When a husband strays, it can be difficult to imagine how you can possibly move past it. How can you find joy in the relationship knowing that he has broken your trust, that he has become intimate with another woman?
Staying with a cheating husband is not the popular choice, but it's one that some women still make.
Some mums choose to stay for the kids, while others still see that there is love worth fighting for. They recognise that the infidelity is simply a symptom of a deeper problem that is causing their unhappy relationship.
If you are one of these women, surely you have felt the shame that often comes with it. Perhaps you have been told you lack strength, self-respect or that you are simply giving them the power to hurt you all over again.
As long as their relationship is not abusive, these women believe that there has to be at least one thing worth saving.
Get the support you need
You will need a solid support group to get through this intensely emotional time. When once it was your husband who served as your partner and sounding board, his infidelity has most likely robbed you of this relationship dynamic.
When restoring a broken relationship, you don't have to go through it alone. Surround yourself with positivity and people who have your best intentions at heart. They can be close relatives or best friends, or women who are going through the same things.
Make confession and communication a habit
Set aside time with your husband to talk and to come clean about what you still feel guilty about. Use this time to ask him questions about how he behaved in the past.
Make sure you are both in a calm space when you take this one-on-one, heart-to-heart time. Obviously, it won't be a very productive conversation if you're both overcome with emotion to listen without judgment.
Require your husband to 'cut ties with temptation'
In order to help you both move forward, there is nothing wrong with demanding that your husband sever all links from his past behaviour.
This involves cutting ties with people, places, and websites or apps that have anything to do with his past infidelity.
Come up with 'full disclosure' rules
Depending on what works for you, come up with rules defining what information you are entitled to ask for at any moment during the day.
For instance, you can both agree that you have the right to ask about his whereabouts and who he is with at any given time.
This may seem like overkill for some, but having one's trust broken is not easy. Some couples need to go to extremes just to restore the bond that was lost and to reaffirm that there is still faithfulness in the relationship.
Do not rush intimacy
Each woman's intimacy needs vary. If you're the type who craves closeness through sex, seeing it as a necessary first step to healing, then you should strive to turn up the romance in this way.
However, there are women who need to heal emotionally before they even consider getting physically intimate once again.
Whatever works for you as a couple, the most important thing is to focus on restoring that feeling of security or connectedness, regardless of how this is achieved.
*This article first appeared on theAsianparent Philippines