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How to Repair a Relationship

August 24, 2017

You have been married for several years and have three children. After taking your son to school, you spot your husband in a coffee shop holding hands with another woman and whispering intimately. You feel as though the ground is slipping away beneath your feet. How could this be happening? How can your relationship ever recover?

 

Exact numbers are hard to come by, however a few studies reveal that about half of married people in the U.S. will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage. What do you do when this occurs in your relationship? How do you know if your relationship is worth saving? Finally, how can you ever repair such a catastrophic betrayal?

 

Finding out

When infidelity invades a relationship, it often permeates the atmosphere long before the affair is actually discovered. While one partner may cope with suspicion, low self-esteem and resentment - the other partner may wrestle with guilt and the fear of being caught.

 

Once the affair is officially confirmed and brought out into the open, it is a traumatic event for both individuals involved. For the person who discovers the affair, there is the agony of betrayal. For the one having the affair, there may be a sickening mixture of remorse and relie - at least now the secrecy can come to an end.

 

How to Heal

Prior to any discussions concerning the next steps for the relationship, marriage or family, a certain level of fundamental healing must take place. The person who discovered the affair must be allowed to vent his or her feelings in a safe way and with plenty of support.

 

The one who is having the affair needs to first and foremost end the affair—no healing can happen until this first step is completed. He or she must also allow the other partner both the needed time and space in order to find enough balance in continuing to the next stage.

 

Both persons can benefit from individual therapy. However, a couples therapy is crucial throughout this process in order for the healing to start taking place.

 

The State of your Relationship

The discovery of an affair often highlights certain underlying relationship issues that have been threatening the couple. From here, the couple can decide if the relationship is worth repairing.

 

In therapy, your husband faces his feelings of resentment about your long work hours, and you receive support in coping with feelings of betrayal, that in reality, you remember your father’s affair when you were just a teenager.

 

Like many others who have discovered an affair, you receive plenty of advice, telling you to leave the marriage. It is an emotional, confusing time that shook the foundation of your whole life.

 

Ultimately, the decision to leave the relationship or marriage is yours alone, however here are four important questions that can serve as guidance if you have discovered an affair:

 

1. Has your partner or spouse taken responsibility for their actions and expressed remorse?

2. Has your partner or spouse ended the affair?

3. Is he willing to attend couples therapy?

4. Do you share the same values and goals for the future? Is this someone you are excited about spending the rest of your life with? (These last questions are just as crucial for the person who had the affair.)

 

How to Repair the Relationship

Ultimately, your husband and you may decide to stay together - partly because of your three children. For this reason, your healing has to include the whole family. Each child attends individual therapy, as well as group sessions with everyone.

 

This process can be exhausting yet illuminating and families who go through this type of trauma often come out with stronger bonds as well as a deeper understanding of one another.

 

Finally, here is a summary of the four healing steps to take following the discovery of an affair:

 

Hear your Partner. Make sure both partners have adequate support to individually express their feelings.

 

Understanding. Work both separately and together in order to look at the root causes of the affair as well as the health of the relationship.

 

Help. Commit to intentional action such as use the therapy process to communicate honestly and respectfully about whether you will stay together or move in separate directions.

 

Heal. Involve each individual in strengthening the family bond.

 

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications

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