How Gay Men Can Heal from Infidelity
Gay relationships are already under more stress than the average straight relationship.
Whether it’s navigating different levels of outness or family acceptance, finding housing, adopting children, or planning a wedding, gay men have a lot to deal with in their relationships.
If there’s been an emotional or sexual affair in the relationship, it can be difficult to know how to recover. In fact, it’s common for me to hear someone ask if healing from infidelity is even possible.
The impacts of affairs
Perhaps you just found out about cheating that happened in your relationship, or it happened a long time ago. Maybe it even happened in a past relationship that’s ended, but you remember finding out as if it happened yesterday.
In any case, infidelity often hurts deeply, and it can hang over a relationship like a dark cloud even if it happened in the distant past.
Cheating usually shatters the trust in the relationship too, and means that rebuilding trust is a critical piece of the healing process.
In fact, infidelity can cause PTSD or trauma in the hurt partner. Things that used to be neutral or enjoyable like phone notifications, specific locations or people, or sex and intimacy, can become triggers which remind someone of an affair.
How to start healing from infidelity
The following are some ideas to help partners start healing from affairs:
➡️ End any meeting or communication with affair partners before trying to fix the relationship.
➡️ Be 100% honest from now on. Rebuilding trust is a critical part of repairing the relationship.
➡️ The cheating partner needs to take full responsibility for their actions. While there may have been other problems that existed before the affair, accountability needs to happen first.
➡️ All partners need to hear each other’s emotions and really understand how each partner has been impacted by the infidelity.
➡️ Take as much time as you need to talk through what happened. This process is different for everyone and may be just a few weeks, or many months.
➡️ Rebuild your relationship from the ground up. What I’ll often say to partners is that relationship 1.0 is now over. Relationship 2.0 now needs to be built.
➡️ Surround yourself with other people who are supportive of you and your relationship as you rebuild it. It’s important to have additional supports you can talk to who are supportive of you rebuilding your relationship.
➡️ Avoid talking about your relationship on social media. This can cause additional pain and get in the way of fixing the relationship.
One of the most helpful things you can do is seek out counselling. A counsellor can help you heal, and build a new chapter in your relationship.
If you’re still feeling the impacts of infidelity that happened in a past relationship, counselling is also an effective way to work through the hurt that you may feel stuck in.
When I work with partners to recover from infidelity, I use an approach called The Gottman Method. This is a research-based method which focuses on strengthening the necessary components of a healthy relationship.
If you’re interested in getting counselling for infidelity, please click the button below to get started. I’d be glad to discuss how I may be able to help.
MA, CCC, RCC
As a counsellor at The Centre for Gay Counselling, Jordan excels at helping fellow gay men understand their emotions better, heal from past trauma, and grow their sense of self-worth so that they can enjoy living fully as themselves. He believes that gay men have inherent worth, and that they deserve to live fulfilling lives. Interested in working with Jordan? Click the button below to get started.