Letting Go Of Infidelity After An Affair
Forgetting An Affair - Does it Work?
I have been asked in the past if it is possible to let go of infidelity and work on repairing the relationship (without working through the steps to deal with the affair). This is an important point. Infidelity stems from somewhere, and if a couple wishes to move past the affair, they must work through the underlying issues in order to repair their relationship.
Note that there are some people with a basic character defect who will cheat independent of the marriage or the spouse's behavior.
There are some rare cases that infidelity can be forgiven and forgotten, but most often what happens is the issue is never actually resolved, and it will continue to plague the marriage until the marriage dissolves or until the couple uses marriage counseling or self-help programs to work through the real issues.
Has the Cheater Sufficiently Repaired His/Her Character?
One of the underlying issues with dropping the affair and not working through the infidelity is the difficulty of knowing whether the cheater has sufficiently repaired his or her character.
Highly Motivated for the Wrong Reasons
The cheater's motivation during the early stages after being caught is usually very high, and he/she cannot imagine doing anything like this again. By focusing on the infidelity, it raises the likelihood of an emotional ache in the cheater. Listening to the injured party's emotional pain can be highly motivating to the cheater to be willing to say and do almost anything that will move the healing process off the infidelity and onto something else. These factors do not necessarily mean that you have true or authentic progress.
Avoiding Emotional Turmoil Leaves Marriage Vulnerable
The bottom line is that leaving the affair alone and not working on the underlying issues usually leaves the marriage vulnerable. This is something I have observed countless times over the years that I have been helping couples work through issues of unfaithfulness just like these.
It is important for the long-term health of your marriage that you and your spouse work through the affair with a common goal of healing and working past it; but you must work through the underlying issues and the cheater must work on his or her own character, in order to help the injured person feel safe in the relationship once again.
Cheater Must Work On Character Repair
After an affair there is a lot that must be done to repair the marriage. The spouse that was cheated on will feel hurt and damaged, and unsafe in the relationship. It takes time and effort on the part of the cheater to repair the marriage and to help the injured party feel safe once again in the marriage. The cheater has to authentically monitor his or her own thoughts and behaviors and authentically want to be honest and faithful.
Saving Your Marriage Is Possible
Most marriages are salvageable. I know because I have helped many couples work through devastating episodes in their lives. It does take hard work, and both spouses must work together to rebuild the trust and transparency that is integral to any long-term marriage.
You can work together towards a better and happier marriage. I have faith in your ability.
I wish you the strength to get through this difficult time and work towards a better marriage. Warmest regards,