An affair doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage!
Yes it can be one of the lowest, darkest moments of your entire life and dealing with the affair can be one of the most difficult challenges you and your spouse will ever face. As a marriage therapist for over 25 years, I’ve heard countless clients confess to being on the brink of divorce because of infidelity and they all ask the same question “how can we get past this and keep our marriage together?”
The truth is that affairs shatter trust and cause great emotional trauma with feelings of anger, hurt, betrayal, fear, sadness and loss for all involved. However, it’s important to know that, no matter how bleak things might seem, it’s possible to revitalize a marriage wounded by infidelity. It’s not easy – there are no quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to save a marriage from divorce – but years of experience has taught me that the damage done by an affair can be healed and worked through.
Esther Perel, in “Mating in Captivity” talks about three ways that couples deal with affairs. First and very common are what she calls “stuck-in-the past” types. They never really get over the affair. The infidelity becomes the defining narrative of their marriage, much like a “dead elephant in the middle of room.” The pain never heals and never goes away. Some couples go to their grave never having let go of the pain and betrayal of an affair. The most common couples are “survivors.” They eventually get over the affair, they move on, but their relationship doesn’t change. It goes back to status quo just like it was before the affair. The third are “explorers.” For these couples, the affair acts as a catalyst for change and through the process of good couples counselling, they learn to deal with it effectively. They transform the quality of their relationship. Many of my clients state that the affair provided the motivation they needed to make necessary changes. For more on how couples deal with infidelity, I recommend, “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”
If you really want to save your marriage, an affair does not have to destroy your life or your relationship. Commit to working on it and don’t try and do it alone. Get help from a skilled and experienced marriage counsellor.
If you would like to take steps to find out how your marriage can survive an affair, call our office or send an email to book your initial consultation. Your life and marriage and family are worth it.