Overcoming Infidelity

How to overcome infidelity in a relationship.

Infidelity can destroy even the strongest relationship, leaving behind feelings of betrayal, guilt, and anger. For the one-quarter of married couples who have suffered disloyalty, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, overcoming those feelings can be extremely difficult.

But with the support of family, friends, a good therapist, and each other, it is possible for a couple to overcome the situation, and in some cases, emerge as a stronger unit.

For others, experience a case of infidelity is too heavy a weight for a relationship to bear, and parting ways may be the only answer. But before a fighting couples both head for the door, there are steps that can be taken that might help the relationship get on the track to healing.

Cause and Effect

“There are many different reasons why someone might have an affair,” Sometimes it is purely a case of bad judgment. More commonly, it’s a search for an emotional connection — wanting someone to pay attention to you, flatter you, and be attracted to you.

Whatever the reason for the affair, the effect infidelity has on a relationship is devastating.

“Nothing will shake up a person’s sense of self, trust, and marriage more than infidelity. Infidelity leaves people questioning their sanity, as well as everything they believe to be true about their spouse, and about the viability of their marriage.
People find themselves crying a lot, not being able to concentrate, being upset, and feeling depressed.

“These are all of the initial emotions that go with the discovery of the betrayal; however emotions change over time.

Nine Steps

When the initial shock of an affair is over, then it is time for both people in the relationship to examine what role they played in letting the relationship slide down such a slippery slope:

1.    You have to stop the affair, first and foremost, ?You can’t reinvest in the marriage if you have one foot out the door.”
2.    Remember that there will be ups and downs after an affair. “The road to recovery after an affair is jagged, and that is completely normal. 
3.    “The person who had the affair needs to be willing to discuss what happened openly if the betrayed spouse wants to do that.
4.    “The person who had an affair has to be willing to be accountable for his or her whereabouts, even though he or she thinks that may be unfair.
5.    “There needs to be a willingness to make promises and commitments about the future that an affair will not happen again.
6.    The betrayed person should set the timetable for recovery. “So often the person who cheated is eager to put the past in the past, but he or she really has to honor the other person’s timetable.
7.    “The person who had the affair should examine the personal reasons for straying and what needs to change to avoid the temptation in the future.
8.    As for moving forward, both people in the relationship should take responsibility for building a new foundation.  Even the person who was cheated on should say to herself, ‘What role did I play in driving you away and what I can do to make you more connected to me in the future?
9.    Try marriage therapy or take a marriage education class. “You really need to find a counselor or therapist who is pro-marriage, and can help get your relationship back on track.

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