How to Survive an Affair

A marriage gets in a crisis when one of the partners is having an affair. There are two ways of dealing with this; either the couple split up or they find ways to survive this affair. I strongly recommend the latter.

Dealing with the aftermath of an affair is a very traumatic experience. Strings will be pulled – especially when children are involved – and this leads to feelings of bitterness and resentment. Your whole life will be turned upside down. You will hear gossip from acquaintances and this can be very soul destroying. Yet the wronged partner has to build a bridge towards the other, and it just doesn’t seem fair!

However, psychologist reach us with tools which we can follow. By doing this, and believing in the result, a marriage can survive the affair and come out even stronger than before.

The unfaithful partner needs to stop the affair immediately and should agree to cease all contact. This lifts the secrecy and creates a sense of safety for the wronged partner. He or she should be ready to answer all their questions and give all the information the other one requests. It is best to keep talking and listening for as long as it takes. Blaming the other one and claiming that he or she drove you into the affair will not help either. You have to take responsibility. Apologize and never go that way again.

The wronged partner can better ask a lot of questions. At first details about the facts (who, what, where, how often, ..?), later shifting to ask about the emotions, reasons, and hidden weaknesses in your own marriage. He or she should also balance his or her rage against their need for information. While you want to scream, cry or lash out, you prevent your spouse from making a full disclosure that leads to recovery.

An affair should not take over your lives. When you are talking about how it affected you, it is best to set a time on affair talk – half an hour at the most. What you should talk about is how the affair affected you. You can discuss your doubts, disappointments, feelings of betrayal and abandonment, anger, and sadness. Don’t hold back on these feelings, as they open a window of intimacy.

Also spend as much time as possible without talking about the affair. You can connect to friends and relatives by doing the things you have always enjoyed. Why not go on a trip? A change of scenery can work wonders.

People in a marriage crisis should also find support. They will feel much less isolated when they connect to family and friends, or even find a support group to join.

Lastly, in order to survive an affair, forgiveness should not be expected and given too quickly or easily. The pain, anger and resentment should be dealt with first, and trust must be rebuilt. Only when you are ready, forgiveness can be given. The affair itself will never be forgotten, but the painful memories will fade with time. Forgiveness allows a couple to move past the pain and rage and reconcile.


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