In an excerpt from her new book, Book of Love, Dr. Laura Berman shares ways to help you and your partner cope in the aftermath of an affair.
Being betrayed by the one you love can rock your relationship to its core, and many couples struggle in the aftermath of an affair. It is possible to survive, however, and even to emerge from the infidelity stronger and more in love than before. It isn't easy, but you can repair the damage and move on.
The cure for infidelity is honesty. Without it, an affair can never truly be considered over or healed. If you are the guilty party, you need to reveal the important details of your indiscretions. Hiding any portion of the affair is tantamount to continuing it, at least from your partner's point of view. As scary and difficult as it might be to confess, it is the only thing that can save your relationship.
If your partner is the unfaithful one, ask him or her to be 100 percent truthful with you. No doubt you will want to know when the affair started, how long it continued, and why it happened. You should expect straight answers and to be told all the facts. It's perfectly natural to want to know about the times you were lied to and the nature of their relationship. As difficult as these details are to hear, they will help to clear the air between you and help you to get a better picture of what occurred behind your back. Bringing the secret affair into the open will dramatically decrease its potential for harm, even though it won't always diminish the hurt.
The one thing you shouldn't ask for, or expect, is for an unfaithful partner to give details of sexual acts. However difficult it may be to resist, recognize that this is a self-destructive need that will prevent you from moving forward. If you are the guilty party, do not give in when your partner pesters you for every gory detail.
How to begin moving forward