You know that you have cheated on your spouse or partner, and you want to make things right.
But before you jump into action, it is essential to know what you shouldn’t do in your attempts to save your marriage.
Do NOT Make Excuses
Do not make excuses for your behaviour, because your spouse is not interested. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own actions, and can’t merely blame either something or someone else.
Instead, take accountability for your actions and own them. Taking responsibility will help you both to move forward.
Do NOT distract yourself
Although it is tempting to distract yourself from your problems, don’t do it! We often seek escape because it seems too hard to “face the music” and actually deal with the issue at hand. It may be easier to lose yourself in your work or do anything else that you consider fun. Yet, in the end, that won’t change the situation at all.
Instead, take a good hard look at yourself, your actions, and how your actions have affected your partner.
Do NOT minimise your partner’s feelings
Whether or not you realise it, your partner’s feelings matter a lot in this situation. You’ve pledged to honour the union between yourself and your partner, and now you’ve broken that promise. Your partner is most likely experiencing a range of emotions, including betrayal, anger, hurt, and shame.
You can’t change your partner’s feelings, nor should you. They have a right to feel what they want to feel. In a way, this can help them regain some power in a situation where they feel powerless. Therefore, allow them the space to experience their emotions.
Do NOT turn to drugs or alcohol
Because this situation creates so many uncomfortable and unsettling feelings for both of you, it might be tempted to drown your feelings in alcohol or numb yourself with drugs. These behaviours are just another way of distracting yourself, and it will not fix the problem. Nor will drugs and alcohol make your betrayal go away or improve your partner’s feelings towards you.
Injecting a substance abuse problem into your betrayal will only make things worse. If you realise that you struggle with drugs or alcohol, consult with a drug counsellor and get the help you need.
Do NOT be unkind
Everyone in this situation is going to be tense and on-edge. You might feel tempted to snap or get upset with your partner, but that would be a mistake. It would only make things worse.
Instead, find moments when you can be kind to your partner—for example, writing a card or thoughtful note, preparing a meal, or bringing home flowers. It’s because of your actions that your partner has lost trust in you. It will take a long time to rebuild that trust. That’s why it is essential to be kind.
Do NOT stop communicating
Even though this is a very challenging subject, that does not mean that you stop communicating with your partner. If anything, communication needs to increase for both of you to express your thoughts and feelings. If you don’t talk with each other about your thoughts and feelings, they will build up until they come out in unhealthy ways.
That is why it’s crucial for both you to keep communicating openly.
Do NOT avoid therapy
Because your betrayal is so serious and involves all aspects of your relationship, it is imperative that you and your partner both see a therapist. Both individual counselling and couples counselling would be appropriate.
Therapy is a safe place where you can process what happened and determine where to go from there.
If you are serious about saving your marriage, remember that you can’t undo what happened. Yet, knowing what to do and not to do can mean a great deal for your relationship.
Getting further help
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.