Is it possible to have your marriage be devastated by an affair and still be able to reconcile with your former wayward spouse?
There are many positive stories of couples who have dealt with or are dealing with infidelity in their marriages, successfully overcome it and went on to rebuild a better relationship, but is it really possible for you to reconcile with your cheating spouse? Or are those couples whose marriages survive an affair just lucky?
Speaking from my own experience dealing with a serial cheater, luck has nothing to do with it. It all depends on how badly both parties want the marriage to survive. In my situation I was the only one who wanted to work things out, to reconcile and save the marriage but my ex had already made up his mind that he wanted to be with his lover and nothing or no one was going to stand in his way, so he divorced me and went his way.
On the other hand, I have close family members and friends whose marriages did survive infidelity, so I can tell you with all sincerity that it is possible to reconcile with your former cheating spouse after all the hurt and pain of the betrayal.
But first let’s start with a question.
Why is it that some couples experience true reconciliation and go on to build a better marriage, while with some couples their reconciliation is destined to fail from the start?
You and I both know that in the real world some marriages aren’t fixable because one spouse wants out of the relationship or things were too far gone even before the affair that reconciliation attempts just won’t work.
What reconciliation after infidelity is not
Sweeping the affair under the rug – If you immediately try to put the issue in the past and not deal with it, it won’t go away all by itself, instead it will always be boiling just under the surface and will eventually explode, which is not going to do you, your spouse or your relationship any good.
Surviving infidelity is a very painful process so it is understandable that you want to “get over it” as quickly as possible, unfortunately it does not work that way.
Doing nothing – Believe or not but some people when dealing with cheating would do nothing, thinking that time or some marriage fairy is going to rescue them from the rubble of infidelity. But doing nothing or just hoping and praying is not a long-term strategy, you need a plan.
Getting mired in the woe is me mentality – This is especially applicable to the betrayed spouse. While it is normal to feel self-pity and have low self-esteem because of your spouse’s affair, you don’t want to feed on it forever. You need to learn how to deal with your negative emotions and feelings in a constructive manner.
Blame shifting – Reconciliation is not about who is right or wrong or who hurts the most, it’s about helping each other heal and how each of you can contribute to a more positive future together.
The couples that weather the storm and reestablished the emotional connection with their spouse realized:
- Both parties have to value the relationship and want to reconcile, one person cannot do all of the work
- Realize that recovering from an affair is a marathon, meaning that they are no quick fixes and it can literally take years to fully recover
- That putting the broken pieces of your marriage back together is an incredibly painful journey
- It is not going to be all joy and bliss. There will be many days filled with anger, tears, doubts and also days when you just feel like giving up altogether
- They don’t try to wing it on their own, they get outside help to deal with all of the issues involved
- They know that in order for their reconciliation to be successful in the long-term, they need a plan to maintain the new and better relationship
- They learn to lean on each other during the hard times
- They see the need for each partner to work on themselves which may include getting individual counseling or coaching
The keys to successfully reconciling with a cheating spouse
Honest communication – One of the major issues facing couples wanting to reconcile is lack of honest communication. For instance if you are the betrayed spouse, you need to let your partner know what you really think and feel.
Don’t hold stuff in, as this only breeds resentment. When you are having a bad day or experiencing triggers about the affair, you have an obligation to share it with your spouse so the two of you can face it and resolve the issue together. Both parties need to let each other know when something is bothering them.
Forgiveness – Having your spouse want someone else is a bitter pill to swallow. For reconciliation to work, this is something you have to deal with and ultimately forgive.
Self-improvement – Part of reconciliation is that both parties have internal work to do on themselves. While the betrayed spouse bears the brunt of the negative emotions, the wayward spouse also has feelings that need addressing as well. You need to be happy and at peace with you. If it helps, one or both parties can get individual counseling or coaching to deal with whatever issues you have going on.
Read self-help books and books about infidelity – Read as much as you can to gain perspective about your own particular situation and also about affairs in general.
Be ready to get better – Realize you cannot change the past but you have the power to transcend the misery. You still have to go through the stages of shock, grief, despair and so forth after the affair is revealed, that’s unavoidable. But if you take positive steps to deal with the emotional roller coaster, eventually time will help you heal.
You need a plan – Despite your seemingly boundless optimism coupled with expressions of renewed commitment, love and fidelity during the early phases of reconciliation, there will come a time when your marriage will slip back into routine and you begin taking each other for granted again. We are all humans and creatures of habit, so most people will not be able to maintain such a high level of intensity (as is normal in reconciliations) indefinitely. So you need a plan in order to build on your successes and also to sustain your new relationship.
I know from personal experience how very stressful and painful dealing with infidelity is, and reconciling after an affair takes a tremendous amount of strength, courage, and inward reflection for both parties. You need to take your time and work through all the issues. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts. And while infidelity by itself is not going to make your marriage better, the lessons that can be learned in the aftermath of it is what makes the marriage better, stronger and more loving.
Who can help you right now?
In the course of my research on infidelity and the aftermath, I discovered that, deep down, most couples want to save their marriages and have their wayward spouse back, like everything used to be when mutual love reigned.
But the hard and tricky part is knowing how to get emotions out of the way so that the relationship can be rebuilt and properly positioned on love, trust, and faithfulness.
After digging through countless resources, I stumbled on what is arguably the best program as far as infidelity healing and marriage makeover is concerned.
If you are like the majority of the couples whose spouses have at one time or the other cheated, and truly desire to save your marriage, I seriously recommend you check it out. Click here to discover the best way to survive an affair and save your marriage after a betrayal.