You’ve always told your friends that you’d never accept anyone who’s cheated on you. Yet, here you are hurting, confused, but still loving him after he cheated. First, you thought about who he was with and what they’d done together. Then, you kept asking yourself, how could he do that to me?
It’s not like the love was rushing back in right away. First there was pain, then anger. But in the end, you decided that you didn’t want to lose him. The bigger problem, though, is that you haven’t quite forgiven him, either. After all the blame, shame, guilt, and questions you threw at him, he proved his sincere commitment to you. He owned up and patiently answered without getting uptight. He explained how he strayed from you and how he made a mistake. The affair is over now and you know that to be true.
It’s not like you drink, or argue, or yell. You really love him, but deep down, you hold onto your resentment. Your biggest fear is that he’s being genuinely authentic with you, but you aren’t being real with him, simply because you haven’t shared your resentment and talked about your difficulty in letting the affair go. The worst part is you know he feels it, and you’re afraid that if you keep it up, he really will leave you.
No question, you are the victim here. But forgiveness goes both ways, and you each need to forgive each other. Why? Because each of you had a role in the affair. Whether or not there was something he perceived as missing or needing, the bottom line is that he went searching for it. What matters, too, is how much you showed up in the marriage (with communication, attention, kindness, romance, sex, positive energy, etc.). Everything each of you demonstrates in your marriage (intention, emotion, and action) has a huge impact on your intimate connection.
This is why communication is so important! Talking, sharing, and validating what you hear him saying to you is a big start. Then, have him do the same back to you. This is intimacy. Here are 5 simple steps to help you bring intimacy back into your marriage after an affair: