“I revealed my infidelity; now what do I do?”
If you’d like to preserve the relationship, here’s the short answer: continue to apologize for what you truly regret, don’t tolerate yelling, mistreatment, or real abuse as a response from your partner, and get help from a specialist, not just a “couples counselor.”
I’ll say more about each of these things.
Apologize. Period. And only apologize.
Listen, the only response for you to offer is a statement of empathy to your partner. Tell the truth. Don’t apologize for things you don’t regret. Not everyone is sorry they had the experience. But nearly everyone is sorry they’ve wounded their partner. Apologize for that.
Here’s what it sounds like: “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”
If your partner says, “How could you do something like this?! What were you thinking?!”…
the only appropriate response is “I am so sorry.”
If they say, “Stop apologizing! That doesn’t help!”…
you can say “All I can do is apologize. I wish I could take away the pain. I am so so sorry.”
Also, don’t follow it up by making your feelings more important than theirs. It is NOT time to say: “I feel so bad that I hurt you. I feel like crap.” Your partner feels bad right now. They feel like crap. Simply apologize for hurting them.
Once you’ve revealed infidelity, everything changes for both of you. Hang in there for a bit. If you get the right kind of help, there will be time and space for your feelings. Sharing them right now makes things worse, not better. Stay focused and simply apologize.
Remove yourself from abusive reactions
Emotions are high. That’s understandable. Revealing your infidelity has changed your relationship forever. Your partner is, rightfully, reconsidering the totality of their history with you. You’ve been living with the reality of what you’ve done each step of the way, and for some people that means they’ve been living with their own reality (including their infidelity) for a very long time.
When you reveal your infidelity, it’s devastating for the betrayed partner. This is brand new for them. Having a strong reaction is normal.
Even so, keep yourself from being abused. Remove yourself from offending behavior. It won’t help anything. And, worse, it will increase everyone’s pain and give your partner something to regret.
Handle your own emotions
On the flip side, it’s devastating for you as well. You’ve violated your own value system. You’ve kept it a secret until lately. You knew the reveal would have consequences. Yet, no matter how well you know your partner, the response is always unpredictable. There’s no way you could have prepared for what is coming at you right now. But don’t allow yourself to be abused.
Most offenders experience a healthy dose of shame when revealing their transgression. Still, that does not mean you deserve to be yelled at, physically or verbally assaulted, nor do you deserve to be slandered, have your belongings scattered, or be otherwise publicly derided.
The most effective remedy for these passionate reactions is simply to remove yourself from the behavior. For some couples, that means a self-imposed timeout or time away. Some couples prefer to stay together. Just be sure your time together remains safe so neither of you are doing more harm to one another or the relationship.
No matter what you decide, let gentleness guide you. Give yourself a break. And give your partner some grace without tolerating abuse.
Find good help once infidelity is revealed.
Lots of couples split after infidelity. Still, many, many people stay together after infidelity…with and without “help” from a counselor.
But if they settle for the standard approach to “getting over” infidelity, they can almost always expect to endure permanent, residual, relationship scarring. Couples who go this standard route, run into the same issues and similar triggers even decades later.
Most couples counselors take clients through the standard protocol of answering why this happened and what needs to happen for trust to be reestablished, then they jump into attempting to create a new relationship.
But this approach can be disastrous.
It almost always piles on more shame and anxiety for both partners.
The standard protocol just can’t address foundational issues. It doesn’t provide real healing for individual core issues. It stirs up unnecessary pain. Nothing is healed. Both partners end up feeling worse. And, even when they stay together, too many couples have missed the chance to truly heal and transform their lives.
That’s just wasteful.
When you invest in help, find someone who can help you take this most devastating reality of your life and lead you through a recovery process that will transform your life and relationship.
If you really want to stay together, don’t settle for less.
What not to do after you’ve revealed infidelity:
- Don’t make excuses or provide justification, no matter how many questions your partner asks or how much they promise they “just need to know…”
- Don’t provide information it will be difficult for your partner to forget. Don’t cooperate with an interrogation, no matter how bad you feel.
- Don’t allow emotions (theirs or yours) to escalate and lead to more damage, and
- Don’t keep looking for answers on the internet. Finally,
- Don’t hire just a run-of-the-mill counselor to help you.
You NEED a couples counselor who knows how to help you get some relief right away, help you actually recover, and effectively resolve issues in your relationship once and for all. (More on recovery after infidelity here.)
I am not the only practitioner who knows how to help you manage your pain, do no more harm, truly heal, and use this terrible time as a perfect opportunity to transform your life and relationship.
But I have definitely never met anyone more eager or more able to help. Find out if there’s space for us to work together. If you’re willing to invest yourself in real healing, this is going to change everything.
Click the button below. Let’s get started.CONNECT