How to get over infidelity in a marriage is a loaded question indeed! After your spouse’s unfaithfulness you feel like the rug has been yanked out from under you, while a knife is simultaneously ripping out your heart and the sacred vows, that laid the foundation for your relationship, are crumbling all around you.
Even with all the devastation associated with infidelity, many wounded spouses of affairs desire to “work things out” and save their marriage. They find a way to dig deep and rationalize that the affair was just a very painful bump in the road. They figure, “I have sacrificed and invested too much into this relationship, I’m not going to just hand it over to someone else. I want my marriage back to how it used to be”
I want to share with you why going “back” is probably not the best answer to how to get over infidelity in a marriage, and offer some practical steps you can implement as you move forward with your efforts to save your marriage – forward, to a healthier, happier, stronger marriage.
Memories… The Happier Times in Your Marriage
Many victims of infidelity make the mistake of trying to force their relationship back to where it was, pre-affair, not realizing that by doing so they are retreating to the very roots, or birthplace so to speak, of their current marital difficulties.
While it is understandable that they are trying to re-live those happier times and recreate the nostalgia, that time of innocence and good memories is gone, replaced by the painful and haunting memories of a cheating spouse. So then, how do you get over infidelity in a marriage?
You need to come to terms with the finality that the past is gone… period. If you don’t, but rather choose to look back and try to get there, you will only be dragging that terrible and damaging negativity into your current efforts of rebuilding and restoring your marriage. This will only serve to ruin any chances of establishing a new and “better-than-before” relationship with your spouse. So what now?
Construct a Brand New Foundation for Your Marriage
This may seem like a daunting task, and the truth is, it won’t be easy… but it’s not impossible either. Many couples have accomplished it and will tell you that the effort and work they invested was well worth it; the reward being a much better and stronger marriage – one they thought was, simply, out of reach.
While the dilemma of how to get over infidelity in a marriage is puzzling, there are definitely some effective steps you and your spouse need to take to build a stronger relationship. Here are a few pointers to help you resolve old issues and lay a new foundation that is vital for moving forward as a couple.
1. Define the Hot Spots in Your Marriage
This is a vital step in determining how to get over infidelity in a marriage. With your spouse, sit down and go through your marriage, pinpointing the trouble, or crisis, hot spots. These are the concerns and issues that keep coming up – problems that arise from unmet needs:
- Do you argue about how to communicate properly?
- Do you and your spouse have a mutual understanding of how to express affection?
- Are fundamental “couple times” such as: movie nights, dates, vacations, etc. being neglected or just not happening?
- Are the tasks or chores shared evenly in a way that both spouse’s are satisfied?
- Have you come to terms with how much work and effort you will put into saving your marriage?
These are some of the issues that couples argue over repeatedly and where needs go unmet. They are in no way a justification for infidelity. But in order to progress, you must first become aware of these delinquencies.
2. Specify What You and Your Spouse Need to Agree On
Once you have figured out the hot spots which have been causing the disagreements and marital discord, you need to take a positive, proactive step and state the exact needs that are important to each of you, and then find a way to come to an agreement on them. How to get over infidelity in a marriage necessitates that you confront, and then begin working together on important issues like this if you hope to make any progress at all.
You may find this exercise more helpful by writing down these solutions. Consider it a goal sheet. Often times when one verbalizes their needs, the motive or intent can be misconstrued by the other spouse. By writing out the specific needs that you would like to come into agreement on, you can help to eliminate any wrong ideas, or confusion that might occur.
After months and years of disagreements and arguing over the same issues, you and your spouse may inadvertently just tune each other out. Or you may have built up walls and are always on the defensive and ready with a quick comeback, or rebuttal, to everything your spouse says. Whatever the case may be, it is time to lay these old, negative, unproductive habits aside and move forward to build a stronger, healthier marriage.
3. Discuss and Brainstorm Together Marriage-Saving Solutions
Once you have written down your needs and have agreed that they are the ones you must work on, the next step in how to get over infidelity in a marriage is to formulate a plan of reaching those goals… together.
You need to go into this step with a positive, forward thinking attitude. This should be exciting as you will be injecting new and fresh ideas into your marriage, which may have become stale and boring,over the years, due to neglect and indifference. How to get over infidelity in a marriage involves learning and implementing new habits and routines that will revitalize a relationship that has, most likely, become wearisome and mundane.
You need to develop solutions together as you put the effort into resolving the recurring problems that have been plaguing your marriage. Case in point… if there is an affection need you have, where you would really like your husband to hold your hand while out in public, then devise a solution, like doing a test-run somewhere. Ask your spouse to use this opportunity to convey he/she is really into you by holding your hand proudly for all to see!
While this may seem like a simplistic illustration, the point I’m making is that, often, the solution really is very simple: develop a new, positive habit and be diligent to put it into practice.
As mentioned earlier, the quandary of how to get over infidelity in a marriage is a loaded and complex question. If success is to be had, serious effort from both spouses is a must. There will be no quick fix for problems and issues that have formed over many years and created an almost unsurpassable abyss between you and your spouse. Nor can you just simply turn the page and be done with the painful and haunting images and memories of the affair that has brought your marriage to the brink of destruction.
But there is, absolutely, hope for you and your marriage – don’t for a minute think that all is lost. But, you must commit to moving outside of old, negative habits and distancing yourself from futile comfort zones, and challenge yourself to move forward, with an attitude of anticipation, into unfamiliar territory. Very likely the result of your efforts will be a fresh and new relationship… a marriage that is rewarding and fulfilling.
I wish you healing and hope for your marriage.