Can a Relationship Survive an Affair?
The short answer to whether a marriage can recover and grow when one partner has had an affair is... a conditional yes. Although the factors that lead to affairs are complex, the recovery and healing are twice as complex, difficult and challenging.
One factor that frequently is cited as a cause of affairs is the lack of intimacy in the primary relationship. What follows is a brief discussion in the role a lack of intimacy has in creating a vulnerability for an affair to occur.
Why is it so difficult for most people to obtain and sustain intimacy of a depth sufficient to carry across a life time with a loved one' Interestingly, intimacy can be equated to physical fitness, for example, as soon as a person who regularly exercises neglects one or two of their routines, they will almost immediately experience a subtle, but noticeable reduction in their ovally fitness.
For a healthy level of intimacy to remain, a person has to be continually applying themselves to the process, this is similar to maintaining physical fitness.
an affair is created."
It is difficult to provide a simple and neatly packaged answer to this question, as there are many variables that affect a person's life and relationships.
One popular belief held by many marriage and relationship counsellors is that people subconsciously choose a partner who will help them recreate their own childhood struggles. When two people are doing this in the same relationship and at the same time this is likely to create a vulnerability within the relationship.
If a couple cannot apply themselves to working through the troubles in their relationship and do not regain intimacy, a vulnerability to affairs is created.
At this point, either partner may feel exhausted or hopeless from trying to get their physical or emotional needs met and may develop a sexual relationship, an emotional relationship or a combination of both with another person. See strategies for surviving as affair
Other strategies that people employ to manage their intimacy void is by putting their energies into other activities such as work, sport, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. These activities in turn frequently create a range of other problems that allow the lack of intimacy to be minimized and not to be addressed.
An important step in freeing oneself from childhood struggles is to assume self responsibility and have a close look at the role you have played in sabotaging the relationship. This is not a simple process, but is an opportunity for both partners to resolve childhood issues that interfere with their adult lives and to obtain the life they truly want.
To take these steps involves courage, self-honesty and a belief in the relationship. It also means that one cannot get caught-up in blaming, anger and resentment - a difficult task given the understanding and entitlement for such feelings. But nevertheless, these feelings are mostly destructive.
For the relationship to begin the process of rebuilding, trust must be restored before intimacy can be re-established. However the deceptions which affairs are built around leave a deep and lasting wound within the other partner that lingers for a long time.
"These steps involve a belief in the relationship."
For the relationship to have any chance of recovery, the unfaithful partner has to cease all contact with the person they had the affair with. A committment to total honesty with their partner is mandatory. Honesty is something that is earned over a long period of time, merely saying trust me, with the expectation that the partner will begin to trust, simply does not work.
If the unfaithful partner expects trust to easily return and becomes frustrated that it is not, then the relationship has little prospect of recovering from this point. If the unfaithful partner applies them-self to ensuring active and honest communication and is prepared to maintain this over a long period of time, then the relationship has a good chance of recovery.
At this point intimacy has a high probability of returning and the relationship becoming stronger.
Copyright Humaneed 2015