There are two main schools of thought on affairs. One is that the marriage is over and the faithful partner should leave the infidel and move on. The other is that affairs sometimes happen for a significant reason and that it provides just what is needed to get the marriage back on track.
It’s too easy to judge the unfaithful partner. His or her infidelity could have been brought on by the spouse’s inability to provide a loving, nurturing environment or a lack of a sex life at all! Intimacy is hugely underestimated in some marriages and it can be inevitable that the suffering partner will seek it elsewhere.
Some affairs happen “by accident”. A situation arises and a weak person can succumb to temptation without giving it due thought. Whether or not they report it to their spouse is another issue altogether and sometimes owning up to it might be worse than keeping it a secret.
Affairs should never be condoned but they can sometimes seem justifiable. The most important thing is for the couple to determine whether or not the affair is an irreparable blight on their marriage or if, over time, the shock can subside and it can be discussed reasonably together.
The faithful partner who was cheated on needs to re-evaluate his or her standpoint.
- Take time to grieve and to work through the spectrum of emotions that will hit.
- Ask whatever you need to know. There are some things you may not want to know but you do need to know if your sexual health or family security has been breached.
- Determine what it will take for you to regain trust in your spouse again.
- Come up with a revised set of goals, whether they are as a couple or for you as an individual.
- Seek the advice of an objective person such as a doctor, counselor or social worker. Talking to friends and family who can’t help but be emotionally involved will not be as useful.
- Attend counseling together so that you can work out if you can forge ahead and what it will take to do so.
Each spouse should take responsibility for their own involvement in a marriage where someone felt the need to seek intimacy elsewhere. Owning your own part in it, however difficult that can be, will help you to work past the victim syndrome for the faithful partner, and the guilt complex of the one who cheated.