Recently, weve been talking about the problem of cheating or infidelity. Is there anything that can be done? Can the relationship be healed?
The worst part about cheating is the loss of trust. Trust forms the foundation of any relationship. Between individuals, companies or countries, trust is the currency of exchange.
Without trust, relationships suffer and often wither until death. Cheating shatters trust, like a dropped vase.
Can your relationship survive such a terrible revelation? I believe it can -- but it will be more difficult and take longer than initially imagined.
Early on, the errors must be acknowledged. Admission of guilt is meaningful only if it is genuine and comes from the heart. This cannot be faked or skimmed over. The defects of character that led to the infidelity have to be owned.
You cant fix a car until you know what is broken. The easy thing to do may be to go buy a new car, but this doesnt fix the old car, which remains broken. So even if you leave the relationship, the brokenness goes with you.
A decision has to be made on both sides of this exercise of healing, both parties have to commit to a fair and sincere effort at healing. Both will experience a lot of frustration as efforts are offered and rejected. Rejection is felt and absorbed.
But somehow, a higher love -- a love without expectation -- must be held onto. Are your efforts only contingent on the outcome, or is your love an expression of the core of your being? Rejection and hurt can be carried if you know how you feel.
You may have to ask yourself, what is my motivation? Is the nice guy and devoted partner just an act to get what I want or can I feel the tear in our relationship and accept the stitches that will hold until the wound heals?
The wound will require stitches, but healing can occur if infection is avoided. One of the first places you will want to turn will be to a trusted parent, mentor or friend.
In a shocking or traumatic situation, your own judgment may be suspect. Allowing a guide to offer direction may save further hurt down the road.
Solace from your faith can also provide an atmosphere for healing. Getting to your roots of meaning and direction can help with the pain but also offer a safe refuge for the storm that you are facing.
We may ask our God, How can this be happening? Why? we plead. But from the religious perspective, the answers will come if we are faithful.
Hear the words there? IF we are faithful, then trust can be healed. Faithful behavior and trust building go together.
Finally, we have to do the work. If our defects have caused pain, we must find ways to heal the pain.
To make something right that is broken, I will have to do some work that I may not like. And this may take longer or be more unreasonable than I think. But if I have caused injury, service is the answer, yes, even sacrifice.
Coupling has to be a two-sided arrangement -- make sure you are doing everything to take care of your side.
Bruce Conn is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and practices as a group therapist. Contact him at Bruce@BruceConn.com or call 478-742-1464.