Infidelity in a marriage can be a horribly devastating thing to experience. It can knock you off your feet and you may feel as though you will never recover. Of course you will and if you and your spouse work hard your marriage can too.
Not all marriages can survive infidelity, it takes both partners to want to stay in the marriage to make it work and sometimes an affair is a sign that one partner no longer wants to be part of the marriage. However, if both partners want to remain in the marriage, the good news is that with work the marriage can survive.
Mending a broken marriage is never easy but it is possible. Here are some suggestions for repairing the damage from infidelity:
Expect Honesty – This can be the most difficult thing after infidelity but if you want to mend the marriage both parties are going to have to be honest. Now is not the time to hide your feelings. Counseling from a licensed therapist is highly recommended to help you both sift through the wreckage and to help build a strong marriage again.
Be Accountable – Don’t blame the other spouse for your affair. If the affair has not ended, do so now. Healing can’t happen if the affair is still taking place. End all communication with the person if possible.
Talk Openly – If your spouse cheated on you you’re going to have a lot of questions that you will want answered. It’s important that the cheating spouse answer all questions no matter how painful or embarrassing it may be. It may seem at times that the offended spouse talks about the affair obsessively, this is quite common and will eventually subside. For now, answer any and all questions as often as they are asked. To not answer them will be regarded as covering up or lying. To rebuild trust you’re going to need to answer a lot of questions.
Don’t Lie – If you had an affair you know you’ve done a lot of lying, now is the time to come clean and stop lying going forward. If you’ve cheated you’re going to lose the privilege of privacy for a long time. Cell phone records, web browser history, credit card statements – all will be examined at least while trust is being rebuilt. Don’t balk at the loss of privacy, it’s one of the many costs of infidelity.
Say You’re Sorry – Many times couples will work to fix a marriage scarred by infidelity only to find it nearly impossible because the offending spouse has done nothing to make amends. Say “I’m sorry”, many times if necessary (and it will be necessary) and then try to find ways to show you are sorry. Counseling is a good place to explore different meaningful ways to show you are sorry.
As a marriage counselor in San Francisco I have seen all kinds of marriages rocked by infidelity. Fixing a broken marriage can be difficult, but it is possible and many times the marriage is stronger for having gone through the storm. If you’d like to learn more about marriage counseling in San Francisco please call (650) 400-3214.