Infidelity: How To Recover From An Affair
Recovering From Infidelity
The destructive force of an extramarital affair on a family is almost without equal. However, an affair does not have to result in divorce. Not only have thousands of couples survived an affair, but many report that their marriage has never been stronger!
How does that happen?
While nothing can replace the help of a qualified marriage counselor, I’d like to offer a few steps to recovery from an affair.
This process is not easy.
And it very well may be one of the most difficult things you have ever undertaken to accomplish. However, the end result is well worth any effort it takes to survive the affair.
Step one: Acknowledge the wrong.
The straying party must confess the affair and acknowledge the damage done to the marriage in general and to their spouse in particular.
An acknowledgement of wrong should not be something like: “Yes, I had an affair, but if you had been a better partner I wouldn’t have been as susceptible to infidelity.” That’s not an acknowledgement. It is a rationalization.
An acknowledgement says: “What I did was wrong and it hurt you.” No excuse is to be given.
Step two: There must be no contact with the third party.
This is absolutely essential if the marriage is to survive the affair. The third party is to be viewed much as alcohol is to a recovering alcoholic. Every contact will start the recovery process all over again.
Step three: It is then necessary to identify and fix any pre-existing problems in the marriage.
While these problems do not excuse an affair, their existence places the marriage at risk. The intimacy you seek in marriage will not be found as long as these problems remain.
Great attention should be given to rebuilding trust in the marriage.
Trust is earned, but day by day as both parties demonstrate their trustworthiness, it will be necessary to take small but progressive “leaps of faith” in order to re-establish trust.
Forgiveness is essential.
Both parties will have things they need to forgive their spouse for. Without forgiveness, resentment builds, and resentment is the arch enemy of intimate marriage.
One couple whose marriage was touched by an affair and who went through this difficult process emailed me recently to say how happy they are that they did the hard work of saving their marriage. At the close of the email they said, “Tell everyone that it is well worth the effort. Our marriage is stronger than its ever been. We are so happy we did the hard work to save our marriage.”
An affair doesn’t have to mean the marriage is over. Your relationship can recover from infidelity and you can have a marriage that is stronger and happier than you ever thought possible. So hang in there, and do whatever it takes to save your marriage.