrayed this to Doug was more out of desperation.   It appeared that I wanted him to stay because I couldn’t live without him rather than projecting that what we have is very special and that it could be even better.

I wish I had the magic formula to achieve this. I know that some of the things I did were viewed as more desperate than an invitation to be in a great marriage. However, spending time together just talking about everyday things seemed to have more of a positive impact than the sexy lingerie, constant compliments, phone calls and arrangement of dates.

Doug had to realize that we both wanted a great marriage and we both needed to understand and communicate what we needed to achieve that.  Instead of dwelling on the other person, her personality and what Doug was receiving from his emotional affair, I should have focused on what he wanted and needed  – and what I wanted and needed – for our marriage to be great.

See also  The 8 Pillars of Trust  - Ways the Unfaithful Spouse Can Help Rebuild Trust

If you want to learn more about the 27 tasks that the cheater must do to help their spouse heal, click here.


    4 replies to "Can the Cheater Do What’s Necessary to Heal From the Affair?"

    • Saddenned

      Nice post.

    • roller coaster rider

      I’m really not feeling desperate although it really hurt when my H said today that our marriage was a no-win situation. I know he only said that because right now he’s very depressed and is trying to figure out how he could even do such a thing, but the thing I don’t get is how it all gets switched around and I’m the one who feels like I just missed the boat and didn’t do all I could have done to keep this from happening in the first place. I start going through all the ways I have failed…instead of realizing that this was something I couldn’t have prevented. He could have prevented it by talking to me, letting me know how he felt, refusing to have lunch and then make plans with the OW etc etc as well as deciding to tell me the truth instead of lying and all the rest.

      • Been there

        What you are describing could possibly be that you are dealing with someone high in narcissistic traits. The blame shifting and off loading responsibility seems to be common with people that betray. They project their poor choices and behavior onto others. It’s a horrible situation when you take on the shame and guilt of another’s poor choices to lie manipulate and deceive.

    • now what

      After finding out about my H’s EA three yrs. ago, we never really talked about it. Today is D day! I’ve been feeling the pain again and memories started to rush back. He tells me that was the past and we need to move forward, but how can I move forward when he doesn’t understand my distruss in him. I’m also feeling this way because a yr. ago, he was the best H and father and we were starting to connect again. Now,the last couple months, he has become a little more distant and not acting like he did a yr. ago. He told me tonight he was going to lay everything out on the table! Is it common for the H to go through these changes after yrs. ? My feeling is that maybe he has had contact w/OW and doesn’t know what to do….

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