Successfully Saving Your Marriage After Infidelity: Is it Even Possible?

Successfully Saving Your Marriage After Infidelity: Is it Even Possible?

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The ultimate couples guide to a perfect marriage by Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

You’ve gone through something horrible, a total breakdown of the trust in your marriage. You may wonder how anyone can ever overcome such a devastating blow, and also wonder if there is even a possibility that your marriage can be saved. The one differentiator to determining overcoming infidelity in any marriage is whether or not both parties want to overcome it.

That means that the one who cheated needs to accept responsibility for the trust they have ripped from their marriage, and the one who was cheated on needs to be willing to do some work to move past the infidelity.

Make the Commitment

Advertisement: If you ever need any help with fixing your marriage, I would suggest you take a look at this video (opens in a new tab):

The ultimate couples guide to a perfect marriage by Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Both parties have to make a commitment to the marriage. Even if you can’t commit right this moment to the other person, you can still make a commitment to the spiritual, emotional physical and legal contract you made to the other party at the time you got married. It’s not romantic, but understanding that the marriage contract is a legally binding contract, a lot like a lease to an apartment, or the promise to pay your utility bill can give you both a focus to get started.

Making the commitment to stick to your legal obligations may sound clinical, but it can help you and your spouse move forward by making the commitment from this day forward to honor that contract even if you broke it in the past. This only works if both parties are willing and able to recognize the legal contract and obligation of a marriage license and marriage contract. If you can do that, you have a beginning.

Give Yourself Time

During your recommitment to the contract, don’t expect all the romance to automatically come back. Adultery is very painful to the person who was betrayed, and probably confusing and difficult for the person who did the cheating, as well. The person who was betrayed feels as if the one person in the world who is closest to them has repeatedly stabbed them in the heart. The person who has committed the crime feels confused too and has perhaps lost trust in everyone, including themselves.

The fact is, neither of you will ever “get over” adultery. Instead, you’ll learn to rebuild trust, and maybe even carve out a new relationship that works better once an affair has torn it apart. Affairs are most of the time a sign of something wrong in the relationship, something missing, and it’s not always about sex. Other times an affair can be emotional, situational, and just a terribly stupid mistake. It doesn’t mean your spouse doesn’t love you. If you’ve cheated, it doesn’t mean you’re immoral or unloving.

Develop a Plan of Action

Together, create a plan of action that helps you and your spouse work through all the issues that have been brought up due to the affair. Having a direction and a plan is the key to successfully rebuilding your marriage. You use a map to arrive to a new vacation destination because you don’t want to just drive without any direction as you don’t know where you’ll end up. If your goal is to end up with a happy, healthy marriage, you’ll need to develop a plan of action toward achieving that goal.

Together write down the plan, and keep yourself aware of the plan by reading it every day. Keeping the plan in mind as you move through your day will help you both remember what’s at stake. You’ve agreed to put the marriage first, and due to this decision you will put the marriage first and then follow your plan of action. With a little time, the plan will work, and you and your spouse will have a new life together, potentially even stronger than what you had before.

Get Counseling

Whether you go together or individually, getting some kind of counseling can help improve your marriage. Counseling will help you and your spouse delve into your marriage prior to the affair and even to try to help identify issues that are being covered by the betrayal and grief of the affair. An affair tears a marriage so wide open that many do not survive it. If you want to move forward with love and trust in your heart, with your spouse, counseling can help.

Tell People What You Need

One of the worst things you can do when trying to overcome infidelity is to hide everything behind a curtain. The more help you can get from friends and family that will be on board with your plan to save your marriage the better. Keep in mind that some people will not be very helpful. Some people have very visceral responses to infidelity that doesn’t allow for forgiveness.

You may need to demand from friends and family that they be supportive of your marriage and your decision. Tell them if they cannot be supportive, then not to talk about it or mention it. In return, you should be careful not to bring up the situation to that person. It can be harmful and unproductive talking to people outside of your marriage or counselors who do not have the same goals as you do. Tell people what you need, and if they are unable to give that to you, try to understand. But, realize you may need to separate yourself from those people for a little while.

Be Honest

If you and your spouse have any chance to overcome the infidelity that happened, you both will need to learn to be honest. Don’t keep things in just to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings. The fact is, an affair can often bring up many issues within the marriage that existed prior to the affair. However, be clear, no matter what issues exist in marriage an affair is not a good choice. But, if you want to work on the marriage, and heal from infidelity, you’ll need to start addressing those issues.

Take Personal Responsibility

An affair is never the fault of the person being cheated on. However, the breakdown of the marriage which allowed the affair to occur lies on the shoulders of both spouses. Each spouse must take personal responsibility for their own actions. Taking personal responsibility doesn’t mean accepting fault for the breakdown; it means simply to own the things that you can change. You have no control over your spouse, but you do have full control over your own actions.

Healing from and overcoming infidelity and saving your marriage is absolutely possible. In a point of fact, over half of all marriages who suffer from infidelity manage to improve their marriages once the affair becomes known.

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