Asking for Advice After an Affair
Surviving an Affair Begins with Your Decision
Okay, you've been hit with the knowledge your spouse cheated on you and you wonder about surviving an affair. Maybe you never want to see or speak with your spouse ever again. Maybe you want to do worse to your spouse.
Many of you will begin to ask friends, relatives, your pastor, your hair dresser, or your family doctor what you should do. The answer to this question will ultimately dictate your next steps. Do you leave or do you stay and try to work it out?
Personal Agendas Affect Advice
Almost everyone you will ask has an agenda. The person you ask for help to guide you on your life's path is going to be influenced by his or her own life-path.
Take for example, the couple who came to me after their previous marriage counselor indicated their situation was hopeless. I knew the woman they had been to for counseling and knew that in her own marriage, she had recently been dumped for another woman.
- Do you think her advice could be affected by her recent experience?
- Do you think you would get the same answer from someone in a long-term good marriage as you would from someone in the first year of a third marriage?
- Would you expect the same advice from someone who, because of religious beliefs, is putting up with a philanderer in her own life versus someone who is married and having an affair herself?
Your Decisions, Your Life
You might be very concerned about the impact on your children or other family members, but the person giving you advice wants you to think only about yourself. You have to live out your decision, not the person who gives you advice.
It's easy to tell others what they should be doing. It's easy to hold high standards or to be indignant when it is someone else's life experiences. You and your children, if there are any, are the only ones who have to live out the results of your decisions.
Can You Survive an Affair?
It may be too early for you to know if you can survive the affair. During the first days and weeks after you discover your spouse's infidelity you might think you could never recover. However, your feelings might change after the initial shock wears off, particularly:
- ...if this is the only occurrence.
- ...if your spouse seems to authentically want to work to repair your marriage.
- ...of if you have children.
Learn what to do after learning of the extra-marital affair.
As long as both of you are authentically dedicated to improving your marriage and getting your relationship back in order, and you are both ready and willing to do the difficult work together, you have a good chance of creating a marriage that is better than ever. It will involve the cheater repairing his or her character and you both investing in your relationship in a new and stronger way.
I wish you much success in turning your marriage into a wonderful relationship.