After infidelity has occurred in a marriage, many couples assume that the situation is hopeless and that divorce is the only option. They don’t see how trust can be restored in their relationship. If you are dealing with unfaithfulness in your marriage, you might feel the same way. It might help to know that a great many couples have been able to recover from adultery. Many even say their marriages have improved and are stronger after infidelity than before. It all depends on how you handle the situation.
Try To Keep Your Cool
The steps you take in the emotionally charged atmosphere after infidelity is exposed in your relationship are crucial. Both spouses’ action at this point has a big impact on whether the marriage can survive. Even though you might feel like you could care less about your marriage at this point, don’t let your emotions lead you to do or say something that will only make the situation worse. As hard as it will be, try hard to keep your cool when talking to your spouse about the problem.
Take a Time Out
Chances are you may have already had a big blow up and some pretty heated words may have been exchanged. That’s usually the first thing that happens after infidelity comes to light. If so, put that behind you. Decide right now that you are not going to participate in a hostile exchange with your spouse. It won’t help and could sabotage your chances of healing your marriage. If that means that you need to give each other some time and space to cool off then that’s what you should do.
Keep Hope Alive
If you have decided to take a time out to cool off, make sure you both understand that it is just until your emotions are under control. Make it clear that once you’ve both had time to process the situation you will get back together to figure out your next steps. That will keep the possibility alive in both your minds that your marriage has a chance for survival, even after infidelity.
Write It Down
While you are both trying to wrap your minds around all of the questions and frustrations that are probably whirling in your thoughts, it is a good idea to write things down. Consider starting a diary or journal. This can help you make some sense of the confusion you are probably feeling right now. Just the process of putting your thoughts and feelings down in writing can help you sort out your conflicting emotions and plan a course of action.
Don’t Wing It
Once you have had a chance to get beyond the initial shock of the situation, get together with your spouse and start trying to come up with a plan to save your marriage. At this point, it could be very helpful to get some outside help. You might think about talking to your pastor, seeing a marriage counselor, or checking out some books or other resources aimed at helping couples restore their marriages after infidelity. The main thing is that this isn’t a time to “wing it”. You need to develop a solid plan to resolve the issues that led to the unfaithfulness and to start rebuilding the trust in your relationship.
Healing Takes Time
Finally, don’t expect overnight miracles. An affair is a very serious injury to a relationship. Just like a physical injury, it will take time to heal. But just like physical therapy after an injury, the work you put into saving your marriage after infidelity can make it even stronger than it was, to begin with.
Follow the Plan
So, if you are trying to deal with unfaithfulness in your relationship, don’t lose your grip. Get some space and give yourself a chance to calm down. Get your thoughts together and then sit down with your spouse and decide on a plan of action. Don’t try to tackle this on your own, get some help. And be patient. If you will do these things you have a very good chance of having the marriage of your dreams, even after infidelity.
Taylor Davies has been a marriage counselor for many years. She writes on relationship wellness.