What if you found out that your partner was having an affair?
Can you still rebuild a marriage?
How do you navigate getting through or getting past an affair?
There are some people that just cannot recover from that level of betrayal. It’s just too much for them that they feel it’s best to dissolve the relationship and move on from it.
There are also couples who, while they may want to end the relationship, have many constraining factors that keep them in, whether it be their kids or a house and so many other factors.
The Impact of an Affair on the Marriage
- Loss of security
- Loss of innocence
- Loss of exclusivity
- Alarming sense of concern about the status of the marriage
- A tendency to act quickly to minimize the damage
- Intense emotions they’re feeling
- Difficulty in managing daily routines
There are also unique experiences for each partner, specifically, the injured partner, the one who experienced the betrayal – and the involved partner, the person who engaged in the affair or the act of infidelity.
The Impact on the Injured Partner
A traumatic aftershock of the event
They first hear about it, they’re dealing with it, and then the routines of life are still there. They could be busy doing something and a sudden trigger brings them back to the moment they found out they’re being re-traumatized.
Plaguing thoughts about the nature of the affair
They have a litany of questions as to why their partner did it and what went wrong in the marriage. It just becomes a warzone of thoughts that lead to intense feelings of anxiety and mistrust toward the spouse.
Anxiety that can lead them to start interrogating their partner
They can’t get it off their mind every time the partner is on the phone or texting, they’re wondering if they’re texting the affair partner. When they leave the house, they’re wondering if their partner is really going to work or meeting on a rendezvous. They’re plagued by these anxious thoughts. They’re pissed off at their partner because their act of betrayal has now put them in this anxiety spin they can’t seem to get out of.
An enormous pressure in deciding how to move forward
They don’t know how to move forward and if they can move forward. And if they do, who’s going to help them? The injured partner is really in a very difficult mental-emotional space
The Impact on the Involved Partner
- A myriad of feelings about the disclosure of the affair (ex. guilt, shame, anger towards self, anger at the partner, remorse, relief).
- A lot of confusion about how to manage the situation because they’re in uncharted waters and they don’t know what to do. Some are trying to get a quick fix of the situation. Some have continued feelings toward the affair partner so they’re confused on where they want to be.
- A deep concern about the effect of the affair on the spouse and others (ex. extended family, kids) They’ll have fears about the future.
- Their workplace can be adversely affected if this is where the affair occurred, and it does come out.
The 3-Step Recovery Process
- Repairing the wound – Helping the involved partner how to identify the wound and treat it
- Rebuilding the trust – The congruence of words and actions; mutual involvement required
- Restoring intimacy – creating more sacredness around being a couple again
Can They Recover?
About 70% of couples who go through some form of affair or infidelity are able to recover and they stay married. And about 50% of those couples who did the work ended up having a healthier relationship than they did before the affair occurred.
If you find yourself in this position and you’re confused about staying or moving on, just know that there is hope – and there is help available.
If you want to learn more about how to recover from an affair, check out https://www.donolund.com/trg015.