Tip #1: Take back the power
When you find you your partner has cheated on you it may leave you with a sense of powerlessness. Feeling betrayed, angry and wanting revenge as well as feeling why me, how could they have done this, and how come I didn’t see it, are all part of the commonly felt responses on discovering your partner has been having an affair. Ranging from blame to self-blame, the spectrum of emotions can keep one stuck in feelings of anger and rage. However, if you want to heal, the best thing you can do is to take really good stock of your life and decide to take back the power. In other words, take control of your life and take yourself seriously.
Do what you need to do to close the gap between how you feel about your life and how you would like to feel about it. Start at the beginning with yourself. This is where you can change. You can become a whole lot happier and you can create more peace and joy in your life, if you are prepared to take small steps, one at a time, to close that gap.
So start today, write a list of all the things you want to do and all the feelings you want to feel. Begin with the end in mind as Steven Covey used say, and create a really clear picture in your mind’s eye of the life you want to live. Use all your energy to focus on what you can change, one step at a time. In doing this you will be heading slowly but steadily towards recovery, and towards creating the life of your dreams.
Tip #2: Create a safe space for open and honest communication: learn how to talk and listen to each other
Affairs happen in an environment of duplicity. If a couple can create a safe space for real and honest communication, if they can talk about the difficult issues together and learn how to manage and resolve the conflict that their partnership stimulates, facing it as a team, then they are more likely to affair proof their relationship. This is a learnable skill and it involves really being able to set aside one’s own perspective to listen fully to the experience of the other, and being able to do that for each other on a regular basis. This creates a safe environment for love and openness and generates a positive energy and climate for the relationship.
Affairs are passive aggressive. This is why it is so important for each partner to learn how to express needs and feelings including anger, frustration and sadness directly to their partner rather than taking it outside the couple.
Tip #3: Be playful and encourage light-heartedness
Relationships can be so intense and our intimate ones even more so. And on top of this they can also become mundane, predictable and boring. But it’s not meant to be like that! We can keep the spark going and we can reignite the spark with a little conscious effort.
A great way to guard against the danger of taking things too seriously and then becoming overwhelmed by the “problems” in the relationship is to cultivate a playful attitude. This also helps in keeping that wonderful feeling of aliveness that human beings thrive on.
Playing together is essential medicine. We all need fun in our lives. Each couple is unique and there is no one solution that fits all here. But play with the idea! See what it is that ignites your passion and sense of well-being and brainstorm with your partner on ways you can be creative with play. Play sport together, take up a new hobby together or watch live comedy or music together. If time is limited or money allocated elsewhere, find simple things that you enjoy together from home, cards, scrabble or board games to name a few! Create a new garden together or develop a new project together that interests you both.
Go for walks together, cook together; whatever you choose, remember the idea is to cultivate a light attitude and a sense of fun. We all need to play together in our relationships to release those endorphins and feel good hormones. Make a point of having fun at least some of the time together! You will be amazed at the ripple effect this has in your relationship!
Margie provides Melbourne relationship counselling, coaching and support in Malvern East, Armadale, Carnegie, Ashburton, Chadstone, Mt Waverley, Glen Iris and Sth Yarra and Toorak. She is also available for Skype consultations. Please contact her for more information.