You Can Recover from Infidelity in Your Marriage
Infidelity isn't a single, clearly defined situation. What's considered infidelity can be different among couples and even between spouses. For example, is an emotional connection without sex, or an online relationship, infidelity? Each person needs to define what infidelity means to them within a marriage.
Why Husbands or Wives Cheat
All types of marriages can experience infidelity, including those that seem happy and those with many problems. Infidelity may happen due to a variety of factors, including: Lack of affection and loss of love and commitment.
Communication breakdown about relationship needs. Medical issues with chronic pain or disability. Mental health issues like fears, low self-esteem, depression or anxiety, or addictions. Major life stressors. Affairs happen when people seek something to fill in the gap to make them feel special again.
Do You Stay or Do You Go?
Marriage requires two people to remain committed to each other; sadly, with infidelity, one is left in the marriage while the other may have moved on. Your options are separation, divorce, or forgiveness to salvage the marriage. If you give your marriage another chance, you should confirm that the affair is over; (private investigators, Instant checkmate, habits, behaviors, what they say). Many cheaters use social media or dating accounts. See if your spouse will open up about the marriage and how it resulted in the affair. If they're unwilling, you must decide which is better for you.
The Stages of Recovery
1. Get it Out in the Open
Recovery for the offender involves:
- Ending the affair.
- Cutting all ties with the affair partner.
- Becoming transparent enough to explain what happened entirely.
The cheater will likely need to repeatedly answer their spouse's questions with honesty, patience, and humility. Full access to cellphone records, texts, emails, and more helps rebuild trust. At the same time, sharing excessive details about the sexual encounter can further traumatize the spouse. The cheater needs to understand the cause of the infidelity (motives, emotional triggers, stressors, and environments) to be cautious and prevent it from happening again. Any past repetitive behaviors may need additional care under the lens of possible compulsive sexual behaviors.
Recovery for the offended involves:
When a cheating spouse expresses genuine empathy, compassion, and sorrow for the pain that the betrayal has caused helps the healing process. Gradually, the betrayed spouse needs to be able to describe their feelings rather than act them out by lashing out in anger. The couple must discuss how and why the infidelity happened, and that the cheating spouse wants to avoid deception and infidelity again. The betrayed individual, however, must make this kind of transparency safe by listening without criticism or judgment to keep the couple on the healing pathway. Insight into one's mistakes also empowers one to make changes to strengthen the marriage.
2. Confront Your Feelings and allow time to Grieve.
The impacted partner should be allowed to grieve, and the offending partner must recognize how their actions have damaged trust and how much effort and time it will take to regain it. When the offender expresses genuine empathy, compassion, and sorrow for the pain that the betrayal has caused, it can help the healing process. The betrayed partner can experience trauma, depression, anxiety, guilt, and grief, and the family and the children are hurt emotionally. Even the deepest wound can heal; it will just take time and working together.
3. Re-establish Communication
Communication is the most critical part of all of this. You can't just have one healthy and open communication conversation about fixing things; you must continue this practice. Regular updates provide constant reassurance and will instill confidence and help to forgive. If your partner is serious about earning forgiveness, ensuring no more cheating is going on is vital to continue the focus on restoration.
4. Work Together to Understand What went Wrong and Recommit.
While some people cheat for no reason other than to satisfy their ego, most have reasons for infidelity. You can figure out what those reasons are together, or you may want to seek a therapist to have that conversation. Once you've both figured out the reasons, you'll need to work on them together as a team. Some of the behaviors of the betrayed could've been a factor in the infidelity, and behaviors must change to move forward.
5. Rebuild Trust
Once a couple commits to rebuilding trust, they must work on treating the relationship like it is an entirely new one. Both sides must ask for what they need and not expect their partner to know what they want and learn to be transparent. Withholding trust out of fear or anger could prevent emotionally reconnecting with your partner and stop healing. Instead, work toward rebuilding the relationship by renewing the spark(date nights, goals, love languages, checking in with your partner). Showing affection, appreciation, and attention to each other will help with bonding.
If you and your partner struggle with an infidelity situation, Marriage In a Box may be an option for help in deciding how you will move forward and provide you with new skills, support, and suggestions. Consider using Marriage In a Box for help in your new journey to help heal your relationship.
Marriage In a Box is an excellent resource that provides access to the simple tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards and find marriage coaching and support on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.Download Our Worksheet And Discover Your Top Relational Desires!