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Affairs  -  Part Four  

This month in the newsletter we continue the discussion of how to restore trust after an affair.  The key to restoring trust is for the person who cheated to understand what led to the affair and to address the issues that led to it so the likelihood of it happening again is low.  Generally speaking, simply saying it will never happen again doesn’t mean much and isn’t very satisfying to the betrayed partner.  This process involves some soul searching and being willing to look at and acknowledge the emotional issues that contributed to the affair.  If necessary, and it is often necessary, it also means doing the hard work to address those issues and make some personal changes.  In order for trust to be restored this transformation and change then needs to be shared and understood.  The person who had the affair needs to be able to articulate to the person they cheated on their understanding of why it happened, what is different about them that they won’t cheat again, and how that change came about. 

While the person who has been betrayed is experiencing an incredible amount of pain, the person who did the betrayal also feels a good deal of pain in this process.  Often they find it difficult to face the pain they created and are responsible for.  They just want to do whatever they can to get the process over with as quickly as possible.   This pain and the desire to get the process over with can get in the way of the cheater doing the work they need to do.  In order to really gain the understanding of themselves and the process they need, they have to be willing to take an unflinching look at themselves and some of the problems with the way they have been living their lives. 

A big part of the healing is then sharing the process of self-examination and transformation with their partner.  Often one of the biggest factors that led to the affair in the first place was the absence of such connection and sharing.  The sharing requires being vulnerable and opening up in ways that the couple may have never done before.  It is this process that allows them to develop a new, stronger relationship than they had before.  The healing process requires growth as an individual but also that the growth be something that is shared within the relationship.  There is no better way to enhance connection and strengthen a relationship than that kind of shared growth. 

Part of what happens when this process goes well is the couple feels a different quality in their interaction and begins to recognize and cherish the benefits of having a more open connection with each other.  This new experience of the relationship and the positive feelings that come with such sharing helps to restore trust.  It is also the aspect that leads couples who do the work to end up having much better relationships as a result of an affair.

Next month we will address how to deal with the intrusive thoughts and doubts that frequently come up and present such a threat to trust. 

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