This is one part of my guide for how to save your marriage after an affair. This post is meant for the spouse who was betrayed. Here is the matching part of the guide: concrete steps to save your marriage when you were unfaithful.
Can you and your spouse save your marriage after an affair
Can your marriage can survive an affair? Can you learn to survive betrayal? Can your spouse learn how to survive an affair? The answer is yes, but it requires hard work from both of you.
Ask Any and All Questions
Feel free to ask any question at all. And, ask lots of questions. Don’t hold back.
Often, your questions will start with getting the facts and progress to understanding what your spouse was feeling and what fault lines the affair might have exposed in the marriage.
Don’t limit your questions about the factual details. This is an important part of rebuilding your relationship. You can ask – and expect honest answers to a range of questions. When? Where? How many times did you have sex? How much money did you spend? Who else knows about the affair?
While you were the one who was betrayed, your spouse might respond by becoming angry at you. Your spouse might even accuse you of betrayal. Steer the discussion back to the affair. Stick to the details.
When You Become Upset, Take a Break
You need information to save your marriage, and even build a more intimate connection than you had before the affair. While it’s perfectly understandable that you want to vent your full fury on your spouse every time he provides information, every time that you lash out he will move away from full disclosure.
Full and total confession leads to healing, but attacking your spouse will limit confession.
Your spouse will answer more questions, provide more information, if every revelation does not spin out of control in a maelstrom of anger.
If you feel that you are “losing it”, take a break. You can resume that conversation later when you’re calm.
Talk Is Good, But Within Time Limits
If you’re not careful, the analysis and reporting of the affair can take over your lives and damage the very reconstruction that you want to save your marriage. So here are two tips:
- Ask questions as they surface. Don’t let questions fester and amplify your anger and resentment.
- Set a strict time limit to your question and answer sessions about the affair. Thirty minutes should be an absolute upper limit. You can ask more questions in your next session.
Find Ways to Be Together – Give Your Relationship Oxygen
You will talk about the affair, but don’t the affair deprive your relationship of the sustenance that it needs to mend. To save your marriage, provide your relationship with oxygen.
Do you enjoy going to the movies, dining out, hiking, or museums? Whatever you have enjoyed together, do it. And, take a break from talking about the affair to give yourselves a chance to reconnect. Rebuild your friendship and restore your romantic pull by spending time together enjoying your spouse’s company.
Your Pain Can Help Rebuild Intimacy
Your partner should have totally cut ties with his or her former lover. At the same time, you can and should express your pain, your disappointment, your sadness. Opening up with what you feel will build a bridge to renewed intimacy with your spouse. The more you hold back, the harder it will be to to heal the relationship. To save your marriage, you need to talk about your pain.
Forgive, But Don’t Turn the Other Cheek Too Fast
Instant forgive and forget is great advice for preventing road rage, but it’s not good advice for saving your marriage. If you forgive too quickly or too easily, you will not have had a chance to face your pain. Take your time. Let your anger ebb. Slowly, you and your spouse can rebuild trust and intimacy.
You can never forget an affair, but you can forgive when you’re ready. Forgive after your spouse has been completely honest, after your spouse has worked to regain your trust, and after your pain has dimmed. Forgive only when you are ready.
Don’t Do This Alone
Recovering from the betrayal of an affair is difficult. This is the time to call upon your network of family and friends. It’s a great time to reach out to old friends, and perhaps especially to old friends where the connection has lapsed over time. Consider finding a support group. Feelings of isolation will not help. Family, friends, and support groups can all help.
Dr. Mann provides online support for you and your partner to help navigate the path to recovery. Reach out today to Dr. Mann. Just call, or fill out the contact form and click Send.