Cheating is one of the most hurtful things a partner can do in a relationship. To share physical, emotional or both types of connections with another person is a betrayal and one that is very difficult to come back from. Can marriages really survive infidelity? They can and they do. Many people assume cheating would be a deal-breaker until it actually happens. Getting past it isn’t easy, but if you love your spouse and see hope for a future, you can find your way back to a real and trusting relationship.
Here are the ways marriages can survive infidelity.
How Marriages Can Survive Infidelity
Get Both Partners On Board
Experts in couples therapy and healing broken relationships agree that the most important factor in a marriage’s survival after infidelity is the commitment from each partner.
For a marriage to get past an affair, a one-night stand, emotional cheating or any other type of infidelity, both sides of the relationship must want to fix it. Absolute commitment from both partners is a must. If both people want to, are willing to, and actually take the steps to help fix the marriage, there is real hope.
If one partner is unsure or can’t commit to putting in the hard work needed, the marriage is likely not fixable. What may be surprising is that the one partner who will struggle the most to commit to the work is the one who has been hurt. It takes a big leap of faith to re-commit to a cheating spouse, to devote the time and energy to trying to make the relationship work after being hurt so badly. Part of this commitment means getting past the act of infidelity and resisting the urge to hold it over the other partner, the cheater. This isn’t easy to do.
Once both partners are committed to saving the relationship, the next important thing to do is get past excuses. There are no excuses for cheating. Lack of sex, emotional disconnection, boredom; none of these are acceptable reasons to betray a partner. Both partners need to recognize this before either can move on or past the act of infidelity. There may be reasons that the marriage was on rocky ground, but the cheating partner cannot make excuses for the behavior. This only lets the offender off the hook.
While there are no excuses for infidelity, there should be discussion. Communication is a skill and it is one that may have been lacking in a relationship that led to cheating. Couples need to begin by talking about the affair, no matter how painful. Being transparent about what happened actually helps a marriage to recover. If the cheating spouse refuses to talk about it, the marriage has less of a chance of surviving. This type of openness will continue to serve the marriage as the couple continues to talk about difficult situations and feelings. Keeping emotions and thoughts bottled up will only cause more problems down the line.
Working to save a marriage after cheating is difficult. It truly is hard work. If you are facing the repair of your marriage after infidelity, be prepared to work at it for months and up to a year or two before you really know if your relationship can be saved. With patience and commitment on both sides, hard work and strong communication, you stand a real chance of saving your marriage.
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