It is not until you happen upon that passionate text message written to your husband or realize that your wife has not really been working late but has been spending evenings at a local hotel with a coworker that you know how you will react.
Learning that your spouse has been intimate with another is a crushing experience. It is not, however, one that you and your marriage cannot survive.
You Are Not Alone
You likely felt utterly alone upon learning of your spouse’s affair – like you are now looking into the eyes of someone you didn’t really know after all. Know that an affair is not bigger than a loving marriage; it does not mean that you have been living with an impostor. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, a number-crunching enterprise, most of us – 74% of men and 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would not get caught.
Your first step is to deflate the power of the affair and turn to building your marriage.
Why Do We Have Affairs?
Some of us do have affairs even though we know it is risky. Why? According to an article written by Douglas LaBier, Ph.D in Psychology Today, the most common reason is old-fashioned lust. If your spouse temporarily fell under someone’s sexual spell, you can, with honesty, openness and kindness build a stronger marriage.
Not all affairs are about sex, however. According to WedMD.com, while men often have affairs because they seek attention or simply for the sex, women are more likely to do so for reasons based on emotions, perhaps they are lonely in their marriage.
Why Did Your Spouse Cheat?
You may now be rolling your eyes and thinking that it does not matter why the affair happened but that it did. If so, take a deep breath. It is only by understanding why the affair happened that you and your spouse can move on in a healthy and productive way. It will likely be extraordinarily painful to listen to your spouse speak about why he had an affair, but it is through understanding that you will heal your marriage.
Be Open to Getting Help
Hopefully your spouse was able to be honest with you about the reasons behind the affair. Sadly, there are cases where a spouse, for a variety of reasons, will not openly speak with their spouse about the affair or why it occurred. Either way, you need to find a way to put one foot in front of the other and move ahead. You do not have to do this alone.
Professional services like those at Marriage Fitness or Break Free From the Affair are at the click of a mouse. Speaking with a professional who has helped other couples save their marriage can feel like being thrown a life-line whilst floating in the stormiest of oceans.
Know That You Are Not a Victim
If you take one piece of advice from this article, let it be to actively choose the role you play in the rebuilding of your marriage. Do not choose the role of the victim, as tempting as that may be – sure victims get lots of sympathy but they also tend to feel powerless and lost. Choose to be the hero of your story: be strong, be the creative thinker who helps both you and your spouse emerge from this crisis intact and stronger. Your spouse had an affair. It is what happens next that really matters.