After An Affair
8 Marriage-saving Steps After the Affair
Does It Have to End?
For some, an affair marks the end of a relationship. But, does a marriage really have to be over because of infidelity? To put it very plainly, no. Despite an affair wreaking incredible havoc on a marriage, infidelity is not an indictment. It can be a fresh chance to recreate life with your partner. While a fresh start may be appealing, it does not wisp over your marriage like an oceanfront breeze. Saving a marriage after an affair takes work and dedication. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Make A Clean Cut
For the betrayer, ending an affair means cutting ties with the third party. No phone calls, texts, emails, coffee shop meet-ups, or physical contact of any kind. Furthermore, you must be accountable to your partner. On the other end of the spectrum, the betrayed partner has a right to shorten the liberty leash, per se. When you are cheated on, you will likely require proof instead of just words.
2. Reach Out for Help
At times, you can handle recovering from relationship trauma or conflict in your marriage without any outside help. After an affair is not typically one of those times. To help you recover from the betrayal and guide you towards saving your marriage, you will want the input of a neutral party. This does not just mean calling up your sibling or talking with your best friend. Seek out a specialist in couples therapy to help you navigate complex emotions.
3. Take Responsibility
It is common to assume that only the partner who cheated must take responsibility, but it is actually necessary for both of you. The betrayer needs to step up to the plate and take responsibility for cheating. Also, the betrayed needs to take responsibility for their response to the situation. No matter which shoe fits you in your situation, taking responsibility is an important marriage-saving key.
4. Practice Empathy
Of course, you cannot perfectly understand how your partner feels. Nevertheless, they have a right to experience various emotions and process them accordingly. You both do. As partners, it is your job to try to understand where you are both coming from and show empathy towards each other.
5. Allow Space to Heal
Although the affair may now be in the past, your emotions may not see it that way. In short, it is important not to rush the healing process. Distance from the affair will motivate reconnection in stages. Furthermore, your therapist can guide you at a healthy pace. Be sure to give your partner, and yourself, the necessary space to fully heal from the affair.
6. Identify the True Culprit
As you may have guessed, affairs do not happen out of the blue. Rather, an underlying problem usually serves as the true culprit. Your therapist can help you identify any hidden marital issues that have eluded you or you swept under the rug. To save your marriage, now is the time for some in-depth self-examination.
7. Recommit to Your Partner
Having hope is the first step to saving your marriage. Hope is believing, even through tears and pain, that you want to stick this out with your partner. After an affair, it is important to recommit to one another. Though sexual intimacy may be temporarily paused, find others ways to nurture your intimate connection. For instance, reach out to your partner at least once a day to show them that you care.
8. Be Transparent
Broken trust is undoubtedly the most damaging part of an affair. Rebuilding that trust requires a lot of time and a lot of reassurance. Meaning, you must both do what you say you’re going to do, communicate, attend counseling sessions, etc. Telling your partner the truth about the affair is a must, as well. Intimate details are not necessary, but be honest when you answer your partner’s questions.
If you’re ready to take steps towards saving and improving your marriage, please visit my couples counseling page or contact me for a consultation. I can help you establish healthy boundaries and support you and your partner as you journey down the path towards healing.