Affairs happen! And couples can develop trust again! The spouse carrying out the affair needs to affirm to their partner that they genuinely want to end the affair and mend the relationship. This may be a brief process, but sometimes a lengthy one. The process of ending the affair is part of the healing process. When the affair has ended, a number of factors will determine the success of the recovery.
Can the unfaithful partner take responsibility for their choices and acknowledge the pain that has been inflicted on the spouse while exhibiting empathy instead of blame?
To begin the rebuilding process, the betrayed must feel that the unfaithful partner is truly contrite and empathetic. By accepting the blame for making an autonomous choice to stray, rather than shifting the blame to the betrayed. Only then can the healing of trust being.
Can the betrayed partner allow for the unfaithful partner to begin speaking of the flaws in the relationship that may have contributed to the affair?
The spouse who sought intimacy outside of the relationship must be allowed to begin to examine what in the new relationship was appealing. Could those feelings be brought to the marital relationship? Often, the betrayed spouse, like the unfaithful spouse, longs for a freer, more assertive, and emotionally open spouse. By examining the appeal of the affair, new possibilities for the marital relationship may appear.
Can the couple openly examine the affair in all its details, the trauma, and the contributing factors so that together they can overcome the pain and learn from the affair?
Both partners must be willing to go over the details of the affair openly and without blame. By examining what happened, the couple can begin to create a common understanding. Reviewing what happened helps build understanding, which in turn, moves those involved from victims to survivors who have gained some control over the circumstance.
Healing takes time, and couples who seek to stay together must be willing to invest as much time as it takes to work through identified problems as they work to rebuild their marriage.
This healing process can lead to a new level of commitment and provide the closeness, acknowledgement, and satisfaction that were missing. Healed couples are stronger and more loving couples.