Dear Aunty Aurora,
Just recently, I caught my husband cheating! That means he cannot deny it, but how can I possibly deal with all the pain and humiliation? Will I ever stop remembering what happened? Or stop feeling angry?How can I forgive someone who has hurt me so badly? And is it even possible to continue with a relationship after such betrayal? Thanks Aisha, Wuse-Abuja.
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Yes, forgiveness is possible, although you will actually be building a whole new relationship because your old innocent and trusting one is gone. It will be difficult, but you could end up in a better union, set on a firmer foundation.
You can start by dropping all the blame. I know that will be difficult, but constant accusations make progress impossible. There is usually no simple answer to why someone has been unfaithful.
Make sure your husband understands how you are feeling, and talk through the infidelity calmly. You have probably already shouted about it, but now you need to understand it.
Ask what happened, though he genuinely may not know. Start discussing how you can avoid infidelity in the future because that is the only way you can restore trust in your relationship.
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Infidelity often occurs when a couple stops paying attention to each other. Conversations become to-do lists, issues stay unresolved, and you are only ever together when you are tired and irritable. There is endless criticism, little affection, and no real intimacy.
So make time to talk, even as you agree that going forward, you will be 100 per cent honest with each other. Do not avoid tough issues, because doing so that builds frustrations and resentment, and an affair soon follows.
Rev up your sex life, because if intimacy is missing, then infidelity is inevitable. Constantly reassure each other of your love and commitment, even if that feels a little hollow right now. Couples who feel secure rarely stray.
It is important to note that you must forgive your husband if you are to stay together. That is not the same as condoning what he did, because forgiving is for you, not him. Otherwise, your bitterness will tear you apart.
Forgiveness takes time and also includes forgiving yourself for perhaps having weakened your marriage by getting buried in your career, for example, or your children’s needs.
Will the pain go away? Yes, but slowly. Gradually, your relationship will feel less fragile, a new and more robust trust will develop, and there will be good moments again. Then you will realise you are moving towards a happier, faithful, future.
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