After a marital affair, it’s not likely you are completely aware of your emotions or how to control or transcend unhealthy reactions. However, all is not lost. Understand that an important goal is not making things worse. Coping with infidelity requires a dedicated and cautious effort to succeed.
When You Have Suspicions
First things first: Focus on what you cannot, will not, or should not do. Let’s say you begin noticing the subtle signs of infidelity, but aren’t sure whether to confront your spouse or simply ignore the problem for the time being. Denial will only deepen your spouse’s notion of being invulnerable and encourage continuation of the affair without fear of being caught. Being open and honest with your spouse is important once you feel the signs of cheating are strong enough to confront.
However, you need a game plan prior for approaching the subject. Step back from the shock and overriding emotions. Take a deep breath, and begin to gather information that you can then take to your spouse. Never assume an affair. Get proof before you accuse, or the situation could go from bad to worse.
Don’t Allow Your Emotions to Control Your Response
What next? If your spouse has had an affair or is actively involved in one, then of course your instinct to be angry, hurt, and depressed may cloud your better judgment. Quite frankly, you’ll need time to mourn the loss of trust and intimacy between you and your spouse. But do not allow your anger to overpower your need to work toward a solution. It is dangerous to ignore the affair, but it can be worse to confront both parties without first getting yourself in the right frame of mind.
So you’ve gathered proof and confronted your spouse about the affair. Now what?
Asking questions will help you to decide the future of your relationship. If you want a future for your marriage, it helps both of you to cope with infidelity when you ask questions. Just be sure you want to know the answers.
The cheating spouse will likely want to maintain silence, as guilt and shame stamp down any desire to talk about the affair. To save your marriage, however, it is imperative that you and your spouse talk about the affair. But tread carefully; the timing and degree to which you discuss details should be a mutual decision.
What you shouldn’t do is demand answers on your terms, without professional guidance, no matter how hurt and angry you may be. Doing so will only risk driving your spouse into complete silence.
Finally, never underestimate the power of support. To gain some much-needed perspective, look to trained marriage professionals. Ask those whose marriage has survived an affair for advice on how to handle the aftermath.
Investigate our A New Beginning weekend marriage workshop. Three out of four couples in crisis who attend A New Beginning are able to save their marriage. Though a marriage cannot be saved until an affair is ended, your spouse’s affair does not have to be ended in order to attend the workshop. Contact us today. We can help, and would like to try.