You said you “recently” found out about his cheating. I think that explains part of what you are going through right now. Although the infidelity occurred a few years ago, for you it’s as if it just happened. In your mind and heart—and relative to the process of healing—he might as well have cheated last week.
Healing and rekindling trust is a long, arduous process that requires two equally dedicated participants – and usually a skilled therapist. Just as you can’t fix a broken arm on your own, you can’t repair broken trust without help. Even then, healing happens in stages, moving along a zigzag path, not a single straight line. Often, the work is as much about individual grieving or self-examining as it is about reconnecting with your partner.
If healing is to occur, it’s also important to understand what precipitated the breakdown of intimacy before the cheating began. That is not to say there was fault on your part; only that whatever led to his infidelity needs to be addressed now, and through the lens of the last two years, so that your marriage can be repaired, too.
In time, small skirmishes won’t have to carry the emotional shadow of his cheating—but for now you need real support if you’re ever to reach that stage. Without it, you risk staying mired in mistrust, anger, pain, and resentment—i.e., all the quite normal feelings post-infidelity. Yet, those feelings have a lifespan beyond which they can only eat away at your peace of mind and your relationship. If they remain entrenched, even after the cheater has done all he can to make amends, then your happiness in marriage is as doomed as it would be if he had continued cheating. I would go so far as to say that people who wallow in resentment and mistrust become cheaters, too—of a different type. They cheat the relationship of a chance at renewal and cheat their spouse of the forgiveness he or she has worked to earn, (that is, once they’ve actually worked to earn it). Healing can’t occur when anyone cheats, whatever form it takes.
I urge you to let a therapist help you and your partner deal with the complex process of healing your heart and, hopefully, regaining faith in your relationship. It’s unfair for you to have to go it alone. Healing takes more out of you than you would ever imagine, and more time than you would expect. Yet, if you can give yourself up to that process, a renewed bond with your husband is possible; one that’s deeper and more resilient than before.
For more by Dr. Joy, visit her at http://www.JoyDavidson.com
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