Have you experienced an affair in your marriage?
We see many many couples at the Marriage Recovery Center who have just experienced an affair in their marriage. We see both men and women who have been unfaithful, but for the purpose of this blog I will be referring to the husband as the mate who was unfaithful.
It is incredibly common to see a wife who comes to a Marriage Intensive with a lot of pent up anger and bitterness. She is so hurt and betrayed and has not learned what to do with all of these emotions. So in order to protect herself she becomes rigid, cold, and withholding, often withdrawing completely from her unfaithful spouse.
Another way of coping is to attempt to cause her spouse to feel the pain she is experiencing. This comes through constant jabs and painful arrows thrown at him about the affair. “How could you be so cruel?” “What kind of man does that to his family?” These comments leave her husband feeling ashamed and hurt, typically leading him to retreat to a safe place far away from her. This way of coping causes total brokenness in the marriage.
How can you heal? Here are a few critical steps:
- Develop good boundaries – what is causing you the most anxiety? What is it that you need to create security? Do you need to let him know that any contact with the other woman will not be tolerated?
- Communicate your feelings & needs – let your husband know what feelings you are struggling with. Are you feeling sad, betrayed, inadequate, jealous, afraid, rejected? Tell him in a soft, but direct way what needs you have of him. For example, you will likely need to see a repentant heart when you share your feelings, a heartfelt apology, and a strong sense that he is taking responsibility for fixing what he broke.
- Let your spouse know how he can built trust again. Do you need total transparency? Passwords to his email, phone?
- Stay connected to your spouse. Even with all the hurt and anger, try to sit and talk with your spouse.
- If you are separated due to the affair, don’t move too quickly into reconciliation. Allow trust to be built and if there are areas you need to see your spouse make changes, allow enough time to see consistent change.
For your Partner, he can help you heal by:
- Apologizing and taking responsibility for the pain he caused. This includes showing ongoing remorse and repentance about the affair.
- Listening intently & empathizing with your feelings.
- Working on creating a connection with you.
- Communicating needs. What needs were not being met prior to the affair?
- Going to marriage counseling. You cannot repair this on your own.
If you are struggling with your spouse having an affair, we can help. We offer phone and Skype coaching as well as intensive counseling for couples and individuals. CONTACT US TODAY!