Infidelity in a marriage can really feel like the ultimate betrayal, and it is a leading cause of divorce. Even couples who stay together after an infidelity continue to have struggles, simply because that line of trust is broken, and extremely difficult to repair when it comes to something so personal and sacred. It doesn’t matter if the infidelity was a one-time event, or a longstanding affair, it can affect a marriage just as much, and can be just as hard to get through. However, it’s not impossible to repair a marriage after infidelity, if both parties are willing to work at it. A strong marriage can survive, and even eventually thrive after an affair with the right resources and the right state of mind.
Make A New Commitment, And Stop The Infidelity
The first thing both you and your spouse have to agree to is to stop the affair. If your spouse has been cheating on you, it’s important to get to the very core of the reason. If the love is ‘gone’ from your marriage, the affair may be an emotional connection to another person. If it’s strictly physical, that’s another issue to work out. But, if you both want your marriage to survive, an agreement has to be made that the cheating stops immediately.
Talk, And Listen
Even though you may be angry with your spouse, and deeply hurt, it’s important to show empathy, ask questions, and listen, along with calmly letting them know how you feel. You may be surprised at how much the two of you can achieve by simply talking about the situation, why it happened, the feelings behind it, etc. It’s the base point for repairing your marriage, and that open line of communication needs to continue throughout your relationship to insure infidelity is never an option again.
Find Support, And Be Yourselves Again
It will certainly take time to ‘get over’ the infidelity, and in truth, it will be something neither of you ever forgets. For that reason, it’s important to find support outside of your marriage, whether it’s from family, friends, or a professional. In your relationship, don’t let the infidelity continue for years to come. It will already be in the back of your head, so don’t give it the attention in the spotlight of your marriage. Though it may take some time, try to do things as a couple together that you used to enjoy doing; go on dates, plan trips together, or partake in activities that will take your mind off of the affair. Overcoming infidelity and repairing a marriage can be difficult, and certainly a long climb for both you and your spouse, but it can be done if you’re both willing to work, and continue to love each other.
To read more on infidelity and other mental health topics visit, Donna Shanahan, LMFT couples therapy Pasadena