I often get emails from folks who tell me that they doubt that they will ever be able to get over their spouse’s infidelity in a way that is healthy enough to ensure that they can move on. They really want to be to get over the feelings of hurt, frustration, and betrayal, but there is often always memories or doubts or issues that seem to get in the way of this. No one wants a life sentence like this, but people often fear that this is exactly what is going to happen. They often just can’t envision a future that doesn’t include the way that they feel right now.
I understand these fears. I felt them myself, but in the end, I was able to get over it. And, I exhibited many of the “signs” that people assume mean that you aren’t going to be able to move on. I’m often asked things like “how do I know that I’m at the point where I just can’t get over this? Part of me is hoping that with time, I will heal. But another part of me just knows that this is a deal breaker that I will never recover from. How do I know which one of these assumptions is true?” I will attempt to answer this question in the following article.
Anger And Frustration Do Not Always Mean That You Can’t Move Past The Infidelity: I often hear from people who tell me that they hate the spouse who cheated with a passion. They tell me that they think that these strong emotions mean that they will never be able to go forward. I understand this assumption but it often is not true. Almost every one is angry for quite a while. You need time to process things and it will take some time for your spouse to prove to you with their actions that you and your marriage can recover if that’s what you want.
And, strong negative emotions are actually not indicative of an inability to move on. The lack of emotions are actually more troubling. Strong emotions like anger, hurt, and fear are indicative of the fact that you still care very much about the person and the relationship – even if you wish you didn’t right now.
A Lack Of Trust After Infidelity Is Not Something That Can’t Be Overcome: On the other side of the coin, I sometimes hear from people who tell me that with time, their anger and hurt has started to fade some. They are starting to see their partner in a more positive light, but they just can not seem to restore the trust. They are always doubting and suspecting their spouse. They are always suspicious and this thwarts their ability to move on.
Again, restoring the trust is something that takes time. But more than that, if you aren’t getting what you need, you may have to ask for it. You might have to spell out for your partner that you want and need for them to check in, include you in any lengthy times away, and allow you access to their cell phone or computer if you feel the need to check up in order to make yourself feel secure.
A spouse who is serious about restoring your trust should not have a problem with this. Sure, it may be frustrating for both of you and you may feel like the parent while they feel like the child. But if this is part of what you need to restore the trust, then you should both work through it and hang in there.
Indifference And A Wish To Stop Trying Is More Indicative Of A Person Who Can’t Get Over Infidelity: As I’ve alluded to, a spouse who is hurt and angry and who is not willing to trust again (at least right now) doesn’t always mean that the marriage won’t survive or that you can’t get over this infidelity. It usually just means that there is work to do and that more productive time (and rehabilitation) is needed. These things can usually be overcome if both people are willing to continue this work.
Usually what is more troublesome is that the cheated on spouse becomes indifferent. They aren’t all that hurt anymore. They may not even be angry. They actually don’t care at all anymore because they are no longer invested in the relationship. In short, they know that they are “done.” They are no longer interested in trying to work things out or in moving forward. They aren’t emotional or angry about this. They just intellectually know that they are no longer interested in continuing down this road as they know that this isn’t the best choice for them at this time.
If you’re still angry, hurt or distrustful, it’s likely that you still care and are still invested. It also means that you have more healing to do. I can’t promise you that this healing will be easy. It is likely going to be work. But I’ve seen it lead to rehabilitation and peace many times so that most people who follow this path feel that it’s been worth it in the end. This is usually true whether the marriage survives or not, because at least you know that you did all that you could.