Can a marriage heal after the aftermath of infidelity?
Can a marriage really and truly heal after the aftermath of infidelity? I believe that the answer is YES it really can BUT it takes a lot of hard work from both spouse’s. There will be healing that needs to be done together along with the healing of each individual. There are steps that can be taken to heal the hurt and pain an affair causes. It can also bring back the intimate connection into your marriage.
First things first, the affair must be truly over with no contact put into place. If the affair is still going on or there is still any kind of contact even if it’s not sexual there will be NO healing. The Wayward Spouse must establish no contact with the Affair Partner. The best way to do this is to have the Wayward Spouse send a certified no contact letter in their own handwriting to the affair partner. Click and you can read more about No Contact Letter.
Wayward Spouses are usually afraid to say and tell all, as they don’t want to cause great pain for their spouse. Most wayward spouses probably want to run away from the pain they see in you because it causes them pain too. What some Wayward Spouse’s don’t realize is that lying and lying by omission just causes more pain and trauma in the Betrayed Spouse making it feel like your both back to square one. In fully disclosing the details the Wayward Spouse will then require respect from the Betrayed Spouse. They have to know that they will not be attacked when disclosing any information. If they are constantly attacked when they tell their spouse details about the affair it will make it less likely that they will share anything with you in the future. This is why it’s a good idea, when first starting out with this and emotions are running very high, to do this in front of a counselor or marriage coach. In turn, the Betrayed Spouse will learn to trust and respect the Wayward Spouse, knowing they are being honest and remorseful with them as long as the Wayward Spouse is showing true empathy for the Betrayed Spouse.
When full disclosure of the affair doesn’t happen the trust and respect one for the other just never materializes. Without this there won’t be any intimate connection between the Wayward Spouse and Betrayed Spouse. The affair will always be a wedge in the middle of their marriage. The unsettled pain of infidelity will continue to separate the couple. It has been found that not fully disclosing the affair details to the Betrayed Spouse that the Wayward Spouse stays emotionally attached to the Affair Partner. The Affair Partner stays ingrained in the Wayward Spouse’s heart so that the Betrayed Spouse can’t seem to get back in. There is a much higher percent of the affair continuing or another affair happening later on.
Also, it has been researched that full disclosure at the very beginning of discovery is much better than little bits of information coming to light over the course of time. It actually causes more damage to the Betrayed Spouse to find out bits of information later on, on their own. They feel their Spouse is constantly lying and they feel betrayed all over again every time they find out new pieces of information. There is a wonderful article about how the Betrayed Spouse feels about the missing information about an affair. You can view this here.
I believe that it needs to be written down on paper. It needs to be a detailed account of the total affair: how it started, how it developed, the justifications used for allowing themselves to be in the affair, how they hid the affair, what you and the Affair Partner talked about, where you went and what you did together, where you and the Affair Partner had sex and how many times you had sex, was it protected or not. The Betrayed Spouse should be able to ask questions and the Wayward Spouse should answer them with kindness and patience.
The Wayward Spouse and the Betrayed Spouse needs to know that the affair itself was 100% the fault of the Wayward Spouse. The Betrayed Spouse did not make them do it. Actually, you can’t MAKE anyone have an affair. That is the choice of the person getting involved in the affair and has nothing to do with what the Betrayed Spouse did or didn’t do. Even if the Betrayed Spouse was a horrible spouse in your eyes, they did nothing to cause you to have an affair. Now, the Betrayed Spouse should be responsible for some of the problems in the marriage and for taking it upon themselves to fix their parts in the breakdown of the marriage. But in no way should the Betrayed Spouse blame themselves with the should of’s and could of’s. This sometimes can be a very hard thing to actually believe. I know it took me well over a year and a half before I really started believing this.
So, there are some things that should be done right away in repairing your marriage. You should both also seek outside help in a counselor or coach in helping you both back on the path to a healthy and happy marriage. The big thing is to be totally honest with one another. Be open with how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. Also, don’t attack each other for how the other is feeling. Make each other feel safe and be as honest with each other as possible. Hide nothing!! Be an open book both of you!