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Your marriage can surviving an affair


  • Article by Patricia Flokis
  • Source: Good Health Magazine
  • Monday, February 1, 2010


"the good news

is that infidelity does not have to lead to divorce"

There is nothing more likely to devastate a marriage than infidelity. Many issues can challenge a marriage, but an affair rocks its core values of trust and monogamy. The good news is that infidelity does not have to lead to divorce.


With time, honesty, courage and relationship counselling (recommended), couples can emerge through the pain and betrayal stronger than ever. Here, relationship experts give their advice on how to survive infidelity.

Seek professional advice. While friends and family can offer support, a marriage or relationship counsellor can offer you objective and constructive advice.

End the affair. "Severing all contact with the person you've had the affair with is a non-negotiable condition," says Hutchison. It might mean moving home or interstate or finding another job if you work with them.


Get the facts. "If it's not talked about, then it keeps getting talked about," says Hutchison. "If your partner has cheated, you need enough details to know exactly where you stand." Learning all there is to know about the affair, from the start, also means no more painful revelations during the recovery process.

Don't demonise the cheater. "An affair is not usually a reflection of a person's character," says Dawson (from Humaneed). "There's a great deal of shame that the cheater feels as well as the person who's been cheated on."


Accept your rollercoaster of emotions. "Allow yourself to grieve because temporarily you've lost a friend and the trust," says Hutchison. But avoid constantly unleashing your pain and fury on your partner or pushing them to rehash details of the affair. It might be warranted at first but, at some point, it becomes unhelpful and damages the relationship further.

Don't rush the healing process. "The cheater and the cheated on operate at two different healing speeds," says Dawson. "The cheater always wants to move ahead faster, mainly because of the guilt they feel, but you can only move at the speed that the wound heals for the one cheated on."


Renew the trust. Trust can take years to restore. Dwelling on the 'what ifs' may be natural, but the only way forward is to rely on your gut feeling that the cheater is now being totally honest and is committed to you. "After an affair, it's important for both parties to focus on 'the now', and not 'the past', for the maximum capacity for love and healing," says Hutchison. "Look at the positives in the relationship, stop fault-finding and start praising,"


Embrace forgiveness. "As a therapist, you know by six months if a couple is going to make it," says Dawson, who recommends giving it two years. "The cheater has to feel remorse and empathy and they have to really respect and care for the other person. The person cheated on has to find that capacity for forgiveness somewhere along the line — not to forget about the affair but, like all trauma, to be able to use it to build a better marriage."


For the complete story see the March 10 issue of Good Health   To original article

Article by Patricia Flokis, for Good Health Magazine.