What Can You do to Increase Your Chances of Surviving an Affair?
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It might be shocking to find out that you and your spouse have now become part of the infidelity statistics. With almost half of all marriages experiencing infidelity it shouldn’t be such a surprise. However, it’s hard to reconcile what has now happened with the head-over-heals love affair that started your marriage.
In truth, most marriages survive affairs. In fact, many even report to having stronger marriages after the affair. There are some tried and true ways to ensure that your marriage survives and even thrives after the infidelity.
Stop The Affair – This might seem like an obvious solution, but you would be shocked to find out how many people think they can keep the affair going while finding out if their marriage will work. You can’t do that. You have to end it completely without regard for yourself or if you’ll wind up alone if your marriage doesn’t survive. Showing that you are willing to give that up for your spouse will mean a lot.
Be Empathetic – Regardless of which side you happen to be on when it comes to the affair both spouses need empathy. The one who was cheated on needs more, but so does the one who cheated. Sometimes cheating spouses have even more trust issues than the non-cheating spouse. They think they are good people, and assume that since they are good and still cheated that no one is safe.
Expect Forgiveness But Not Forgetting – The hardest part of an affair is finding the way toward forgiveness and realizing that to forgive you do not need to forget. After all forgetting would only serve to lead you both back to where you were when the affair happened. No, instead you want to remember and forgive so that you can move forward in a more trusting, safer, stronger marriage.
Get Professional Help – Whether it’s a life coach, a minister, or a professional counselor, find someone who is trained in helping couples overcome infidelity. Each professional may have their own agenda. Talk to them together to ensure that they are on the same page as to your goals to work out the marriage and survive the affair. Check out the materials the person provides to ensure that your values line up.
Make Your Marriage a Priority – You may have thought you were doing that, but chances are, if an affair has happened one or both of you have not put the marriage first. Sometimes putting the marriage first has nothing to do with emotions but rather the contract you two agreed to when you got married. The marriage has to be upheld as something more important than you both individually, and sometimes more important than how you feel at the moment.
Be Willing to Answer Questions – This is especially important if you’re the one who cheated. You must be willing to answer every question from your spouse about the affair. It’s true that at some point it must be over and behind you, but the months after an affair your spouse will need to feel safe coming to you with questions. Remember that you’ve had more time to deal with this than they have. Plus, it was your choice to take the problems in your marriage this far, therefore you own most of the fallout.
Work on Yourself Too –Taking responsibility for yourself can go far in helping strengthen yourself and your marriage. Remember that you are not responsible for anything someone else does, only for what you have done. If you can get to that point, you can accept your part in anything that has gone wrong without crossing over into the blame game. Sometimes an affair is only one person’s fault, but many times a professional can trace a relationship back to when the breakdown first occurred before the affair started. If you can do that, and come out working on your own issues, and letting your spouse work on theirs – and helping each other when appropriate – then you will make it.
Recommit To the Marriage Together – Pick a time and date in the future to have a re-commitment ceremony so that you can wipe out the past and work toward the future. Having that demarcation date will help more than you know. It can be the end of the questions, the end of the pain, the end of not having intimacy with your spouse and a new beginning from which to build on the marriage.
Surround Yourself with Support – This can be a difficult thing to do. The best of all worlds is that you and your spouse simply do not tell anyone who will be less than supportive of your goal to work on your marriage. This may mean keeping information from your parents or other friends and family. But, the marriage has to come first and it’s best to keep as much of your private life private as possible if you want to ensure your marriage’s survival.
Increasing your chances of surviving an affair really just revolves around proving your commitment to each other and the marriage. You will, over time, rebuild the love and trust you once had. Maybe this time it will be even better because you and your spouse are more realistic and more mature. You may both come out of this stronger than ever and more willing to ask your spouse for the things that you need from them, thus making your marriage stronger than ever before.
What type of tip can you offer readers to help them survive an affair? Did you ever have an affair? If so, did your marriage survive? If not why not?