An affair “not” to remember!
It’s an unfortunate situation, we never want it for us, we never imagine it happening to us, and we can never be ready for it! If it sounds so ugly, why does it happen so often? Affairs usually begin with an attraction to someone you know fairly well, someone you spend time with like friends or co-workers.
The questions which couples ask me in therapy are in the lines of:
Can we recover? How can we recover? Are we strong enough to overcome this? Is it going to happen again? Have we fallen out of love? Is divorce a safe option? Etc.
According to many researches out there, more than 50% of couples have experienced infidelity. 95% of couples with infidelity issues that I see want their relationship to work, I would say about 5% of them come in for me to help them separate. Now out of the 95% who want their relationship to recover, 30% of them fail! I’m going to talk about ways to recover successfully. By the way, these numbers are my statistics only, they might not be very accurate but I will use them to help you understand commonality of the situation and to hopefully provide you with a better grasp of it all.
I’d say there are three parts to the way affairs should end. The first part is revealing the affair to your spouse, the second part is never seeing or communicating with the lover again, and the third part is getting through the symptoms of the affair and recovering from all the damage. Revealing the affair to your spouse can be risky and damaging, therefore I’d say be emotionally expecting and prepare to experience many negative emotions. Just remember that it isn’t the honesty that will cause the pain but the affair. Not seeing the lover is also extremely difficult. Keeping a clear head about why the affair ended and thinking of the consequences can be helpful.
You might think that after a couple rebuilds their love for each other after an affair, all would be forgiven. Well, all might be forgiven, but all is certainly not forgotten. In fact, many couples find that the memory of the affair haunts them decades after it happened.
After the lover is finally gone and you are ready to restore love to your marriage, where should you begin?
- Start being honest with your spouse, not just about the affair but about your everyday activities, they have the right to feel suspicious and not trusting for some time.
- Spend as much time as you can with them to make them feel secure, wanted, and loved.
- Avoid sharing details about your affair, not asking you to lie or minimize anything, but help your spouse understand that details about the affair will not help and will make the matter worse. After all, you want to move forward.
- And in my professional opinion the most important one is to meet your spouse’s needs and help them understand your needs (most probably the cause of why you had an affair in the first place). If it’s hard to talk about what you want and what you need, seek counseling, having a third party guide you will make things easier.
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