Revised on September 11, 2015
Is this the end?
The affair, like a dark cloud, looms over your marriage.
It rains so much suspicion, doubt, and blame that you can barely see each other.
It shoots lightning bolts of anger, resentment, and guilt so strong that you and your partner are sent scrambling from each other, convinced that that there’s no way to weather the storm.
Your relationship is battered, ravaged.
Is there any way it can it survive?
Will attempts to rebuild be rewarded with clearing skies?
The process of recovery following an affair is sometimes overcast, stormy, and uncomfortable. Still, love, trust and connection can be salvaged and rebuilt.
Consider 3 key factors that help determine whether you can ride out the storm:
1. You make the commitment. Do you truly want to survive–together?
Is the love still there? If you recognize that your relationship is still yours to shield or set free, there is hope. You can put aside the idea that only one of you gets out of the rain and decide that your life together is worth the work.
You must commit. Decide to feel the pain, face reality, share your hurts, tell the truth, and seek change. Do whatever it takes to recover your connection and repair the damage. Though it may be scary, humbling, and overwhelming, if you are willing to push through, you can hold on and come through the infidelity storm together.
2. You embrace the work. Will you aggressively strive toward restoration?
Outside help is vital. You must be more than just willing; you must immediately and actively work to survive an affair. Will you enlist the help of an experienced counselor and key supporters to act as your marriage support team? Introducing better communication tools, a counselor can help you manage conflicts and misunderstanding. Friends and family can help brace your marriage and keep it strong.
Will you rebuild your marriages walls? Successful survival means protecting yourself from the initial storm, anticipating resurging problems, and working to clear out the damage so that you are stronger and better protected. You and your partner can become skilled survivors instead of victims of an affair’s aftermath.
3. You want better. Are you prepared to help your marriage thrive and transform?
Forgiveness is the key. It is foundational for ultimately putting the affair in the past to move forward. Can you let the storm pass? The goal is to love again, not use the affair as leverage, a defense, or a weapon against the other. It does no good to weather the affair to then build new storms of retaliation, alienation, or never-ending probation. Recovery depends on being able to recognize and welcome a brighter day.
Will you invest in a “new,” reinforced marriage? This is no time for carelessness. After a storm, you may realize that the old way of living wasn’t strong enough to withstand the weather. You might invest in a new door, repair the roof, or clear views through the windows to better see what’s coming. You fortify the best of what you have and discard what didn’t protect you well. Your marriage can survive and thrive if you diligently and mutually invest kindness, respect, compassion, and support.
You and your partner determine the course of your future relationship. Dig in. Get the help you need. If you want it, work to recover it and resolve to strengthen it. Your marriage can make it through this storm.
Survive as a committed couple, strive with dedicated support, and thrive by constructively moving forward. As a relationship therapist, I can help you decide whether moving forward is the right choice for you; and if so, just how you do that. You can call me or go online to make an appointment today!