Is there anything more detrimental to the strength of a relationship than cheating? It’s a one-two punch to a marriage that tears apart the foundation of the union by creating an environment in which trust and honesty are constantly questioned.
When the two pillars of a successful relationship are removed—or at least severely damaged—it can seem impossible to keep things afloat. Some people are immediately ready to end the marriage once infidelity occurs, while others are willing to work through it.
Let’s explore a few ways that you can come together and be stronger once one of you has strayed.
1. Recognize the Opportunity
In “When Harry Met Sally…” one of the characters remarks, “Marriages don’t break up on account of infidelity. It’s just a symptom that something else is wrong.” An affair is an opportunity to bring the underlying issues in a marriage to the surface.
It’s a hard way to address what’s really going on in your relationship. If you can look at the “symptom” as an indicator of bigger issues that need to be addressed, then you may be able to rebuild and be even stronger than you were before.
2. Embrace the Pain
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Being cheated on hurts. It hurts a lot. It’s like being sucker punched. Repeatedly. If you’re going to get through this, then you both need to embrace the pain and get in touch with your emotions. You have to know that it’s going to hurt for a while, and you have to be okay with that reality.
Remember, pain isn’t reserved only for the one who’s been cheated on; the cheater hurts too. They may have felt awful during the entire affair because the truth is that you loved each other once—and probably still do—so knowing they’re hurting you hurts them.
3. Remember That It Takes Two
It’s easy to place blame when infidelity occurs—typically in the direction of the person who strayed. Yes, they could have made a different choice, that’s for certain.
A strong relationship requires two committed, active participants. Something was broken before the affair started, and you both have a role to play in that.
Once you each acknowledge how you contributed to the situation, you will be better equipped to move forward. There are times when this will renew your sense of awareness to who you are in your marriage and how you can work together.
4. Get Ready to Change
When your marriage has a wake-up call like infidelity, you have to know that things are going to change. You’re going to change. Your spouse is going to change. Your relationship is going to change.
This isn’t about changing your partner, though; this is about changing yourself. By working together to define what you want your relationship to be, you’re building a future.
There Is Hope
Cheating is not the end of the road for all marriages. For many couples, they are able to work through their issues and emerge on the other side stronger and more in love than ever.
It’s important to remember that moving forward to stay in your marriage following infidelity is not a task for the weak. It takes strength of character and a willingness to be vulnerable. It requires a joint commitment that you might never have had before.
If you are both ready to acknowledge your mistakes and forgive the other person, then take an active role in rebuilding your future. You have what it takes to save your marriage.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.