Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Does Cheating Affect Your Marriage?

It's pretty much common sense to know that, at least initially, infidelity, affairs, and cheating can have a devastating effect on your marriage. This is the most severe of all betrayals and it can literally challenge everything that you've ever believed about your spouse and your marriage. It hurts your self esteem. It erodes the trust. It leads to resentment and a loss of intimacy and vulnerability.

In short, each party is left injured, hurt, and not sure how to proceed to make things right again. But, it doesn't have to mean the end of your marriage if you're both committed to not letting it do so. You will have to correctly address and fix the fall out to over come it, but it certainly can be done. I'll discuss the effects of infidelity on a marriage and then tell you how to work through them in the following article.

Give Yourself Permission To Feel And Then Process Whatever Feelings Come Out, Feel Them Fully, And Then Move On: Initially, you will likely be extremely shocked, angry, and reeling. Many people will try to deny or push down these very negative feelings because acknowledging them brings about scary feelings of fear and vulnerability. However, if you tell yourself you're fine when you're really not or if you cheat yourself of experiencing these feelings and then releasing them, you're truly only delaying your own progress.

You must acknowledge and then experience these feelings and release them in order to move past them for good. If you don't, they will just keep returning and haunting you over and over. This will be frustrating and will only make things worse. With that said, once you've taken the time to process your feelings, make a commitment to not dwell on them. The best case scenario is for you to fully heal from this, emerging completely whole. This is not going to be possible if you keep bringing up the negative and allow these things to keep you from being as happy and joyful as you deserve to be.

Don't Rush Past Identifying And Then Working Through Whatever Issues Contributed To The Infidelity: I am completely aware of how painful it is to have the hard conversations that will help you to pinpoint why your spouse chose to betray you in this way. Many people really have an inclination to skip this step because they mistakenly think that putting their cards on the table is really only wallowing in the mire of their misery. Admittedly, this is a difficult process that may not be much fun. It's natural to want things to get back to normal or to feel better as soon as is possible.

But, if you don't become aware of the problems and then fix them how are you going to be sure that this is not going to happen again? How can you be confident enough to trust again? How will you feel as secure as you need to be to make this work? Because in order to really be able to move on, you need to have peace of mind. You need to not fear that you're going to be hurt again. In order to get to this place, you must understand where your marriage's vulnerabilities are and then fix them. As a last step, you should put safe guards in place that will keep both of you secure and moving forward.

Knowing That You Don't Have To Settle For Less Than What You Deserve: Many people go through the recovery process dragging their feet because frankly they know that the pay off isn't all that great. So they accept their spouse back and bitterly look forward to limping on with their vulnerable and broken marriage. What's to like about this? Not much. To really be successful, you need to look forward to something that you can get excited about. You need to create something that is new, fresh, and better.

This is going to look differently for every couple. What works for one may not work for another. But the real key here is identifying what you need and want and then simply asking for it and making it very clear that you won't accept anything less. Of course, you must be willing to do the same for your spouse, but the pay off to this is huge because you will both emerge a lot happier and more fulfilled. Often, people really want a fresh new start. They don't want to continue doing things in the same stagnant way. They want to create a new and better reality that excites and motivates them to keep going.

Looking For Fulfillment In Your Own Mirror: This is a small point, but one that I know is necessary to make. Healing and recovery lies as much within yourself as it does within your spouse. Yes, you must work together as a couple. Yes, a lot of this is joint work that you must do together. But, some of it must be done alone. You will likely lack self esteem after being cheated on. You may doubt yourself. You may feel weak and vulnerable. And so, you must do whatever is necessary to build yourself back you. You must give yourself permission to care for yourself as the same way you would your children, your job, or your spouse.

You deserve every bit as much of yourself as these folks do. And a mom and wife who is happy with her own inner life is going to be more effective for and to those she loves. Do the things you've always been putting up or have always wanted to do. You deserve it and there is no better time than now. Self confidence and self respect are absolutely necessary to move forward in whatever life throws at you and this is a very attractive trait that is going to draw people to you. Don't allow yourself to be a victim. You are no one's victim. Take control and create the life that you want.

I know that healing from infidelity and restoring your self esteem 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 read my very personal story on my blog at

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