When Your Spouse Has Had An Affair…
What do you do and how do you respond when you learn that your spouse has cheated on you?
Is there hope for your marriage to be saved?
Can your relationship be restored?
As long as a husband and wife want to save their marriage after one or both of them has had an affair, then the marriage can be saved.
The key word in the above sentence is “want.”
For some spouses, though, they might see an affair as the opportunity – the reason – they’ve been looking for to end a relationship that they have wanted to be out of for a long time. When this is the case, saving the marriage is much more difficult as you can imagine for obvious reasons.
Dealing with the emotional aftermath of an affair is much like riding a rolling coaster. There will be ups and downs, sharp curves, loops and twists, and abrupt changes in the direction of one’s mood.
There will be days when you have such a strong and profound dislike of your spouse for their betrayal that you will put the number of a great divorce lawyer on speed dial.
And then there will be times when your heart, though wounded, softens, and you will remember the good times and all of the history that you share, and have a strong desire to reconcile.
Few things in life hurt as deeply as an affair; betrayal is one of the most devastating marriage problems that exist.
Marriage problems such as money worries, parenting conflicts, even prolonged illness, although they exert significant pressure on a marriage, do not come close to the strain that emotional or physical infidelity cause.
Adultery undermines trust, the foundation of every healthy marriages.
BUT, couples shouldn’t automatically consider that divorce is the only “reasonable” response to cheating.
As long as you feel hopeful about saving your marriage, then do everything possible to heal and restore your relationship. And even if you feel that there isn’t any hope, trust me when I tell you that you owe it to yourself to make divorce the last option.
Marriage counseling, time, and shared effort to restore the relationship, in most cases, will create a stronger and healthier relationship than before the affair.
So, what should you do when one, or both of you, have had an affair?
1. Find Someone To Lean On
Find a trustworthy person of sound mind for support during this time of need. It can be someone in the family, your pastor, or a marriage counselor. But whatever you do, do not face this challenge alone. You need strength and support; and this will keep you focused and your emotions in check.
2. Create Space
Expect to experience severe emotional stress. So one of the best things you can do is give each other some space as you work things through. Consider it an “emotional time-out.”
3. Give Yourselves The Gift Of Time
Healing takes time. So give yourselves all of the time you need. Don’t rush this process. Take it slow and easy.
Caution: Please don’t try to uncover every detail of the affair during this initial time of healing. Save that discussion for later when you are less likely to be accusatory or defensive.
Fact is, the affair happened for a reason – it was triggered by underlying conflict(s). So focus your energy on the health of your relationship — search for the cause and pathways of healing instead of focusing on the explicit details of the affair.
4. Air Out Your Feelings With A Trusted Friend
One last thing, when you are ready to discuss the explicit details of the affair, you might consider airing out your feelings with a trustworthy friend first before initiating this conversation with your spouse. Strive to make the conversation with your spouse constructive.
If this is the first time your marriage has been harmed by infidelity, then there is a very good chance that you and your spouse will save your relationship.
But if you or your spouse have strayed more than once, then this makes it more difficult to save the marriage. I strongly urge you to do whatever it takes to uncover the root cause that is triggering these affairs – this is an absolute must if the cycle is to be broken once and for all. Find an exceptional marriage counselor who can help you to get your marital house in order; I think you will be glad you did.
So, is there any hope to save your marriage after an affair? Absolutely! As long as you enter the situation with the following attitude:
- Handle the situation appropriately – be constructive not destructive
- Focus on healing the relationship rather than on the explicit details of the affair
- Take all of the time you need to heal, restore, rekindle
- Find the support of an exceptional marriage counselor
If you follow this advice, then you will be mad about marriage again, AND stay mad about marriage for years to come.