If your spouse has cheated on you, you must be wondering how to forgive them and repair your relationship. Here’s how to save your marriage after infidelity.
Knowing how to save a marriage after infidelity and lies is the key to actually being able to do it!
When we set out to save a marriage, for any reason, we often make the mistake of not defining what our goal is, specifically, and identifying the things that need to be done to get there.
If you truly want to save your marriage after infidelity, focus your goal on that and make sure that the items below are a part of your tool kit.
How to Save Your Marriage After Infidelity and Extramarital Affair
1. Be honest.
It is essential that, if you want to save your marriage after infidelity and lies, you be honest with each other. No marriage can be saved without honesty and honesty is the key to every happy relationship.
What do you need to be honest about? Several things.
The first is for the cheater to be honest about what happened. To own up to the infidelity and take ownership of what they have done by having the affair. Too many people, mostly because they are consumed with guilt, deny that the affair was a big deal, saying that it was just something that happened and that they want to forget about.
As a result, the other person feels cheated. They feel lied to. They feel disrespected. And that doesn’t set the stage for saving a marriage.
Another thing that is essential to be honest about is whether or not you want the marriage to be saved. Unless both people in the relationship want to work through this, there is no reason to even try.
Why? If one person wants to move forward, someone who doesn’t want to will only hold the other person back. If one person doesn’t want to move forward, they should be honest with their spouse and let them go so that they have an opportunity to heal.
So, if you want to save your marriage after infidelity and lies, it is essential to start by being honest with each other. If you don’t, your marriage is definitely doomed.
2. Be patient.
I know that the pain that you are feeling right now is huge. Whether you cheated or are the person cheated on, the revelation that there was cheating is devastating.
And, when we are in pain, we want more than anything for it to be gone, to return to normal again. Because normal might have been painful but less so.
It will take a couple a while to heal their marriage after infidelity. The person who cheated is most likely overwhelmed with guilt, even if they don’t think they are. And the person who was cheated on is probably struggling with anger, hurt, self-doubt and worse. Those emotions aren’t easy to get past.
So be patient. Know that the pain is going to stick around for a while. Figure out ways to manage it and don’t take it out on your partner.
If you take your pain out on your partner by treating them with contempt, you will only set yourself up for more pain and maybe the end of your marriage. There are ways to manage your pain without making things worse.
I would encourage you to keep yourself busy. There is nothing worse than sitting in your head all day, obsessing about what happened. Even worse is stalking them on social media, trying to learn more about the lover and trying to figure out if your partner is still cheating.
I would also encourage you to take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, spend time with people who love and support you and get enough sleep (I know – easier said than done right now). If you can take care of yourself right now, instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream and obsessing, you will find that your pain will be lessened, if only for a little bit!
So, manage your pain as you work through saving your marriage. You will be glad you did!
3. Be committed.
If you are trying to save your marriage after infidelity, I would encourage you to decide whether you are committed to doing the work to save it.
I always tell my clients, when they are trying to stay away from someone who has broken their heart, to not be wishy washy – to not say that they are going to ‘try’ to stay away from them. That they are going to ‘try’ to not respond to their texts. That they are going to ‘try’ to not stalk them on social media.
If you truly want to save your marriage it is essential that you both are truly committed to making it happen. Commitment, the belief that you CAN do something, is the key to having success in anything, whether at work or in your personal life.
So, take a good look at how you are feeling. I am guessing that you aren’t sure if your marriage can be saved but being full committed to doing the work to try save it will only set you up for success.
I remember when my ex wanted to go to therapy after he asked for a divorce it was only so that ‘our marriage would end well.’ From my perspective, why even bother? He had made up his mind and therapy would have been a waste of time. I wished it could have been different but it was what it was. So, I went off and did my own therapy and am now living happily ever after.
So, if you aren’t fully committed to making the effort to save your marriage, don’t even try.
4. Be willing to get help.
So many people believe that they can survive anything without getting any help. For some reason, getting professional help to get you through difficult times has been stigmatized. We believe that we are tough, that we can get through anything on our own.
But this just isn’t the case. Why? Because you have never done this before. Never tried to save your marriage after infidelity.
Imagine that someone took you skiing and you had never been skiing once in your life. You decide not to take lessons because ‘how hard can it be?’ And then you find yourself at the top of the mountain with strange boards on your feet having no idea what to do next.
Getting through infidelity is the same. You have never been through this before and trying the DIY version of working through it will only end in more pain.
So, if you are both honestly committed to working through trying to save your marriage, I would encourage you to reach out to a professional marriage counselor or life coach who could help you take the steps to do so!
5. Be respectful.
I am guessing that you read this title and you thought to yourself – no way! Your person has cheated on you – you don’t owe them any respect.
I know that they have hurt you, deeply, but if you can’t treat them with respect, the respect that they deserve as a person, even if they have made a huge mistake, then you are just sabotaging any chances of saving your marriage.
Furthermore, I would encourage you to not talk to everyone about what has happened. Of course, we all have people who we need to process things with but getting out into the community and telling everyone what happened would only make things worse.
I have a client who was having an affair with a married woman and, when she decided to leave the relationship, he felt completely abandoned. And hurt. And he wanted to hurt her as much as he was hurt himself.
So, he decided that he was going to approach her and her husband, in front of all of their friends, and tell the husband what had happened between them. He knew that if he did this, his ex’s reputation in the community would be destroyed and that, if they ever got back together, not only would he be ridiculed but it would be hard for them to be respected as a couple.
So, if you want to save your marriage after your partner cheated, I would encourage you to not do or say anything that you can’t take back. I would encourage you treat your partner like you would want to be treated. If you don’t, you are only setting yourself up to end your marriage.
Knowing some of the things to do if you want to save your marriage after infidelity is the best way to actually reach your goal.
It’s not going to be easy to come back after infidelity but, if you are honest, committed, willing to get help and be respectful, you are setting yourself up, in a big way, for success.
I know that you can do this! And, no matter how it all ends up, you can know that you did your best and that you maintained your self-esteem in the process!
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Written by: Mitzi Bockmann Originally appeared on: Mitzi Bockmann Republished with permission