What Should You Do To Rebuild Your Marriage After Having An Affair?
By Kajay Williams
Discovery of an affair can devastate a marriage. The betrayed spouse will be going through absolute turmoil, switching from anxiety to guilt to fear to anger all in the space of a day. The betrayer will also be going through numerous emotions – grief over ending a relationship, and guilt at how their actions have affected their spouse. A marriage is a safe haven away from the world, but after the discovery of an affair, it can feel like a war zone.
How you handle telling your spouse about the affair and everything that occurs afterwards will have a huge impact on how you’ll move forward from the affair and rebuild your marriage. While each individual will react differently to the discovery of an affair, there are some steps that you can take to increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to move on from the affair towards a happier, healthier marriage.
Tell Your Spouse About the Affair Before They Find Out
If the betrayed spouse discovers the affair on their own, either through actually catching their spouse in the act, through discovering an illicit email or text or due to becoming suspicious of the infidelity, it will hurt them all the more than if the betrayer tells their spouse of the affair, without them having to find out.
If the betrayer tells their spouse about the affair, it shows that they are actively trying to be more trustworthy, despite the fact that they have behaved in an untrustworthy way. The betrayed spouse will obviously be hurt, but they will have to accept that their partner has had the decency to tell them about their actions, and that their partner wants to work on rebuilding the marriage.
Alternatively, if the betrayed spouse finds out about the affair of their own accord, the hurt that they feel will be tenfold. They will constantly wonder whether or not their spouse would ever have told them about the affair and they will always wonder how long their spouse would have kept up the betrayal, had they not discovered the affair. Bottom line – if the betrayer owns up to their actions and admits what they did wrong, the betrayed spouse will find it easier to forgive them.
Show Shame and Remorse for Your Actions
A betrayer that shows shame and remorse for their actions will always be more forgivable than a spouse that is defensive and aggressive when they are found out. When a spouse discovers that their partner has been having an affair, if their spouse seems to show sadness, shame and remorse for their actions, it can make them feel a little bit better – despite the overwhelming hurt that they feel. A betrayer that is humble, apologetic for their actions and deeply sorry for what they have done will be more likely to succeed in rebuilding their marriage.
On the other hand, if a betrayer becomes defensive and angry when their spouse discovers their affair, instead of holding their hands up and admitting to what they’ve done, the betrayed spouse can find it very difficult to forgive and forget – especially if the betrayer lays blame on the spouse for their own actions, i.e. “I never would have had the affair if you had done x”.
Be Open and Honest with Your Spouse
Often, a betrayed spouse may have an inkling that something is going on in their marriage – that everything is not as it seems. They may even outright suspect their spouse of cheating, and they may ask their spouse if they are being unfaithful, or they may question where their spouse has been, what their spouse has been doing and who they have been spending time with, only to be met with flat denials of cheating and outright lies.
Later, when the betrayed spouse finds out about the affair, they will not only be hurt by the betrayal itself, but also by the lies told to them by their spouse before they discovered the affair. The more open and honest the betrayer is with their spouse before they disclose the affair, as well as after the discovery of the affair, the more likely it is that the betrayed spouse will be able to forgive them and move towards rebuilding their marriage.
The betrayer also needs to accept that in the weeks and months following the discovery of the affair, they will need to be completely honest with their spouse at all times about where they are going and who they are seeing – and if they lie to their spouse, even once, about the smallest of things, it can throw any fragile trust that their spouse may have developed towards them out of the window.
Cut Off All Contact
For a marriage to successfully move on following an affair, the betrayer needs to cut off all contact with their lover – and they need to do so willingly. Crossing the boundary of friendship into becoming lovers when married means that the betrayer loses all rights to “staying friends” with their lover when the affair is over. To prove that they truly want to rebuild their marriage, the betrayer needs to cut off all contact – including texts, emails and phone calls – so that the betrayed spouse can feel like their marriage is a safe haven once again.
If the betrayer’s lover was a family member or work colleague, this still applies – otherwise, every single bit of contact the betrayer has with their lover, even if it is completely platonic, will feel like a fresh betrayal. The betrayed spouse should know that their partner is cutting ties with their lover completely willingly – if they feel like they are pushing their spouse into cutting off contact with their lover, it can mean that they will be less likely to readily forgive their spouse.
Finally, the betrayer needs to let their spouse know that they will do whatever it takes to get the relationship back on track – and that they accept full responsibility for their actions. Navigating the emotional turmoil left behind after an affair can be difficult, but treating your spouse with love, care and affection and letting them know that you will do whatever you can to put their mind at rest will go some way in rebuilding your marriage.
What To Do If Your Partner Is Having An Affair?
Time To Act: There is hope.
An affair may be the best thing to happen to a marriage or relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, experts say that many couples survive infidelity and are able to rebuild a stronger, better and more fulfilling marriage after the betrayal.
Whether you suspect your partner or spouse is cheating on you or whether you have just discovered your spouse’s affair or whether you are wondering if you want to save your marriage or opt for separation after an affair or whether you want to redefine the boundaries of your relationship or marriage to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, I can help you.
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