Surviving infidelity undoubtedly puts a lot of strain on a marriage, but does an affair really mean that your marriage is over?
If you’re considering divorce as your only option, ask yourself the following question: “Does the pain I’m feeling right now justify the emotional burden my children will endure during and after a divorce?”
Have you considered that there are actually TWO possible approaches you can take when surviving infidelity?
- You can give up, get a divorce and start a new life
- You can view your spouse’s affair as a “wake up call” that something was wrong in your marriage and get the help you need to keep your family together.
Let’s start with option #2: Surviving Infidelity by learning the right thing to do next.
When surviving infidelity through option #2, it’s critical you realize that the affair was just a sign that your marriage wasn’t working. The only reason your spouse found someone else is because s/he was not getting his/her needs met in this marriage.
But there was no way for you to know this. As far as you were concerned, you were doing all you needed to in your marriage.
It is this high level of ignorance that generates affairs by the millions. But that’s not the worst part. Believe it or not, many people actually WANT to remain ignorant in their marriage.
They don’t want to know how to protect their marriage from an affair. They don’t want to know what their spouses needs are. If they did, they would’ve done something about their marriage long before the affair took place.
Most couples don’t want to do anything for their marriage because we live in a society that glorifies the idea that “true” relationships should be easy and effortless…just like romance in the movies.
Back to Option #1: Surviving Infidelity through Divorce
We all know that relationships are not easy…but getting a divorce is certainly not the “path of least resistance” either. Divorce is particularly painful for children. To get the whole story on children and divorce, read more about the psychological effects of divorce on children. If you choose to get a divorce, in essence, what you’re really doing is “putting a band aid over a broken arm.” You will carry the hurt you’re feeling today with you for the rest of your life. You believe you are leaving the pain behind, but with children from this marriage, the pain is just beginning. If you remarry and enter a second marriage you’ll always have that looming thought in the back of your head, “What if it happens again? I’m not going to be taken for a fool TWICE!”
These kinds of thoughts lead to jealousy, arguing and unfortunately…even a second divorce!
On the other hand, you could start surviving infidelity with your spouse at your side. Instead of feeling alone, lost and confused, you can choose the “easier” method of surviving infidelity and go the route of improving your marriage.
Learn WHY this affair happened in the first place. Get hope for your marriage today. Here’s another thing to keep in mind when surviving infidelity:
There is nothing legitimate about an affair. The two people involved in an affair continue to only reveal their “good side” to each other while hiding their “unattractive attributes” from their new love.
In other words, nothing in an affair is real because the PEOPLE are not real (not at THIS point in their relationship).
A man and a woman involved in an affair can not and WILL not be honest about their faults, their feelings and their irritations. People in an affair do not know themselves. All they know is that they want to feel good NOW and nothing else matters…no matter what it costs their family.
But none of this would have taken place in the first place if men and women had a clear idea of what each other’s needs were in the first place.
How to Survive Infidelity
While there is an abundance of long books and numerous internet forums about surviving infidelity and about men and women’s needs, most people don’t want to take the time or work that hard at understanding their spouse.
They just want to be understood…but they don’t want to understand.
You can burn up the little time you have in scouring the internet, searching for the right way to go about surviving infidelity, or you might consider using a defined and specific process to rebuild trust between you as many couples have by using the Marriage Lifeline. One of the couples who have faced infidelity squarely without resorting to divorce agreed to the Marriage Lifeline on the stipulation that if it did not work immediately, the woman would file for divorce.
Here’s what they said in a recent email about using the Marriage Lifeline as the better alternative to divorce…
“I often felt that marriage counseling tried to change us or fix us. This often created resentment. The Marriage Lifeline took a very innovative approach in that it helps you take a look at the good in the person you married. It helps you focus on why you fell in love in the first place and reveals the true reasons for hurt and conflict in our lives. No blame, no guilt and no fixes that never last. Just a study in what is simply good in each other. What an awesome way to re-connect. Thanks Larry, if I could, I would hug you.”
Jim & Carla Ranson
Think of surviving infidelity this way: Men have two big needs they cannot explain clearly and concisely. Women have two major needs they cannot explain in a simple way so a man can understand. This is a set up for trouble.
It is very important that if you want to protect yourself against infidelity in the future, you must learn what these two needs are. I’ll tell you so you can get started with each other and talk about them.
- Sexual Intimacy
If you are the man in the relationship, you now know that you have two places to begin to explain what respect is to you and what it is not. What sexual intimacy is and what it is not.
- Financial Security
- Emotional Security.
If you are the woman in the relationship, you have two places to start your focus in how you explain to your husband what financial security is to you and what it is not. He will also need to know what emotional security is and what it is not.
Both of you need to make this a priority if you want get through this difficult time in your marriage. Talk about your two needs, write about your two needs and each time you’re not getting those needs, talk to your spouse about how s/he can better fulfill your two greatest needs in the future. Define them and write them out in a simple explanation. If you take this small step, you will not find yourself in the terrible place where you are now…surviving infidelity.
The choice is yours. Keep your family together by surviving infidelity the right way: with your spouse right at your side.