Yes, you can save your marriage after infidelity if both partners are committed to repairing the relationship.
Our experienced counselors at Well Marriage Center have successfully guided many couples through the stages of healing after infidelity. A big part of what we do is help partners get to, and make a plan to fix, the root causes and dynamics that led to cheating. So much healing can happen when both sides reach a true understanding of the other, from why the offender cheated to an exploration of the victim’s hurt.
We’ve gathered the top six mistakes we see from both parties in affair recovery so that you can avoid these pitfalls yourself. Remember, it won’t be an easy process, but with the right attitudes and a lot of work, you two can make your marriage stronger than it’s ever been.
6 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity
People are more likely to make rash decisions when emotions are high after one partner discovers the other is being unfaithful. These high emotions can include anger and lashing out, humiliation, and decreased feelings of self-worth for both partners. When our feelings are going through such a roller coaster, it’s easy to fall into common, human mistakes that make the already traumatic situation worse long-term. Consider these six most common mistakes our counselors see from couples going through affair recovery:
1. Pretending Everything Is Normal
Your relationship or marriage will never be the same after infidelity. This realization will probably hurt at first, but it’s also helpful to acknowledge. The betrayed partner is likely furious and devastated, and they may even feel some detachment after infidelity. They want to know how to stop overthinking after being cheated on and move forward with their life. The offender must consistently show they take responsibility for their actions in multiple ways. For example, they may need to increase communication about where they are and who they are with to show their partner that they will not be a repeat offender.
2. Confronting the Affair Partner
Finding out your partner cheated on you usually results in an explosion of powerful emotions. Looking to direct those feelings somewhere, folks sometimes feel justified confronting the “other” person. In most cases, this confrontation will only make marriage reconciliation harder. You may learn things you’d prefer not to know or even encourage that person to pursue your spouse. There are some circumstances where a confrontation may be necessary, however. For example, a confrontation will likely be unavoidable if the victim regularly interacts with the affair partner.
3. Not Cutting off Contact With the Affair Partner
The offender must choose to cut off all contact with their affair partner. Note we said “choose.” The choice to officially leave their affair partner needs to be theirs alone. If they feel like they don’t want to stop contacting their affair partner, then they need to reconsider why they’re in a marriage to someone else in the first place. Offenders who are fully committed to cutting off the other person should discuss with their spouse how they plan to get this person out of their lives, like blocking them on their cell phone and social media.
4. Taking Revenge
We know you really want to dig your keys into the side of their pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive—but don’t do it, to your partner or the person they cheated with. Acts of revenge will only provide a short-lived feeling of satisfaction, and they do not contribute to healing after an affair (no matter what Ms. Carrie Underwood says). Revenge further deteriorates trust between partners and will likely add to feelings of shame and embarrassment.
5. Asking For Too Much or Too Little Information
The betrayed spouse needs to consider how much they want to know about the affair. Some information will only be painful to learn and hinder moving forward, like asking if the sex was “good.” However, you also don’t want a surprising, painful detail to come out about the affair years down the road. A good balance between these two is finding out how long the affair was going on. This question will reveal how serious your partner was about this person—was it a year-long affair with regular meetings, or was it a one-time mistake? The healing process will look different depending on your partner’s answer to this question. A counselor who specializes in affair recovery will be able to tailor your recovery journey based on this and other information.
6. Not Seeking Professional Therapy
Staying married after infidelity is not easy, but a marriage counselor with years of experience and education can make it much easier. They will guide you through the chaotic impact of infidelity on the betrayed spouse as well as the offender.
Many couples suffering from an affair come to us at Well Marriage Center feeling hopeless. We get it, and if you feel this way, please know your feelings are entirely normal and valid. However, simply showing up to marriage counseling is a step in the right direction.
Our counselors have helped couple after couple recover from infidelity by encouraging patience, honesty, care, and a willingness to make necessary changes. These results are the beauty of our strengths-based counseling approach, as we do everything we can to help you focus on the positives of your relationship and rebuild trust and love in a lasting way.
If you want to save your marriage through counseling after infidelity, schedule an appointment with us. Our intake coordinator, Melinda, can answer any questions you may have about our process. We look forward to meeting you and working together to restore the trust and love in your marriage.