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Dealing with Infidelity: The 8 Mistakes You’re Making and Don’t Even Know It
Whether you are the one who committed adultery or your spouse is the one who cheated it’s likely that you’re trying to overcome it and survive the affair. Whether that means going through with a divorce or trying to save your marriage, some people deal with infidelity with erroneous assumptions.
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The moment the affair comes to light you both are affected. Trust is destroyed. Self-esteem issues escalate, and the world feels like it’s no longer a safe place. The entire earth has been pulled out from under you. Most people have read magazines and articles about infidelity, or watched Dr. Phil and have come to believe some myths that can actually inform and become detrimental to your ability to deal appropriately with the infidelity.
- Thinking You Can Control Your Spouse’s Desire to Have an Affair
You have no control over your spouse, you cannot control them. The desire to cheat is completely something on the person who does the cheating. Nothing you do, or say, is going to take it back, or change it. Even if there are things wrong in the marriage it is not a good excuse to cheat and your actions did not cause the affair.
- Trying to Predict the Future
Just because your spouse cheated, or you cheated, doesn’t mean it will happen again. The saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” isn’t backed up as statistically true. Even couples who have never experienced infidelity have the same chance of it happening to them as you have now even though it already happened once. The propensity to cheat again actually depends more on why the spouse cheated than on the fact that they did cheat. Knowing the reasons can help, but you still cannot predict the future.
- Trying to Change Your Spouse
No matter how much you want to, you cannot change your spouse. Your spouse is the only one who can change themselves. You can give them space to work on themselves, and encouragement, but that’s about as far as it will go in terms of your influence on how much they change or if they change at all. Also, the fact is, your spouse may not need to change. If you are the one who cheated, you’re fooling yourself if you think a different person will help you. If you were the one who was betrayed, it’s totally up to your spouse to work on themselves.
- Trying to Change Yourself Too Much
Many people try to change too much about themselves trying to please their spouse, and in the process ruin their own self-image. This can cause issues with infidelity in and of itself due to low self-esteem. Getting lost into your marriage and losing yourself as an individual can lead to your own affair and can make your spouse not know the person they married. It’s important to be yourself and embrace yourself, imperfections and all.
- Competing with the Other Person
Many people who have been betrayed will set out to better the other woman or man. The thing is, this is only going to erode your self-image. People do not always choose “better” people than their spouse to cheat with. Many cheaters don’t choose smarter, better looking, or move “up” in any way when choosing someone to cheat with. Avoid giving more power to that person than necessary. They’re not better than you, they are only different.
- Focusing on the Affair Rather than the Marriage
It’s hard not to focus on the affair. It’s likely your fantasies of what the affair was like, why it was done, and more circle in your head constantly. Both the betrayed and the betrayer can sometimes place the focus only on the act of the affair rather than what led up to it and what is happening now after it. To overcome an affair and make a marriage work requires focus to be placed back on the marriage.
- Not Focusing on Yourself
It’s easy to focus only on the affair and what your spouse can do to change themselves to make everything perfect, but the truth is you have to place some focus only on yourself whether you are the one who had the affair or not. After all, the propensity for having an affair is something internal to each individual and is very rarely about the spouse. It’s imperative to be happy within yourself and know who you are regardless of what side of this situation you’re on.
- Believing that All Marriages Can be Saved
A huge mistake that many people make when trying to overcome an affair and deal with infidelity is to believe that all marriages can and should be saved. Sometimes the person who has the affair has deep seated mental issues that will never change regardless of who they are married to. Other times, affairs happen due to a mismatched marriage that exists without love or passion between two good people who made a mistake and moved on from the marriage before the divorce.
- Believing that No Marriage Can Overcome Infidelity
Some people believe the idea that “once a cheater, always a cheater” is true. However, it’s not true. Many marriages not only overcome infidelity but thrive after infidelity. While not recommended, sometimes something as serious as an affair can break down the walls in a marriage and make both parties realize what they really want out of life, and what’s more – they want it together.
Making these mistakes when dealing with infidelity is not uncommon because the advice to do the wrong thing is “common knowledge” and part of the fabric of our society, in the books we read, the movies we watch, the songs we listen to and the society in which we live. It’s hard to realize that individual experiences, while real, are very subjective and have nothing to do with your own experience – good or bad – when dealing with infidelity.