Saving Your Marriage After Infidelity
When someone has an affair, it creates a division in your relationship. Your marriage is now divided into the time before and the time after the affair. You might idealize the time before the affair as a wonderful part of your marriage. You might remember it as a time in which you trusted your spouse, you loved each other, and your relationship was good, even if these things were not true. The time after the affair, on the other hand, is now tainted. There has been a huge breach of trust and you are living the aftermath of that.
To give your relationship the best chance of survival, you need to consciously and actively do things to redefine your marriage. You cannot simply go back to where you were because you have crossed over a line. Don't fall back into the exact same patterns you had before. What you need to do is start over.
The hardest thing you will need to do is rebuild trust in your relationship. Whoever was unfaithful, you or your spouse, did major damage to the trust in your marriage. You can start to rebuild trust in your relationship by starting small and being consistent. Always be on time, do what you say you will do, and be honest. There will probably be many setbacks along the way, but keep being trustworthy. It will pay off eventually.
If you cheated on your spouse, it will take time to rebuild the trust that the two of you had. Make sure you do the following regularly and consistently:
Don't lie to your spouse, even about small things. If you find yourself starting to exaggerate or tell an outright lie, ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you generally an untrustworthy person? Are you afraid of how your spouse will react to the truth? Is it a bad habit? Answer honestly, and work on it.
Never lie to your spouse.
Communicate clearly at all times.
- Accept the fact that your spouse wants to know your schedule in great detail.
Talk with your spouse every day from work or if one of you is out of town.
- Always be on time.
Take the time to reassure your spouse if he or she feels insecure.
Remember to do one nice thing each day for your spouse.
Show your spouse affection on a regular basis.
Do one fun activity every week alone with your spouse.
- Be especially patient with your spouse.
Making the decision to go to therapy and actually going is a big first step to repairing your marriage. When you go to couples therapy with your spouse, you are doing something together to work on your relationship.
We believe some situations make it mandatory to get outside help, and the crisis of infidelity is one of them. It would be very unusual for a couple to get past infidelity without the assistance of a trained therapist. A therapist is a neutral third party who will help you understand what went wrong in your relationship. Instead of allowing your discussions to dissolve into yelling and screaming sessions, a therapist will constructively focus you toward solving the problems in your relationship.
More on: Marriage and Divorce
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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