One of the many questions I get asked from people who find themselves in situations similar to what my husband and I went through in the past is: “Is it even possible to reconcile after an affair?” A lot of people don’t realize the damage that marital infidelity causes until they find themselves in that situation. My husband and I are proof that it is possible to reconcile after an affair, but it is not easy.
The first step in reconciling after an affair is to determine whether or not you want to reconcile your marriage. If you are the person who cheated there is a reason for your infidelity. I am sure that there are certain people in the world who cheat on their spouses because they are broken people who don’t care about anyone but themselves. For the rest of us, and I believe the majority of married people who cheated, cheating in a marriage is almost always the sign of a bigger problem. A major part of determining whether you want to reconcile your marriage is determining what caused you to cheat and being prepared to address it.
Assuming you have decided that you do indeed want to reconcile your marriage, the second step in reconciling after an affair is to determine whether your spouse wants to reconcile. As the person who committed adultery you have to remember that your infidelity may have hurt your spouse to a level that you will never understand. My husband made it very clear to me how hurt he was by my infidelity when he told me; “It’s so much bigger than you just cheating, you have been my best friend for nearly ten years and now I feel like I am looking at a stranger.” At the time I thought that was the final nail in marriage. After a couple of weeks I was so relieved when my husband told me that he wanted his best friend back. That told me that he wanted to reconcile our marriage.
If you and your spouse both want to reconcile after an affair the final step is figuring out how you are going to do it. As I stated before, marital infidelity is almost always the sign of a bigger problem in a marriage. In order for you and your spouse to successfully reconcile your marriage those problems are going to have to be addressed. Counseling is the natural progression for most couples, and while counseling may be successful for some people, it isn’t the answer for everyone. For couples counseling to be effective both people have to be comfortable with the counselor and have to actively participate in the counseling. This can be challenging for couples at an emotionally charged time in their marriage, and it has the potential to have a negative outcome.
One system that helped me understand and begin to work on things even before my husband was ready to join me is Dr. Frank Gunzburg’s Surviving an Affair system. Dr. Gunzburg offers a free seven step process to help you start working to survive the affair in your marriage. You can also find Dr. Gunzburg’s system by click www.afteranaffair.net/surviving-an-affair.