Quick Tips When Infidelity Invades Your Marriage
Connecting on a deep emotional level is the bond that keeps couples together. When partners turn toward each other as a source of comfort, security and refuge, they can handle most relationship issues. But when one or both turn away it can gradually erode emotional connection. A weak emotional connection is a threat to the relationship and can open a door to infidelity.
Tips for the betrayed
You have just discovered that your spouse is having or has had an affair. You are shocked, dazed, angry, and overwhelmed with emotional distress. Your spouse has betrayed your trust. Your marriage is in crisis. One of the most important things you can do is to get support from people you can trust to help you sort through your thoughts and feelings.
It is important to consider that infidelity may be a symptom of something not going well in your relationship; however, it can also be totally unrelated to you or your relationship. Regardless of the cause, it is important to understand that whatever choices your partner made, you are not responsible, nor should you take the blame. The following tips are meant to help guide you in the aftermath of discovering infidelity.
- Take care of yourself. The shock of betrayal can feel devastating and heartbreaking.
- Try and find support in a trusted friend, pastor, therapist or family member.
- Don’t ignore the situation.
- Don’t accept the blame for the choices your partner made.
- Don’t involve your children if possible, regardless of their ages.
- Whether you want to salvage the relationship or not, get professional help. A marriage therapist can help you process complicated and confusing emotions and provide next steps.
- Ask your partner to participate in marriage therapy.
- Establish clear boundaries and expectations while trying to rebuild trust in the relationship.
- Don’t make any life-changing decisions for at least six months.
- You may want to investigate your legal options regarding living arrangements, support, custody, and finances.
An affair doesn’t have to signal the end to your marriage. Sadly, some marriages won’t survive. But when both partners decide they want to try to restore the relationship marriage, marriage therapy is essential. Learning to trust again is very difficult and takes time. Having a skilled relationship therapist to process the infidelity and guide you through this challenging time is important to healing and restoration.
Tips for the betrayer
You may be filled with guilt, shame or remorse and now you want your life back.
- End the affair immediately. Don’t wait to get caught.
- Understand the gravity of the situation and the pain you have caused.
- Own the pain you have caused, and take responsibility for your actions without blame, excuses or rationalizations.
- Apologize sincerely to your spouse. Show your spouse that you have remorse.
- Listen to your spouse and acknowledge their feelings. Do not judge, minimize or dismiss their feelings.
- Seek couple’s therapy to help heal the damage. Talk with your spouse in counseling. Show your remorse and openness.
- Be fully transparent, honest and accountable.
- Be patient, faithful and unwavering in recommitting yourself to your spouse and the relationship.
- Seek individual counseling to identify and work through the underlying issues that led to the infidelity.
- Pray for your partner’s grace.
Creating a healthy marriage takes commitment and time. If you have experienced infidelity or have been the cause and have remorse, getting the help you need is paramount. You can heal from the devastation of sexual betrayal whether you are the betrayed or the betrayer. Hundreds of couples have experienced sexual betrayal, experienced healing, and over time regained trust. There is hope that you can get your marriage back on track and have a fulfilling relationship.
Dr. Angela Bisignano is a clinical psychologist and one of the leading marriage therapists in Southern California. Well respected by her peers, Dr. Bisignano is dedicated to helping couples work through difficult times and strengthen their marriages. She is trained in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an evidence-based and scientific method. Her therapeutic approach is also informed by Attachment Theory and Interpersonal Neurobiology. Approximately 75% of Dr. Bisignano’s practice is comprised of couples and relationship issues.
She provides care to clients throughout the South Bay of Los Angeles County, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the beach cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and beyond. She can help.