When a man is able to gain the interest of your partner, the previous three paragraphs are perhaps going through your head. Can you regain the trust that she destroyed? It is possible, but it will not be easy.
With a relationship suffering from infidelity, the first step in the process is to determine if the relationship is worth saving. However, though this applies for both men and women, I have a different take on the matter for men.
Can you overcome the image of another man doing to her sexually, what you know has been done by you? This image, especially if you have a healthy sexual relationship, will remain etched to memory.
If you can see this image and not get beyond it, you will have a difficult time truthfully answering if the relationship is worth saving.
As a disclaimer, sex is not the only thing men value from their partners—not at all. As men, there is far more that she brings to the table besides sexual gratification, but in my opinion and from the countless males I encountered, a healthy sex life is vital.
If you have a sexless marriage, this specific paragraph on infidelity, may not be for you. For you, sex is not part of the relationship to begin with.
However, a man will find a sense of peace when his relationship has a healthy sex life, even when rainbows and sunshine, are absent from elements outside of the relationship.
On the other hand, if you combine his unhealthy sex life with an unhealthy life outside of the relationship, the issues outside and within the relationship, become magnified.
What does this mean? When sex is lacking in his relationship at home, the sex-deprived aggression blends into life outside of the relationship.
With a healthy sex life, he is able to maintain his sanity outside of home (work, etc.), although things are not going so well in those areas.
It is not that sex is the only thing that matters, but in his relationship, a healthy sex life can help in the promotion of his life outside of his relationship.
In short, I know we enjoy sex, but the act itself becomes heightened, when we share it with a woman we care for. Therefore, a healthy sex life can bring peace into other areas of his life.
When you keep this in mind, you will understand the importance of overcoming mental images of the affair. If you cannot overcome this image, the process of trusting will never begin.
Can you trust again? Of course, you can trust again. However, you must be able to admit the mental image of another man doing XYZ with her, as something you can overcome. If you cannot get beyond this:
Every time you have sex, you will listen to her sounds of ecstasy and wonder if they are the same ones she made with him.
Every time you kiss her, you will imagine if he pulls her hair back in a similar manner.
Every time she exits the shower, you will wonder about all of the places his hands have been.
You see, these images can and will appear everywhere. If you cannot overcome this piece—it is unlikely that anything else will work.
When I say overcome, I mean at the very least, you must acknowledge the act. You can trust again, but you have to admit to yourself and understand, if it is possible for you to get beyond that image.
If you can, then and only then should you proceed in your determination, as to whether the relationship is worth saving.
I say this because even if it is worth saving, and you did not assess the mental images of her and the other man, your relationship will always come back to the replaying of these images.
Sadly, even if you are able to acknowledge the images, they may resurface. However, you are better equipped during this grieving process, if you were able to confront early on.
In your refusal to acknowledge the mental images early on, you are blocking out the reality of the situation at hand. Denial is a healthy process of grieving, but you cannot remain in that stage forever.
You admit to the infidelity, but you did not admit to what exactly the infidelity entails. To believe that she was unfaithful is not the same, as admitting to the fact that another man did things to your partner only you should.
Can you trust her again? Of course, but you have to admit to yourself first, if it is possible for you to overcome the mental images.
If you cannot, regardless what you do afterwards is unlikely to work. You may physically remain in the relationship, but until you come to terms with this, your relationship is only a formality.
Be honest with yourself first, because I will be straightforward, I love my wife immensely.
Even though sex is only part of the equation, the thought of another man doing things to her, which only we should share—my sense of self becomes the size of microorganisms, because the thought alone makes me feel small.
Can you overcome her affair, and eventually trust again? I believe you can, but only if you first admit to the reality at hand.