July 9, 2024

10 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity

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Infidelity can leave couples devastated. If you’ve been affected by infidelity and want to salvage your relationship, rebuild trust, or make a tough decision, keep reading for 10 common reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity. 

What Should You Not Do After Infidelity? 

Whether you’re the affair partner trying to ease the pain or you’ve been hurt by infidelity, the initial surge of emotions you feel can make it hard to think clearly. It’s no secret that discovering infidelity is a painful experience. 

Here’s what to avoid in the aftermath of an affair:

  • Making a rash decision (like quitting your job or filling for divorce) 
  • Blaming yourself 
  • Isolating yourself 
  • Seeking revenge 
  • Ignoring the problem 

What Are the Triggers After Infidelity?

Infidelity can leave you with deep scars that will take time to heal. Even after the initial shock eases, certain things can trigger those painful emotions and bring them back to the surface: 

Some common triggers after infidelity include: 

  • Places and Dates: These can be dates and locations associated with the affair, anniversaries, or when you found out. 
  • People: Seeing the other person involved in the affair or people who knew about the affair can feel triggering. 
  • Sensory Cures: Things like smells, songs, or other sensory cues may be a trigger. 
  • Social Media: Seeing your partner interact with someone online, especially in a situation that feels comparative, can be triggering. 

Remember that you’re not alone in your experience and how you feel. Understanding your triggers and developing healthy coping strategies can help you continue your healing journey. 

Is Reconciliation After an Affair Possible?

Statistics show that in 2021, around 21% of participants admitted to cheating on a partner, previous or current. Cheating can occur in a relationship for several reasons, and many factors influence whether couples stay together after an unfair: 

  • The motivation to reconcile and rebuild together 
  • The nature of the affair (seriousness and reasons for the affair) 
  • How the affair ended 
  • Honesty and transparency 
  • The healing process and whether underlying issues are addressed 

Reconciliation after an affair is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work from both partners. While a therapist can’t guarantee success, couples therapy can be a great resource for navigating a tough and painful situation. 

Ready to choose your therapist?

What are the 10 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity?

It’s natural to want to avoid difficult conversations, but that doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Unaddressed issues can fester beneath the surface. Between emotional distress and lack of communication skills, it’s common for people to make the following mistakes. 

Dismissing Marriage Counseling

There are several reasons why some people may dismiss marriage counseling after an affair: 

  • Disbelief in the process or effectiveness 
  • Emotional obstacles like anger or shame 
  • Logistical challenges like time and accessibility 

While every couple is different, don’t write off marriage counseling without properly thinking about it. Marriage after infidelity requires work from both partners, and a couples therapist can help to facilitate conversations that would be too tough or emotional for you to talk about alone. A therapist isn’t there to tell you exactly what to do but to create a safe space for you to explore your feelings, address underlying issues, and, if possible, rebuild trust and move forward. 

Using Social Media to Stalk and Vent

It can be tempting to go on social media to track your partner’s whereabouts or even vent about your experience but try to avoid this. Publicly venting about an affair and obsessively checking social media can undermine the trust-building process during an already difficult time. It can really get in the way of processing your emotions and make it harder for you and your partner to move forward together. Instead, focus on open communication and looking to a future built on a stronger foundation. 

Hiding Your Emotions

We know the importance of healthy communication in a relationship. Research suggests that emotional withdrawal after infidelity is linked to lower levels of forgiveness from the betrayed partner. If you’re hiding your emotions, it’s difficult to have the open and honest communication that is necessary for a healthy relationship. Bottling up how you feel can hinder reconciliation. 

Telling Too Many Friends and Family

In some cases, it can be tempting to tell your friends and family about a cheating partner or an affair that’s occurred, but it can be a double-edged sword. It can create external pressure, and even if you end up reconciling with your partner, the knowledge of your affair can have a lasting impact on those people. Instead, pick a few trusted friends or family members who can support you or speak to a couples therapist. 

Not Responding to Your Partner’s Needs 

Affairs often stem from unmet needs within the relationship. Not responding to those needs after an affair can reinforce underlying issues that still need to be addressed. The betrayed partner likely has a growing list of unmet needs, such as the need for security, emotional support, and reassurance. Unmet needs can fester and become resentment, so it’s important to be attentive and responsive to your partner. 

Rushing Decisions

Whether you are the unfaithful partner or have discovered infidelity within the relationship, avoid rushing decisions. Infidelity can have a significant impact on mental health for both parties: 

  • Increased anxiety 
  • Decreased self-esteem 
  • Attachment issues 
  • Guilt and shame 
  • Depression 

In the initial aftermath of infidelity, emotions are running high. It’s easy to miss the bigger picture and make decisions that have a long-term impact. Try to take some time so that you can gain perspective and evaluate your options clearly when you feel less charged. 

Allowing Paranoia or Jealousy to Rule 

It takes time to process infidelity and rebuild trust. Paranoia and jealousy breed resentment and create a hostile environment that will make healing difficult. A healthier approach to reconciliation involves open communication, transparency, and accountability. 

Not Communicating

Rebuilding a relationship after an extramarital affair doesn’t happen overnight and will take time. If you avoid communication, it blocks the ability to rebuild trust. You can’t talk about your feelings and expectations or understand each other’s needs. If you can’t speak openly and honestly, it gets in the way of addressing underlying issues and making decisions together. 

Sharing Too Many Intimate Details

If you’re the unfaithful spouse, talking about the details may feel like another betrayal to your partner. You don’t have to lie or not be honest that an affair has occurred, but you also don’t have to share graphic details that really only the people involved should know. 

Neglecting Yourself 

Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself. The emotional turmoil of infidelity can be draining. Try to practice self-care to help you manage stress and improve your mood. 

Here are some ways to practice self-care after an affair: 

  • Prioritize sleep, healthy eating, and exercise 
  • Try relaxation techniques like meditation or journaling 
  • Speak to trusted friends or a therapist for emotional support and guidance 
  • Make time for hobbies and interests you enjoy

Contact Thriving Center of Psych 

Healing after infidelity is a journey, not a sprint. By avoiding these mistakes and prioritizing communication, you can begin to rebuild trust. 

Thriving Center of Psych offers couples and individuals a safe and supportive space. Our experienced relationship therapists can guide you through open communication and healing and help you figure out if you want to stay in the relationship. 

Book an appointment online or in person with one of our caring therapists. 

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