Infidelity can have devastating effects on any marital relationship. Unfortunately, affairs are a relatively frequent event in relationships. Both men and women admit to having an affair while in a relationship which led to the breakup or divorce. Affairs can happen in 1 out of every 3 marriages. 22% of men say that they’ve cheated on their significant other at least once during their marriage, and 14% of wives admit to straying while married. No doubt infidelity is a serious problem, married or committed couples do face. Many couples do not terminate their relationship after they have discovered their partner’s infidelity. 60 to 75% of couples who discover or disclose an affair remain together or married.
After discovering the affair, causes confusion and uncertainty on what to do next. Your world has been turned upside down. Friends tell you to kick him or her out. You may be pressured by others to make a quick decision. Your angry, upset, distressed, full of rage one minute and then feeling hopeless and lost the next. Your partner is probably equally upset too. Embarrassed, hopeless and lost, angry, upset, confused, and distressed too.
The discovery of an affair is overwhelming and can be devastating on you as a couple. You wonder, can my partner be trusted? Is this the end of my relationship? Can our relationship survive this breach in trust? What is the right thing to do? Who do I turn to? What should I do?
There are no easy answers. You and your partner may struggle in the first weeks and month following the discovery of an affair to answer these questions. Before you can explore the meaning of an affair for your relationship or even try to reestablish trust and intimacy, you need help in coming to terms with the emotional turmoil caused by the disclosure and discovery of the affair.
The good piece of news in all this turmoil is that with the help of a marriage counsellor or therapist, you may be able to regain trust and intimacy in your relationship. An Emotionally Focused Therapist will help you deal with the impact the affair had on your relationship and on you.
You can express how devastating this was for you in a manner that does not just blame or criticize your partner. It is important for your partner to see how the intrusion of a third party into your lives and relationship created a lack of safety in the relationship. Through therapy, couples learn to use appropriate emotional expressiveness communication to express their feelings in a manner that does not just blame or alienate their partner.
3 Signs That Your Marriage Can Survive an Affair and Regain Trust
The Affair is Over
All contact and interaction with the outside affair person needs to stop. Couples need to discuss boundaries around your relationship and how to protect your marriage or relationship from outside intrusions. This means deleting their contact information from all of your electronic devices, blocking them on social media, withdrawing from common social groups or activities. In some cases, it may even mean moving. Sometimes disconnecting completely from the outside affair person is difficult in the case where the outside person is a coworker.
Continual interactions with the outside person creates confusion for all parties involved. It’s next to impossible to make clear headed decisions and choices about your marriage or relationship if you continue to interact with outside person. Continual interactions with the outside person will lead to hurt feelings and the feeling that the affair has not terminated. So if you’re serious about working on and improving your marriage you need to say good bye for good.
You are both willing to talk
Talking about the affair is difficult for both parties. Feeling understood by your partner is one of the most important parts of an intimate relationship. Knowing how to share your deep vulnerable feelings with each other and feel you understood are important part of intimacy.
When an affair is exposed most people feel too vulnerable to share their intimate emotions and feelings. It no longer feels safe to express or share your emotions. Not only may you feel it’s not safe to express your feelings you may also have difficulty talking about the affair without getting angry or withdrawing from your partner.
Taking the time to talk about this difficult experience is so important. You and your partner need to be willing to discuss the affair, to try to understand the experience of each other or to look at ways to move forward. While talking may be difficult and painful, talking is the only way to heal and strengthen your relationship.
Assume responsibility for your actions
Are you or your partner taking responsibility for your actions? No one can make you have an affair. It is a choice you make no matter how awful things were between you and your partner. You both willing to explore possible reasons why our marriage or relationship was not affair proof. You, the partner who had the affair need to be open to examining and expressing what was happening in the relationship that lead you to not feel close to your partner. And the hurt partner needs to examine his or her role as well. What was happening around you, at work, in your marriage or in your life at the time of the affair?
Where there signs your relationship had some flaws? Do you and your partner have difficulty in addressing touchy issues? Do either one of you avoid problems in your relationship hoping they will go away? How do each of you deal with disappointment?
Unless we address these issues and other, it will be difficult to strengthen your relationship. We each play a role in the breakdown of the relationship. Each of us can take responsibility for our actions and work at changing our own behaviours and relationship patterns.
Our goal at Family-Therapy
Our goal at Family-Therapy is to help you both make the decision on what to do next. Together, we talk and explore what is best for both of you and what you want to get out of couples counselling. Talking with a marriage or relationship counsellor allows you to get a broader more balanced perspective. Couples counselling can both of you work through difficult decisions and emotions. Call us today to learn how our couples therapists can help you and your partner make your relationship affair proof.