An affair doesn’t have to mean a marriage is over.
Few marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity, which assaults the foundation of marriage itself. However, when both spouses commit to authentic healing, most marriages survive. Many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.
To a certain extent, defining infidelity depends on the people and the circumstances. Many married women consider an emotional affair by their husband, where there is an emotional connection without physical intimacy, to be a much more threatening form of infidelity than one with sexual relations. Each person and couple needs to define for himself or herself what constitutes infidelity in the context of their marriage. When one spouse says that the contact is faithless, it is faithless.
Discovering an affair jolts the victim spouse and may trigger powerful emotions, such as anger, betrayal, shame, depression, guilt, fear, or remorse. Thinking clearly enough to make long-term decisions becomes very difficult, and the moment of discovery is not a time for rash decisions.
The victim spouse should seek support. It can help to share the experience and feelings with trusted friends or loved ones who can offer support. Any friends or family who tend to be critical or judgmental of the situation should be avoided. Negative outside influence is almost always detrimental to the cause of saving ones marriage. Setting up an appointment with an experienced marriage and family therapist is typically the first step in the repair process.
It is a good idea to go slowly. Even though the victim spouse might have a deep desire to understand what or why this has happened, he or she should avoid wanting to know all the details. A fixation on the details of the affair in the early stages of the repair process will make it next to impossible. One should focus more on solving the issues that caused it in the first place.
Fixing a broken marriage or relationship is one of the most daunting tasks in a person’s life because it involves a path that has been rarely traveled in the past. However, as a person rebuilds trust, admits guilt, learns how to forgive, and the strength is gained to love even more. The road to repair is long and hard, but the rewards can be overwhelmingly positive.
Divorce or reconciliation is not a decision to make at the height of an emotion typhoon. Before choosing to continue or end the marriage, the victim should take the time to heal and understand what was behind the affair. Professional help with a counselor who specializes in marital therapy can be invaluable.
The unfaithful spouse must be accountable. He or she must own-up to his or her actions and take responsibility for the affair.
Ending the affair is a must!