Infidelity can rock even the most stable marriage. Fortunately, there are 5 essential boundaries that can help a marriage survive infidelity.
To understand relationship boundaries, look at the four walls of your house. Those walls are the structure that holds the pieces of your life together. They hold your food and your bed and your possessions and it’s where you live your life.
Healthy marriage boundaries are the same as those four walls of your house. They are the things that support your marriage as it matures. To have a healthy marriage, one that can grow and be fruitful, it is important that it has structures, boundaries, that support it.
Establishing boundaries in your marriage when you are working through infidelity is an excellent way to help you get on with the healing and create a healthy, infidelity-proof, marriage.
So, what are the 5 essential boundaries that can help a marriage survive infidelity?
1. There can be no contact. None.
The number one essential boundary, the one without which any efforts to survive the infidelity will be ineffective, is that the cheater have no contact with the person with whom they were having an affair. This means no phone calls, no texting, no in-person contact and no following on social media. None.
Unless the cheater can break the tie that binds the two lovers together, there is no chance that the marriage can survive. The things that initially brought the two together are things that still exist and those things are strong and compelling. If the cheater is allowed to continue that attachment, it will leave no room for the married couple to get closer again
So, set a boundary that the cheater will no longer be in contact with their lover and, if necessary, set up systems whereby the betrayed partner can be assured that, in fact, the contact is not happening.
If your partner won’t agree to going no contact, I would encourage you to walk away and start living life on your own.
Want to know more about how your marriage can survive infidelity? Read 3 Traits of Marriages That Survive Infidelity and how to know if yours is one
2. A promise of openness.
One of the most interesting things that I have discovered in my work with spouses who have been betrayed in their marriage is the fact that they are eager to know all of the details around the affair. How it started, where the lovers met, what was the sex like, why didn’t it end. All of these things, partners are eager to know. And they are details that cheaters are loathe to share.
While I personally believe that having all of this information isn’t necessarily going to help a couple in the healing process, many people can not move forward without the details. Unfortunately, many of the betrayers do not want to share the gory details with their spouses.
Many cheaters are filled with shame and remorse about what they did and the prospect of sharing the details with their spouses only reinforces that shame. Because of this, many cheaters refuse to get into details and, instead, shut down and/or get angry with their spouses. As you can imagine, this behavior does not aid in the healing process.
It is important that if your spouse wants the details, that you be willing to share them. Doing so will allow your partner to stop running negative tapes in their head, ones that are perhaps false, and allow them to start moving forward. Furthermore, it will go a long way towards restoring trust because the partner will know that the cheater is willing to give them the information that they need.
3. No passive aggression.
Many people who have been cheated on are very angry. Deeply angry, betrayed and hurt. And, for many people, conveying that anger and hurt in a productive way is impossible. Instead, their anger comes out as passive aggression and that doesn’t help anybody.