Sunday, August 21, 2011

Can a Marriage Survive After An Affair, Cheating, Infidelity, Or Adultery?

On the day that they get married, many people believe that any form of infidelity throughout the life of the marriage would be a deal breaker. This belief is usually unwavering untilcheating actually happens. Because typically once you're confronted with an affair, you have a significant amount of history, shared memories, a home, a partnership, and perhaps even children behind you. These things can make it very difficult to close the door. And many times, as furious as you are with your spouse and as betrayed and hurt as you feel, you still, somewhere deep in your heart, continue to love them, which can be extremely frustrating too.

I get a lot of emails from people who are struggling with these issues. Many ask me questions like: "is possible for a marriage to work or torecover after infidelity?;"and "can we really moved past this?;" or "will things ever be the same again?" I'll answer these questions in the following article.

What Most People Will Need To Make A Marriage Work Following Infidelity: I find that there are a few common denominators in marriages that are able to survive affairs. First, the person who cheated is able to eventually admit that this choice was his (or hers) alone and that he (or she) is totally to blame and at fault. The cheating spouse comes to a place where they know it's pointless and irresponsible to make excuses for their actions or to try to shift blame to their spouse.

No marriage is perfect. No one gets all of the attention or understanding that they feel they deserve. Everyone has desires or feels insecure and bored sometimes. Still, not every one cheats. The difference lies in the decision that you chose to make. And, there are often many options that weren't explored. So, no matter what the circumstances were, each party must take responsibility for the actions that they took.

Second, this is not the time for secrecy or holding back. In order to get past this, both parties must be willing to be open and honest so that you both understand what may have contributed to the affair. This isnecessaryso that you can completely fix it so that you won't find yourself right back in this situation the next time that the marriage is stressed. This often means addressing communication, time, priority, and intimacy issues. This can take a bit of time. It often will not happen overnight. But, it is absolutely necessary because without this, you'll never be secure in the fact that you'll be able to trust (or be trustworthy) again.

With that said, working together through the aftermath of the affair shouldn't be all drudgery and pain. Eventually, you'll both have to begin to let go of the anger and blame. The whole idea here is to create a better marriage where both parties are secure, happy, having a good time, and are fulfilled. This isn't likely to happen if one or both parties are continuing on with the blame and resentment.

Again, give yourself time to get to this place. Don't beat yourself up if you can't envision it right now. If today you don't want to open yourself up to your spouse, that's OK and it doesn't mean that you won't change your mind tomorrow. This is a process and it very often is not linear. You will have your good days and your bad days but so long as you're willing to keep moving forward with an eye toward restoring your marriage, then be gentle with yourself.

Where Is Score Keeping And Resentment, Surviving InfidelityOften Requires Some Extra Work: Very often, what I see happen is that the cheating spouse eventually takes full responsibility and really gets on board to heal the marriage. They become accountable, supportive, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to help their spouse and their marriage heal.

And, very often the spouse who was cheated on is somewhat receptive to this. Deep down, they want to feel loved and desired again. But, somewhere else deep down, theyaren't able to let go of the lack of trust and the score keeping. There's often a need to keep on "punishing" or dredging up the past which is often like dead weight around the ankle of your marriage. So, while it seems that you should be feeling better, you really aren't. The anger still bubbles up. The resentment still rears it's ugly head. The suspicions still won't go away.

In these cases, I often tell the spouse who was cheated on to take a good look at if they've gotten all their needs met. Often, there's something that's bothering them which they haven't addressed (in the hopes that their spouse would "just know" what they needed.) And then, when their spouse can't read their mind, they think he doesn't love or understand them enough.

Here's the truth. If your spouse was really great at interpreting and then addressing feelings and doubts, you likely wouldn't be here in the first place. So, you may just need to come to terms with the fact that you may have to lead them to your needs and thoughts. In short, you may have to spell this out for them.I know thatis a raw deal, but it's the only way to ensure that you're able to shed some of this baggage and these doubts so that you can truly let go once and for all and put this behind you. Because in all honestly, the pain is just as hurtful and damaging to you as it is to them. By holding on to it, you're punishing yourself as much as you are them.

I know that working through the aftermath of an affair and forgiveness is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. It took a lot of work and healing, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and my self esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can reada very personal story on my blog at

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