How Your Marriage Can Survive an Affair
Infidelity is heartbreaking and devastating. But it doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. If you’re both motivated to heal and recover, the odds are 60% that you will. There are a few factors that make a couple more likely to try to work it out. Those factors include whether they have strong commitments to one another like children or a house.
If there is one thing experts agree on when it comes to dealing with infidelity, it’s that while recovery is possible, rebuilding a healthy relationship is hard work. Couples do and can stay together after an affair, but it takes a lot of work to repair broken trust.
- The cheating must stop.
The person who cheated cannot see the person they cheated with again. Don’t buy into the “I need to see him or her to let them know the affair is over.” They should be able to make a phone call, where you can hear the conversation, and tell them it is over. If this was an affair with someone at work, they may need to look for another job.
- Couples need to vent their feelings.
When it is clear the affair is over, each spouse must have time to vent and express their feelings. Both spouses will have wounds, anger
The spouse that was cheated on will likely have questions about what happened. They may feel betrayed, angry, hurt, or resentful. They may also feel like this was somehow their fault.
- How did the affair start?
- What attracted him or her to that person?
- How many times did they meet? Where? When?
- Do they still love you?
The spouse who did the cheating needs time to “tell their story.” They may feel guilt, shame, and remorse. They may also have had feelings for the person they had the affair with. They need to be honest with their spouse if the marriage is to be saved.
- Talk about the elephant in the room.
Often, there were problems in the marriage relationship long before the cheating began. A troubled marriage is not an excuse for cheating! However, couples need to be able to communicate with each other honestly and openly about the issues in their relationship so they can address them.
- Did both spouses ever spend time talking about things that bother them?
- Was their sex life good?
- Did both spouses spend much time together dating or doing leisurely things?
- Do you love each other?
When both spouses can identify the broader areas in their marriage that were weak, they can talk about how to make improvements so cheating is less likely to occur again.
- Take ownership of your own stuff.
Playing the blame game will not repair the marriage. Each person in the relationship must own their own stuff. The person who cheated needs to take full responsibility for breaking their marriage vows and betraying their partner’s trust. The person who was cheated on needs to acknowledge any actions on their part that may have damaged the marriage relationship. Unless both spouses can talk about what is broken in the marriage, they cannot hope to repair it.
At this point in the process, both spouses have a decision to make.
- Do I still love my spouse?
- Am I willing to do whatever it takes to repair the damage and rebuild my marriage?
- Do I want to end this marriage?
- Start over and recreate your marriage relationship.
Couples can emerge from an affair with a better sense of who they each are and what they want from their relationship. The marriage will not be the same as it was before the affair. You can’t un-ring that bell. However, you can get rid of the parts of your relationship which were not working and create a new, stronger dynamic in the relationship.
Both spouses must be able to communicate openly, show patience, have understanding into heal from their actions. It will not happen overnight and could be a long process.
Almost 60% of couples survive infidelity and rebuilt trust. Couples can survive and grow after an affair and go on to have a happy relationship.