I cheated on my husband 15 years ago. To this day, he still thinks I’m cheating on him. I’m not. My cheating was a one-time mistake. I cheated because I didn’t feel that my husband cared for me and I formed and emotional connection to someone at work, which led to an affair.
The truth came out during a horrific fight where I told my husband the truth. Still to this day, my husband thinks that when I go to work I’m cheating on him! I’ve had to quit multiple jobs because it’s embarrassing when my husband storms into my workplace and makes wild accusations about me being unfaithful.
Why can’t my husband put this issue behind us? Will he ever be able to trust me again? Is it normal to be persecuted for something I did over 15 years ago?
Being cheated on is a devastating experience —it damages feelings of intimacy and trust. With that said, it’s possible for couples to work through such betrayals and create a stronger and healthier relationship.
The key to overcoming a betrayal involves a process where couples work on the problem as a team. A process where couples develop the following mindset: it’s us working to resolve this issue rather than adopting a you versus me mentality.
Rebuilding trust also requires both of you to explain your point of view. You need to be able to explain why you cheated on your husband and he needs to talk about how your actions impacted his life. In addition to explaining your perspectives, you both need to listen to each other. Your husband needs to understand what motivated your affair and you need to understand the pain you’ve caused him.
In addition to listening to each other, the two of you have to work together to develop a plan to rebuild trust. That is, the two of you need to come up with a set of concrete steps your both going to take to restore trust. You just can’t talk about the problem, both of you have to come up with a list of actions you’re going to take to remedy the situation. We go into more detail about the process of rebuilding trust after discovering infidelity in our book, Broken Trust.
But, to answer your question, yes, it’s possible for couples to recover from an affair. With the right knowledge and skills couples can repair their relationship after infidelity comes to light.