We all know that infidelity causes intense emotional pain. It has been estimated that one third of all marriages will experience marital infidelity. Due to the very high divorce rates, it often seems that the prevalence of infidelity may be even higher than estimated. There are many different reasons as to why someone might have an affair; for many an affair is too hard to deal with and parting ways may be the only answer. But before you both head for the door, there are few steps that might help the relationship heal.
Let's first explore the reasons why affairs happen. There are several factors that contribute to infidelity, some of which aren't primarily about sex. Factors may stem from individual issues such as low self esteem, sex-addition or alcoholism. Marital problems that have been going on for years may also result in an affair.
A person who's having an affair may:
• Experience a sexual attraction towards someone other than his or her own partner and decides to give in to this feeling than suppressing it
• Some keep the affair going secretive, resorting to dishonesty
• Shares a confidence with someone other than his or her own partner about marital issues
• Feels a stronger emotional connection in a romantic way with someone other than his or her partner
• Develops impractical fantasies about someone other than his or her partner and refuses to listen to information to the contrary
What to do when you discover an affair?
Initial discovery involves powerful emotions for both the partners-shock, shame, betrayal, depression, guilt and regret. At this point, it's very important to proceed with caution.
• Remember not to make any rash decisions and seek professional help immediately
• Give each other space when emotions are running high
• Take your time, don't delve into the intimate details of the affair right away, and consider waiting to discuss more composite issues
• Seek support, non-judgemental support can help you process whatever you're feeling.
Is it possible to mend a broken marriage?
Recuperating from a broken marriage can be difficult and a long process. But, it is possible for a marriage to go on and improve after an affair. Consider the following tips to encourage healing:
• Don't decide immediately; take time before choosing to end your marriage. It's important for you to understand what was behind the affair and learn lessons that might help you prevent any future dilemma.
• Take responsibility of your own actions. Be accountable and end all interaction and communication with the person you have an affair with. If the affair is with a co-worker, consider changing your job.
• Be truthful no matter how difficult talking or hearing about the affair may be.
• It might take time to sort out whatever has happened, and to give your relationship a second chance. If you and your marital partner share a goal of reconciliation, understand and accept that healing the marriage will take time, commitment and energy.
• Seek help from a marriage counsellor who can help you put things in perspective, further help you identify issues that might have contributed to the affair and learn to rebuild your relationship.
• Restore trust and confirm your commitment to the marriage and prevent secrecy from continuing.
• Lastly, forgive. Infidelity is devastating and forgiveness isn't likely to come easily but it can happen over time. Remember that forgiveness does not mean forgetting whatever happened.
Keep in mind that not every marriage affected by infidelity can or should be saved. At times, too much damage has been done and reunion remains indefinable. If you decide to rebuild your marriage, focus on restoring trust. Talk and share your feelings of being betrayed again or never being trusted again. Reset marital boundaries, if you have the commitment and determination to rebuild your marriage, the reward can be a partnership that grows in depth, sincerity as well as closeness.