Your marriage can survive an affair. If both you and your spouse are willing to put in the effort, attend couples counseling, and work together to rebuild trust, your marriage can become what it once was. Marriage therapy services will help you both reconnect and repair the damage, but only if both partners follow distinct steps in the healing process.
The betrayed spouse must agree to take healing seriously by not minimizing or trying to speed up the process, and the unfaithful spouse must provide all details open and honestly in order to prove their trustworthiness. Here are the necessary steps for both partners to complete in order to survive the affair.
The Unfaithful Spouse
1. Promise to stop the affair
It is crucial to agree to sever all contact with your lover, as this will lift the veil of secrecy and creates a sense of safety for the betrayed spouse.
2. Answer any and all questions
Your partner deserves to know whatever details of the affair they want to. The goal through couples counseling is to be able to talk about the affair without the betrayed party feeling undue pain, and the only way to get there is to speak open and honestly.
3. Take responsibility
Blaming your partner for the affair will not heal the marriage, but expressing sincere remorse and the desire to change will. You will need to apologize and take responsibility not only for your partner’s sake, but for your own healing.
The Betrayed Spouse
4. Ask questions
There is no such thing as too many questions in marriage therapy.
5. Set a time limit on speaking about the affair
Restrict speaking about your affair to about 15 minutes each session. If you always talk about it, you will not have time to heal.
6. Expect curveballs
When you both are being completely honest, things can come up that you don’t expect.
7. Forgive only when you are ready
Forgiveness takes time, so never feel pressured to completely forgive unless you are 100% ready.
According to research from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a full 98% of surveyed couples who underwent couples counseling reported that they received excellent help in repairing their marriage. In addition, over 97% of those surveyed said they got the help they needed.