Why Affairs Happen
The specific reasons affairs happen are countless. You have people like Tiger Woods who feel their success entitles them to play by a different set of rules. Then there are those in bad or abusive relationships who feel trapped. Such people sometimes seek out companionship elsewhere. They don’t necessarily want to cheat. They’d rather just get out. But they’re afraid to leave their current relationship.
Those are extreme ends of the spectrum, though. What about when infidelity happens between a normal, loving couple? It’s often because the cheater isn’t getting something they feel they need from the relationship. Perhaps their sex drive is significantly higher than their spouse’s. Maybe they feel their spouse is emotionally distant. Or, possibly, they have their insecurities. Having an affair helps them validate they’re still attractive, that they’ve still “got it.”
Whatever the reason for the affair, you can repair your marriage if you both want it enough. But it won’t happen overnight. Patience is key. Moreover, trying to work through infidelity without help makes it even harder. Affair counseling can guide you through the process and give you the best chance of success.
Steps to Recovering from an Affair
Restoring your marriage to its pre-affair condition won’t be easy. But you have the best chance if you work your way through the following steps.
Stop the Affair and Cut Off Contact
This one seems obvious. But it needs to be said. You’ll never repair your marriage until you stop the action that caused the rift. This means ending the inappropriate relationship and cutting off all contact with that person.
It doesn’t mean simply not having sex or going on dates anymore. It means the person you had an affair with doesn’t exist to you. Don’t call them. Don’t text them. Disconnect on social media. Don’t email them. If the person is a coworker, then saving your marriage might even require changing jobs. You have to decide what it’s worth for you to have a happy marriage again.
Be Honest About Everything
This one applies to both spouses. For the guilty party, you have to lay all your cards on the table. Answer all your spouse’s questions with complete candor. This may require divulging uncomfortable details about the affair. You may have to admit to other affairs in the past. But that’s the price of getting your marriage back on track.
For the aggrieved spouse, don’t hold back in your quest for answers. This doesn’t mean lash out irrationally. But you shouldn’t be overly concerned about protecting your partner’s feelings. You are the one who was wronged. You’ll never be happy in your marriage again if you’re still holding onto resentment or unanswered questions about why it happened.
Don’t Expect a Quick Resolution
Enter this process expecting it to take time. This isn’t like the fight you had when your spouse spent $800 on a new smartphone without telling you first. You probably won’t get over it in a day or two, or even in several weeks or months. Placing a timetable on recovery from an affair sets your marriage up for failure. You’re more likely to give up when you blow past your deadline having still not forgiven your spouse.
If you’re the guilty party, understand your spouse has to process their pain and work through it, and that this takes time. If you’re the aggrieved party, don’t feel rushed to forgive your spouse before you’re ready. Your spouse should understand the pain they caused and give you time and space to heal on your terms.
Consider Affair Counseling
Affair counseling boosts your chances of recovering from an affair. It provides you with a trained professional to guide you through the process.
The steps to recovering from infidelity might seem simple, but they’re easier in theory than in practice. When you’re faced with the prospect of having to spill to your spouse everything that happened in an affair, it’s easy to clam up. It’s easy to hold back certain details you feel are too painful. Affair counseling can coax it out of you and keep you accountable.
Likewise, when you’re the one who’s been hurt, it can be hard to stay rational. It’s easy to blow up and let your anger get the better of you. Again, affair counseling can help. A trained counselor can keep the conversation productive and on track.
Infidelity can be devastating to a marriage. But with patience, honesty, and professional affair counseling, you can work through the hurt and put your marriage back together.