When someone you love betrays your trust, it can feel like a hopeless hurdle to overcome. The truth is, with a little tender love and care and dedication from both spouses, it’s completely possible for your marriage to survive infidelity.
My name is Brad Browning. I’m a marriage coach from Vancouver, BC. You may have heard about my bestselling, Mend the Marriage Program which is designed to help married couples work through their hardships and recommit to one another.
Today, I’m going to talk about how to get over an affair in your marriage.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that before any progress can really be made in repairing a marriage, the unfaithful spouse obviously has to first end their affair. It’s pretty obvious.
Once that’s done, then both spouses can start to recommit to repairing the marriage, rebuilding trust, and working through some of the following steps I’m about to talk about to save their marriage and emerge stronger on the other side.
Here are the 8 steps to affair recovery:
1. Openly talk about the affair.
In order to move past infidelity, it’s important that both partners are given the opportunity to share their feelings and get insight that they need in order to move on. The betrayed spouse should be able to ask questions about things that they need to know.
For example, how long did the affair last? Was it sexual or emotional? What was the extent of the lies that were told to conceal it? Is there any risk of STDs or pregnancy?
It’s also important that the unfaithful spouse shares the thoughts and feelings that they had that caused them to cheat in the first place. Doing so is going to help you both to understand the underlying problems that caused or led to the cheating in the first place.
2. Practice honesty and work on rebuilding trust.
It’s crucial that spouses provide all the details honestly and completely and take the steps necessary to prove their trustworthiness to one another.
Even though telling the truth about this kind of thing can be tough, it has been proven that couples heal better after an affair if the adulterous spouse supplies all of the information that is requested by his or her betrayed partner. If you never discussed it, you can’t recover.
A willingness to talk about the affair will rebuild trust. But if you leave out details and they then come up in the future, then your spouse is just going to feel betrayed all over again.
Another great way to work on rebuilding trust is by making sure that your actions match up with your words.
For example, if you say, “I love you,” back it up with loving actions. If you say, “I want our marriage to work,” then commit to being monogamous.
There’s nothing worse for your partner than to find out they’re being lied to.
3. Patiently face your feelings.
Obviously, infidelity has a devastating impact on a marriage. If you stop and fully feel the heartache, you will be surprised what is possible.
Once you face your feelings and give yourself time to process them, they’ll begin to shift. It’s true that you’ll never forget the affair, but with time the painful memories do begin to fade.
The single best indicator of whether a relationship can survive cheating is how much empathy the unfaithful partner shows when the betrayed spouse gets emotional about the affair.
It can be frustrating to hear the same things over and over again, but it’s important to be understanding of their feelings.
After an affair is over, the couple has a window of opportunity to fix what was wrong and make sure that their marriage is better than ever. However, the emotional reactions that are leftover from the affair may stand in the way of that happening.
It’s important that spouses take healing seriously and don’t try to rush the recovery. Grieving together can help you let go of what has been lost and make room for your future together.
4. Learn to deal with resentment.
Once a husband and wife agree to work towards rebuilding their love for each other, you may think that that all would be forgiven. And while that may be the case, it’s not likely that all will be forgotten.
Since the spouse’s infidelity is one of the most painful experiences that anyone can go through in life, it’s not uncommon for couples to find that the memory of their spouse’s affair haunts them even decades after it happened.
And although the resentment caused by an affair can push couples to consider ending their marriage, most affairs don’t actually lead to divorce. In fact, most spouses do try to reconcile after an affair and usually succeed.
Now that said, even after a successful reconciliation, resentment is a feeling that’s going to linger on. At times, you may feel that you’ve overcome it, but unfortunately, it is something that may return again from time to time in the future.
5. Do things together.
Couples that spend time together and have shared interests, recover from infidelity a lot more quickly and effectively. Also, spending quality, fun time together helps prevent cheating from happening again.
Make a point to discover or rediscover things that you can do together that you both enjoy. It’s a great way to spend quality time together, create new memories and become more emotionally intimate.
By keeping busy, you and your spouse are going to have less free time to sit around and to dwell on the affair. Trying new activities and exploring new interests together is also just going to give you the chance to reconnect.
6. Recommit yourself to the relationship.
The emotional fallout from infidelity can take years to heal.
If you want to stay together, then act like you do.
To help you recommit to the marriage, think back to when you first met or got married.
How did you fall in love?
Why did you get married?
What did the relationship look like back then?
Now think about the future you want to spend together and your plans to enjoy retirement together, go travel, enjoy family activities, that kind of thing. What does that look like to you in your mind?
7. Seek professional help.
Sometimes couples dealing with infidelity will choose to attend counseling together. Talking to an outside third party can give you both the help that you need to understand the unmet needs that are going on in your marriage and it can also speed up the healing process.
That said, it does take time to go through traditional therapy or counseling with your spouse.
So if you’re still in the fence about counseling but you’d like to get started repairing your marriage today, please visit my website and watch the full length video presentation that I’ve got up on the homepage there. I think you’ll find it really helpful.
8. Start fresh.
Once you are ready to move on after an affair, it’s important that you let go of the old thoughts and behaviors that trigger memories of the affair and you replace them with things that encourage you to be committed, content, and faithful in your marriage.
In order to truly get over infidelity, it’s important that you don’t hold the affair over partner’s head. If every time you bicker, it leads back to what happened during the affair, then neither of you are going to be able to grow and move on together.
Well, that pretty much wraps things up here. Hope you enjoyed this and you’re feeling a little more confident about overcoming the cheating and issues in your marriage.
That’s it for today Thanks very much and until next time, take care.