Recovering from an affair is the harder of two choices. In some respects, leaving and ending the marriage is the easy choice. Deciding to go through the process of understanding, healing and forgiveness – learning to trust again – this is the more difficult thing to do.
“Men and women sleep not with each other but with the memories, the regrets, and the hopes of unions yet to come. Our adulteries are internal; they deepen our aloneness.”
― George Steiner
Affairs are hurtful, and no amount of apologizing can take away the pain one feels when they discover that they have been betrayed. In such circumstances, a marriage no longer remains an institution based on love and trust, and becomes broken. Affairs, as such, cannot be taken lightly, and although the accused may give many reasons and excuses, the act is done. What matters now is this: Is your marriage strong enough to survive it?
Affairs don’t usually start with the intention of betrayal. They are often chance happenings. A short conversation can turn into a long one, and before you know it, you’re flirting with the idea that perhaps this person understands you more than your spouse ever could. The thing about marriage is that it survives based on your ability to love one another. Although we may entertain ourselves with the notion of love at first sight, most marriages don’t start off that way. It takes time and compromise to reach a situation where you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, so if you become seriously involved in an extra-marital affair, then there is something wrong with the relation you have with your spouse.
An affair can occur for many reasons, and although we might be able to give our opinion and justify those acts, it cannot be denied, that having an affair is wrong; not only because this act is hurting your spouse, but also because it is hurting you and the third person involved. An affair can be messy, especially if you fall seriously in love with that person because then, to make your marriage work, it would involve telling your spouse that you were betraying them behind their back.
Be it the husband or the wife, the fact that the other spouse might be having an affair, rears its ugly head at times. Most spouse instinctively catch on to the withdrawn behavior of their partner and have a number of suspicions about them, each one worse than the other. This quote by Jessica Tandy clearly explains how bad one can feel, just by instinctively knowing that something is wrong.
“When he’s late for dinner, I know he’s either having an affair or is lying dead in the street. I always hope it’s the street.”
This shows how an extra marital affair can hurt so much that it can cause a spouse to hope that their person is dead rather than them having an affair. So what should you do if your marriage is going through rocky times?
You start from the beginning.
Reason for Having an Affair
The truth about an affair can reveal just how true your marriage is. Although to the world, everything might seem picture perfect about a happy couple, once the walls start crumbling down around their relationship, you cannot do anything other than watching from a safe distance. Throughout our lives, we see so many people go through their life’s problems and although we might say that were we in the same situation, we would have taken a stand, taken revenge, ignored the problem, and compromised as needed; when it really happens to us, we are simply left numb by the impact of the problem.
Whether you or your spouse has been in an affair, you have to think about this: What brought it on? When did either of you start feeling that the attention and love they are getting in their relationship is not enough? Was the attention divided? Again, it does not matter which spouse committed it, the act was done, and the trust was broken and so now, you have to find a way to mend it before it’s too late.
How NOT to deal with it
An affair can bring out a lot of skeletons from the closet, which means that the way you deal with the aftermath indicates how the future of your marriage will be. The first thing you need to do is to try to get a grasp of the situation. In any case, an affair is not something that should be ignored, so it is almost always best to bring it out into the open. When you know that your spouse is having an affair, you are going to become very angry which is your right, but remember, that anger can lead to a lot of mistakes. You cannot take back your actions or words once they’re out. Being too angry is the same as being completely ignorant of the truth. Neither will give you an advantage.
The second thing you should be careful about is revenge. In many relationships, the fact that your marriage is on a rocky and weak path might urge you to seek revenge. Doing something that you might regret in the future will only hurt your chances of being able to trust one another again. You might want to leave that person, take everything away from them and hurt them in a way they won’t forget because you were hurt the same way. What matters is that you remember the times when you were there for each other and try to realize the truth behind the affair.
What You Should Do
Talking it out is always a good way to find out what the problem is, and where you both went wrong. If you fight, you will not be able to come up with a solution and the situation will only become worse. For the person who has been cheated, your ego is probably hurt as well as your relationship. Your world is crumbling and everything you thought to be true is now in doubt.
For the person who cheats, you will need to realize that you made a commitment with sound mind and body, which means that when you are making this mistake, you are betraying your own promises to yourself of being a loving spouse and a good person. You cannot expect your spouse to forgive you just because they love you.
There is never going to be a list of ways to survive an affair when you’re married. You will not meet a fairy godmother who will make everything right. You will not find someone who will whisk you away to a happy ending after you’re alone, and you always risk losing your trust in the person you most the love.
However, finding ways to make your marriage work in spite of these odds is the key, and making the mistake of having an affair needs to be dealt with calmly. Each person in this situation needs to realize that the love between two people is pure, and take their next step accordingly. You need to ask yourself: Are you ready to take the next step with an injured past and a broken relationship or are you ready to be the bigger person, repair the damage, and make the relationship work based on your love?
In that case, I work with couples all over the world on the concept of 2.0. Or in other words – the next chapter or a new and improved relationship. The process of forgiveness and learning to trust again is very difficult – but possible. Call today for further details.