Whether you found out on your own or they came clean and told you what's going on, processing that your spouse, the person you trusted to never hurt you, had an affair is beyond hurtful. That said, this doesn't have to be the end of your relationship if you don't want it to be. With patience, time, and effort, you can rebuild the love and trust in your marriage.
If your partner recently ended their affair and you're grappling with how to handle it (work on your relationship or search for a divorce lawyer), take some time to think about what's important to you. The questions you'll have to ask yourself may make you feel a bit overwhelmed, but if you keep reminding yourself that you will be okay, the healing process will be much easier no matter what you choose to do.
However, before you can start the healing process, you need to know without a doubt that the affair is over. Here are 5 ways to give you peace of mind that your partner is being faithful to and honest with you.
You Have Access to Their Phone
This may feel authoritarian for you and invasive for them. However, if having proof that your partner is being faithful is something you need, then don't be ashamed to ask to go through their phone. After all, they may have lost their right to privacy when they had an affair. Maybe once you genuinely believe them when they promised that the affair is over, you won't feel as intent on reading their messages and emails.
You Are Both Honest
While some people don't want to know anything about the affair (as long as it's over), others want to know every detail. If you fall into the latter group, you have to ask your partner for unconditional honesty when he's telling you about their affair. However, they're not the only ones who need to be honest; you do too. If, on some level, you know you won't be able to get past this, you have to tell them that and go from there. Even though you may not want to, divorce may be the best option if you don't see yourself ever fully trusting your spouse again. After all, trust is so important in a marriage.
They Validate Your Feelings
Being confronted is never fun. In fact, it's usually quite painful—especially when you're guilty of the crime you're being accused of committing. One way to ensure that the affair is over is if they are both remorseful and receptive to your feelings. As long as they don't dismiss your feelings about the affair and your need to talk about those feelings, you're on the right track. By being willing to listen and validate your feelings, they're taking responsibility for their betrayal.
Keep in mind that you won't feel better about the status of your relationship after one conversation—no matter how long and open it is. Even if patience doesn't come naturally to you, you have to accept that the healing process may take a while.
On the other hand, if they're defensive and aren't okay talking about it, there's a decent chance the affair isn't completely over yet.
The Marital Issues Are Addressed
To be clear: You are not the reason your partner strayed. Adulterers typically justify their actions to make themselves feel better about betraying the person they promised to love and cherish. That said, they may have had negative feelings about your relationship and, instead of talking about them, had an affair. If you want to be sure the affair is over, invite them to an open, honest discussion about their concerns or issues.
Once everything is on the table, you can make an effort to put the problems to rest. Healing is a two-way street, so as much as they're committing to moving forward, you have to too.
You Can Forgive
Forgiveness isn't always easy, but it's essential if you want to rebuild your relationship. As hard as they'll work to prove their worth as a reliable partner, you'll have to work on forgiving them for their transgressions. Whether you decide to visit a couples counselor or you seek advice from friends and family, asking people you trust for their opinions may help you move forward and feel less isolated.