“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”
~ Nat Turner
You need to HEAL, that simple.
After a betrayal in a romantic partnership the relationship needs a lot of attention. Good news is, many couples can heal from infidelity. In fact, that’s my bread and butter – helping couples navigate their partnership and heal after a deep wound.
Where do you start?
I’ve been asked this question time and time again so I’ll summarize four key steps for you to do if you were the one who cheated. If you’ve been cheated on, let’s save that convo for another day because there are actually key things for YOU to do as well.
Step 1: First things first, if you’ve wounded your partnership you need to practice honoring your emotions and getting honest with your needs.
Your piece in the relationship breakdown was that you had something going on inside that you either felt hopeless that things would never change or you were stuck in communication breakdown. This has to change.
You may feel neglected, unimportant, or unseen in your bond but your relationship cannot heal if you don’t start honor your own emotional landscape and advocating for your needs.
Step 2: Next, you have to share everything and commit to engagement.
“Everything” is relative to the couple but a big no-no in the couples therapy world is trickling out details over time.
While you may think this is protecting your partner it actually is re-traumatizing them, which can make healing much more difficult (check out my recent Instagram reels to learn more about how to share everything after betrayal).
Committing to engagement means that healing as a couple requires a plan for connection.
Many couples experience a renewed sense of intimacy after betrayal, another honeymoon phase if you will. This is totally normal, don’t feel like you have to withhold sex or punish each other. This season can be a very healing time for the relationship, if you allow it.
Step 3: Admit your wrongdoing and acknowledge that your relationship landed here for a reason.
It takes two to tango. Your partner needs you to clearly state that you were wrong *and* together you need to recognize and practice dialoguing about how you both are responsible for the breakdown and the healing. If you’ve never clearly acknowledged your mistake, apologized, and asked for forgiveness, nows the time.
Step 4: Finally, Let go and Lean in.
We can thank Brené Brown for that last part. If you’ve been betrayed the letting go does not mean forgetting, ignoring, or repressing – it’s actively working with the wound so you can release the stronghold it has on you.
For those who have done the betraying, your task is to lean in.
Blaming or guilting your partner for bringing up their triggers does not serve your relationship. It actually shows me that you have work to do with your own guilt and shame. In reality, trauma imprints on our bodies so it makes total sense that your partner will be triggered from time to time.
Now is the time for you to lean in and work alongside your partner to heal yourself and heal the relationship.
Alright folks – the recipe is:
H – Honor and Honesty
E – Everything and Engagement
A – Admit and Acknowledge
L – Let go and Lean in
Curious to learn more – check out my e-book Healing the Hurt: Navigating Infidelity in Eight Easy Steps. This workbook is complete with a checklist, eight clear steps, a story of a couple who healed, and a couple TSwift quotes! https://wellnessandco.org/healing-the-hurt
Kendra O’Hora, Ph.D., LCMFT – www.wellnessandco.org
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