If your marriage has been rocked by infidelity, you’re not alone. Recent infidelity statistics show that in 1/3 of all marriages, one or both partners have cheated. Wondering how to get your relationship back on track? Here are four ways to work through the trauma of betrayal and make your marriage stronger than ever.1. End all extramarital sexual contact immediately. It’s imperative that the cheating spouse ends the affair for good. Ideally, this should happen over the phone or via email, as an in-person meeting is likely to keep the relationship going. The betrayed spouse should be present when this occurs so that he or she will have proof that the affair is over. However, it’s not enough just to end the relationship; the cheater must take necessary steps to prevent future contact with the affair partner. This means: blocking phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts. Cheaters should take this opportunity to stop engaging in cybersex as well: delete all dating apps, text messages, and social media conversations with virtual affair partners.
2. Set limits on when and where you discuss the infidelity. The betrayed partner needs to have enough information about the affair to satisfy their curiosity and to decide if they want to remain in the marriage. But howthe information gets relayed is critical. Cheaters have a tendency to drip-feed the truth: they say only as much as they think they need to reveal. Problems arise when they’ve been less than truthful and their spouse uncovers other secrets, such as an affair that was longer than originally stated, or cybersex liaisons in addition to real-time dalliances. Betrayed partners can become obsessed with extracting every bit of information and will interrogate the cheater endlessly in an attempt to find out everything. Both of these situations – being drip-fed information about the affair and talking about infidelity 24/7 – cause more damage. Couples hoping to recovery from infidelity should limit their conversations about the affair to the office of a therapist who can guide them through the disclosure process.
3. See a couples therapist who specializes in infidelity. Most couples need the help of a trained professional to recover from infidelity. When interviewing potential therapists, make sure they specialize in infidelity and also find out their treatment approach. What is their training? How will they handle the disclosure process? How do they distinguish between garden-variety infidelity and sex addiction? How do they work with trauma? Will they be referring one or both to individual therapists and if so, who will be coordinating care? Infidelity is an inherently chaotic experience for both the betrayed and the betrayer so it’s important to have a mental health professional who can provide some stability with a structured treatment plan.
4. The betrayed spouse must commit to healing from betrayal. Finding out that the person you love is also the person who has hurt you is traumatic. Healing from that trauma depends on several factors: the nature of the infidelity; the cheating spouse’s commitment to saving the marriage; and the betrayed partner’s trauma resiliency. Most betrayed spouses benefit from seeing a therapist trained in intimate partner betrayal to keep them from re-traumatizing themselves via compulsive behaviors such as snooping through their partner’s belongings, re-telling the infidelity story to family and friends, and continuing to interrogate their partner outside of a therapist’s office. A good therapist can help the betrayed spouse learn ways to calm an overactive nervous system, acquire coping skills, and set effective boundaries with their spouse.
Even if you do decide your marriage can’t be saved, taking time to follow these steps fully will give you the information to know you’ve made the right decision to divorce.
What are your legal options for surviving infidelity? Post-nuptial agreements or reconciliation agreements can give couples on the brink greater peace of mind as you work through your marital issues. Please contact us today to schedule your free attorney consultation and get answers to all your questions. Call us at 888-888-0919, or please click the button below.