What Do You Do When You Find Out Your Partner Had an Affair and They Don’t Know If They Want Your Forgiveness?

Couple's Counseling After an AffairWait a minute, what’s wrong with this picture? She/he cheated on you and you want to try to forgive, but your partner is not sure that they want to be with you anymore! Aren’t they supposed to be begging for your forgiveness? Maybe, but maybe they are not doing that.

If your partner is not ready to own their behavior then they probably are still overrun by hormones of excitement, secrecy and passion. We call it a fantasy; something that’s hard to compete with if you’ve been together for a long time, have kids and /or are dealing with the stresses of daily life together. Also, it’s hard to find you’re way back to someone when you’ve allowed yourself to drift so far apart.

So, what can you do if your partner does not own or show remorse for their actions that have hurt you, betrayed your trust and basically turned your whole world upside down?

Well, all you can really do is make your honorable intentions known, your desire to keep your family in tact and your willingness to enter into couple’s counseling. Then give your partner what they need. It may be space to figure out who they are now and what they are feeling about you. The thought of letting go is probably very difficult and scary for you right now especially because you need reassurance. Heck, shouldn’t this be about you?

The tighter you hold on to people the more they may want to leave. Instead, let go. You can’t make someone want you. However, by giving a person what they think they want; gives them an opportunity to learn that life without you isn’t so great. They might come to appreciate the life they can have with you. Perhaps you need to become more of a challenge. Make sure your partner treats you with respect. Don’t be a doormat just because you’re scared. That won’t be attractive to your partner or good for your own self-esteem, which is probably a bit shaky right now.

Instead, use this time to focus on yourself by getting support in individual counseling. Chances are you need a place to vent your ideas, feelings, shock and confusion. It’s true, he/she may not come back to you but you can’t control others, only yourself. However, if you use this time to build yourself back up you’ll be ready to work on couple’s counseling or start a new life if you must.

After an affair a couple can recommit to a more conscious and loving relationship or they may decide to go their separate ways and pursue new people, while continuing to co-parent. Point being; no matter what happens you’ll make it even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Ride with your feelings, practice self-care and get support. You are physically and mentally under a great deal of stress right now and you need to function at school, at work, or you may be caring for children. Tip: Get some exercise!

I know it’s hard to let go but what choice do you have? Would you like me to help you figure this out? I’d be happy to use my expertise and experience to help you get through this period in your life. Just call, (626) 335-0903

Have questions about how to get over the betrayal and hurt?

About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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3 Responses to What Do You Do When You Find Out Your Partner Had an Affair and They Don’t Know If They Want Your Forgiveness?

  1. You’ve done a great job of capturing the dynamic between a partner who is caught up in the fantasy and the partner that still wants things to work. I think your advice is dead on (though extremely hard to follow!). It would be great to see a follow up on self-care for the partner who feels betrayed.

  2. Happy to that in my next blog! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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