Infidelity in committed relationships is something not often talked about. For many people, it is a source of shame and a point of anger. After the infidelity is out in the open, many people ask: Can our relationship survive this? And do I want it to? You are not alone in wondering.
Understanding the Facts
Infidelity can occur in any relationship, even a happy one. It is not a function of a faulty partner or a bad marriage. There is a truth that a sexually and emotionally distant marriage can make an affair more likely. Still, people also have affairs in excellent relationships. The following is true about infidelity in committed relationships:
- It’s not easy, and it hurts
- There will probably be anger, tears, and even depression
- It will take time to heal and to trust again.
- The cheater must take responsibility and not blame anyone else for their actions
- The “victim” must also take responsibility for underlying problems in the marriage
- Serious commitment is required from you both.
- You can process what happened if both of you are willing.
Healing from Infidelity
Healing from something like infidelity requires both of you to have a deep and meaningful conversion about your relationship. You will need to be vulnerable and express your underlying emotions. You must both resist the urge to become defensive, blame one another, or deny the problems you are experiencing. There are likely some “vicious cycles” of communication that need breaking for you both. You must be willing to forgive past hurts and be completely honest with one another. You can begin to address what brought you here and start to move on by facing your emotional baggage.
When Not to Stay
We would never suggest that all relationships can survive infidelity. The truth is, not all marriages can or even should be saved. Suppose cheating is one of the many issues involved in a case of physical or emotional abuse. In that case, there is no situation in which you can feel safe enough to repair that relationship. Additionally, people who are serial cheaters may also not be interested in improving the relationship.
Where to Get Help
A licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in couples is an excellent place to look for help. Ask about the therapist’s expertise in helping with infidelity counseling. Some people find it easier to speak to their religious leaders. This might be an excellent first step, but long-term help should be received with a professional counselor.
Family Strategies Counseling and Mediation offers couples counseling and divorce mediation. We specialize in trauma therapy, which is often present in relationships in need of help. Contact our office at (708) 798-5433 for appointment times and scheduling.