You really messed up in your relationship. What do you need to know and what do you need to do? Let’s first make sure you know what’s a healthy way of resolving the mess up while understanding the traps you can fall into that’ll mess everything up even more so you can make up or move on.
Learn The Difference
What’s the difference between inauthentic resolutions, authentic resolutions and what is the role denial plays in forgiveness? If a couple wants to stay together after a breach of trust in the relationship, their goal in the relationships is to have an authentic resolution. An inauthentic resolution will create isolation and keeps the relationship in turmoil.
Don’t Do This
An inauthentic resolution to a mess up in a relationship can be spotted when the person who messed up tries to make excuses for the mess up. They may feel guilty, but instead of working through the guilt for the sake of progress in the relationship, they try to do everything to deny they really are responsible for the breach in the relationship. One big reason is because it feels easier to deny the guilt of the situation than to confess to the deed. You don’t own up to it to yourself or to your partner.
Do This When You’re Ready
Not working through the guilt isolates you from your lover and relationship. Authentic resolution is there to make a bridge between you and the lover that was wronged so you can both meet and have a healing understanding of what happened. Authentic resolution has two major steps. Confession and making amends.
Confession is only constructive when you emotionally and intellectually know that you messed up. The motive for confession has to come through that dual understanding that you messed up, not just because someone else wants you to fess up. When you’re ready to tell the person you did wrong, you let them know what happened. You don’t go into unnecessary details, but just enough to make clear what the event was. This is done so you aren’t holding onto the burden of the event. It’s a cleaning of your soul and emotions.
One thing I want to say about confession is that there is a destructive danger to this. Self-incrimination isn’t the goal here. Also, standing naked and bare in front of the offended isn’t constructive either. There are times when confessions are going to just cause chaos and are no good. I’ve known people who have cheated, couldn’t handle the feelings of guilt and got no help for them. Then they confessed to their partner what happened and their life imploded. After everything cleared up and they explored why they did this, they saw they confessed to hurt the other person and so they could be punished, not for resolution. They discovered they could have handled the situation differently to not cause the extreme chaos that they did. Confessing within itself isn’t good. Understanding the constructive reasons for confessing while you’re emotionally prepared enough to confess is the way to do this.
Do This When You’re Ready
After confession is making amends. Making amends is where the two of you talk and work through the event and feelings that the infidelity has brought up to a point of where if you two decide to stay together there is no guilt or vengeance and if you two decide to split you both can split up cleanly with nothing unresolved or unasked.
The Manipulation Trap
We have to make amends with our lover and ourselves, and some debts we have to our lover and ourselves may never be payable in full. Even if this is the case, this doesn’t mean you’re your lover’s slave for life and have to do everything for them forever. This will stop you from making amends with yourself for you’re just being manipulated by your scorned lover’s vengeance. Having confessed and genuinely said enough, that’s not a reason for you to be manipulated and controlled by the person offended. Making amends comes from both lovers, no relationship will survive if they fall into the trap of being vengeful towards the confessor.
What’s the Point of All The Pain?
There is no guarantee that confession and making amends will keep a relationship together. I don’t even believe that this is the point of all of this. Relationships will come and go, but you’re with yourself forever. The biggest gain to doing all of this is having the growth which changes how you think and matures your emotional functioning so the offense is never repeated again.
Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?
You cheated. Does this have to define you? No. Does cheating define you if you keep cheating? Yes, then you’re a cheater. The hardest work comes in when you’re deconstructing destructive patterns in your life and reconstructing constructive patterns in their place. This takes a lot of work, causes a lot of pain, and ultimately creates relief and love in our lives. You have forgiven yourself and reconciled with yourself. Maybe, you have even been forgiven by the offended and reconciled the relationship. You can then live free to Love & Be Loved. I talk more about what these mean in my article Dealing with a Break Up.
If you feel you may have done something wrong, ask yourself why are you even considering confessing? If it’s because it’s the, “Right thing to do,” you may be investing into a social trap that leads to a path of overwhelming guilt owning your life. If it’s because you’re looking for personal growth and don’t want to live like you have been anymore, then you’re investing in a better path.
Share and follow me here at AdamAyala.org & on my podcast Fix Your Fate if you found this information helpful. I blog and podcast weekly on relationships and am also available for individual in person sessions. Take care and keep asking the right questions about your love life.