Are you both open-minded and determined enough to consider this path instead?
Cheating isn’t always a death sentence for a marriage. In many cases, cheating is a catalyst for strengthening a marital relationship.
If you’re interested in learning how infidelity can save a marriage, you’re going to have to have an open-mind and be willing to make your own rules for your life despite what society may say is appropriate behavior.
Going against the norm isn’t easy, but when you make choices that reflect the true you the rewards are always greater self-respect and satisfaction with your life.
But, and this is VERY important, the only way you can have a chance of saving your marriage after an affair is if the straying spouse is genuinely remorseful AND the betrayed is willing to forgive. If either of you is unwilling to do your part, then there’s no hope for your marriage.
And the exploration begins with a broadening of perspective. Infidelity is betrayal without a doubt. It is also a wakeup call to the fact that it’s time to deal with your marital problems. If both of you can broaden your view of the betrayal in this way and are committed to putting in the hard work, then your marriage can be saved.
Trust must be rebuilt if your marriage is to make it.
To that end, the straying spouse must come clean – 100% clean – about what happened and be willing to gain his/her spouse’s trust. The importance of this can’t be emphasized enough. If s/he doesn’t tell all because s/he doesn’t want to hurt his/her spouse any more then s/he has already, s/he is continuing to lie. And lies destroy trust.
The betrayed spouse must be willing to trust his/her spouse. That doesn’t mean blindly. S/he has a definite right to ask for visibility into his/her spouse’s activities while trust is being rebuilt. And at some point, if the marriage is to survive, s/he must allow that his/her spouse is trustworthy.
Some sense of trust is required for each of you to feel safe. It’s from a feeling of safety that you both will be able to begin sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings about the issues in your marriage.
It’s also from a place of safety that you will each be able to honestly acknowledge your individual part in allowing your relationship to deteriorate to where it is today. And once you can each acknowledge your individual culpability to the other (without blame on either part), you can earnestly begin the next phase of your efforts to save your marriage.
This phase is when you really begin to understand how infidelity can save a marriage and what you each need to do.
You must both continue giving and being deserving of trust.
Trust is the bedrock of every successful marriage. That’s why it’s restoration is so important. Trust is what allows each of you to feel safe being together and know that your efforts to create a better marriage are worthwhile.
You must both be committed to growth.
Coasting along or accepting the status quo in your relationship is how you got to the point where one of you strayed. Making and keeping a good marriage requires effort.
If you are both committed to growth, you can create your better and happier marriage. It’s with a willingness to grow and become better spouses for each other that your marriage will become what you both believed it could be when you married.
You must both continue to give to and receive love from your spouse.
Love is more than just telling each other, “I love you.” Love is about taking action and expressing your love in a way your spouse can easily accept and understand.
You must both continue to communicate in respectful, compassionate, open and honest ways.
Not talking about the problems in your marriage is what got you to this point. Rebuilding the trust between you can only be done by learning how to converse together in respectful, open and honest ways. Communicating like this must become your norm instead of just what happens when you hit a crisis.
As you can tell, this phase never really ends if you want to have a great marriage.
But you’ll only reach this point with each other if you both choose to be open-minded about what the betrayal really means to your marriage (despite what society may think) and carefully consider how infidelity might actually be the catalyst that saves your marriage instead of destroys it.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach who helps people just like you who want support in dealing with the pain of infidelity. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.