Surviving infidelity is never easy. The most important foundation of your relationship – trust – has already been broken. Some couples never recover from the sense of betrayal, and the infidelity destroys the relationship. Reconciling and healing are possible, even though the pathway isn’t easy.
Rebuilding trust requires creating experiences between you and your spouse to understand the factors that influenced the infidelity, learning from past mistakes, and practicing better ways of reaching and responding to each other to have more security that an affair will never happen again.
Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It is normal that you may question your decision during the process. But if both you and your partner want to make things work, a challenge is to get to a place where you fully commit to it.
There are a few marriage reconciliation mistakes that a lot of couples make. These mistakes can backfire, especially if you want to succeed in making your marriage work even after infidelity.
Talk About It to Friends and Family?
Your marriage is a personal matter involving only two individuals – you and your spouse. While your family and friends play a vital role in the formation of your relationship, surviving infidelity and reconciling your marriage is personal.
Be careful about making the mistake of talking about your spouse’s cheating with your friends or family. To be clear: it’s important that they are aware of the situation, but try not to go into the details of the affair.
Sharing more may embarrass your partner. At the same time, it can make your family and friends turn against your spouse. It is a natural response for humans to be protective of the ones they love. Knowing that your spouse hurt you may influence them to dislike your spouse, and undermine your ability to heal from the betrayal.
Involving your friends and family may make the journey towards reconciliation more difficult. Let them know that you are working on fixing the relationship and building trust. Encourage them to be supportive with your decision so that you can repair the betrayal.
Are You Trying to ‘Get Even’?
If you have both decided to give your marriage another shot, trying to get even with them, which is an understandable urge, can only make healing more challenging. When you are fueled by rage and emotional pain from an affair, managing your emotions is key to stop yourself from shooting yourself in the foot. It is easy to feel that you want your partner or spouse to feel the same pain that you’re in, so controlling your impulses is no small triumph.
When you’ve been deeply hurt by your spouse, getting even can seem like the only way to feel better. You may want your spouse to experience the same level of emotional pain by doing what they did to you. However, it can easily create more chaos with multiple betrayals when this happens.
Work to resist the temptation to pursue your own affair. Instead, focus on the future. Imagine where you would want your relationship to be. If you have made the decision to reconcile, your challenge is to focus your attention towards that alone.
Attacking the Third Party?
Just as it may be tempting to get even with your spouse, it is just as tempting to attack the other lover that your spouse was involved with. Again, the fantasy of this helping you feel better quickly dissipates into more pain once you give into your urge.
When you notice the impulse to do counterattack, pause yourself, take a deep breath, and practice a mediation exercise. Think logically and especially focus on the consequences of your actions. You can never take back the actions of your spouse by attacking their lover. In fact, it may even result in unintended legal issues if you emotionally or physically attack the affair. The true responsibility lies with your spouse, and your focus needs to remain on them.
If you are going to reconcile, a challenge is to know what is needed about what happened in the affair, and then shifting your attention to not obsess about it. Infidelity can be traumatizing, and a betrayed partner can easily appear obsessive, even though it is understandable because of the deceit and depth of the injury.
Rushing to a Resolution?
Nobody needs to tell you that an extramarital affair is a big deal. When you married your spouse, you both vowed to stay honest and true to each other. If your spouse has cheated, they have betrayed that sacred vow to you.
Don’t let your spouse rush you into “moving on” or “getting over” the infidelity. Allow yourself to deal with the pain in a natural and therapeutic way. When you are rushed, you are forced to keep your feelings to yourself and it is never a good thing when you are going through reconciliation. You should always speak up about how you feel. This is one of the best ways to cope with the emotional pain of betrayal.
You should heal at a pace that is most comfortable to you. Do not try to mask your emotions by pretending to feel better.
Holding a Grudge?
Once you decide to reconcile your marriage, you need to accept what your partner has done and move on. Try not to be passive-aggressive about it. It’s understandable that you are suffering tremendously from the betrayal. But holding a grudge never feels better.
Holding onto a grudge will compel you to continually blame your spouse for what you are going through. This isn’t healthy for your marriage reconciliation, either. You both need to heal as you rebuild your marriage. By blaming your partner, you don’t give them the opportunity to showcase their sincerity in making your marriage work even after they have stumbled.
Not Getting Help?
When your marriage has experienced a massive betrayal, such as an infidelity, it can take a massive blow to your confidence and ability to trust again. Recovering on your own can be dangerous, because it is hard for couples to truly understand what led to the betrayal. Without this understanding, how can you know what to do differently so that you don’t end up in the same place?
Seeking the help of a professional is one of the best ways to reconcile your marriage effectively. They can help you confront the issues of trust within your marriage in a non-judgmental way. That way, you and your spouse can deal with the emotions without ending up blaming each other.
A marriage therapy expert can also help you organize your thoughts and emotions. A lot of individuals end up making life-altering decisions based on emotions after discovering their spouse has cheated on them. A professional is there to advise you on what the necessary steps are that you should take to rebuild your relationship – if you both decide you still want to work things out.