There are very few things more devastating to a marriage than an affair. The betrayal of trust, deception, and violation of the relationship’s intimacy and vows can cause a complete breakdown, or, in some cases, lead to growth and renewal. Every couple is unique in this sense, and every person deals with this kind of trauma in a different way. If you’ve recently discovered that your spouse has cheated and are wondering what to do next, here are some healing steps you could take.
Consider your options. In some cases, separation can be a temporary way to take a step back and consider whether you feel able to move forward with your marriage or whether you feel that the violation of trust was too severe to be forgiven. If you are considering separation or divorce, or if you have already attempted to rebuild trust and not been successful, you’ll need to speak to a family lawyer sydney to work out what all of your options are, where you stand legally, and how to proceed with legal representation. This is particularly important if you have children and custody arrangements will need to be arranged.
Clear the air. Once you’ve become aware of an infidelity, you’ll probably feel the need to know everything that has happened throughout the affair. This is a natural response, and it can be healing for some couples to sit down together and make sure all of the secrets are laid out bare and uncovered. This ensures that you have all of the information you need to process with nothing left out – discovering more pieces of the puzzle further down the line can re-open partially healed emotional wounds and cause further damage.
Try to accept remorse. When you’ve been severely hurt by someone’s actions, it can be very difficult to accept their promises of remorse and guilt. While you don’t have to offer forgiveness if you don’t genuinely feel it yet (and indeed you shouldn’t offer forgiveness unless it’s honest), you should try to accept your partner’s feelings as legitimate. It’s likely that they do feel immense remorse and unhappiness as a result of the affair, and giving them space to express that to you can help rebuild communication and emotional connection.
Acknowledges the causes. In most cases, a series of events or a slow deterioration of the marriage relationship may have been a major factor in the development of the affair. Once you feel ready, it can be useful to discuss as a couple what factors you both feel made the affair possible. While the spouse that cheated does bear the responsibility for their actions, there are usually deeper complications beneath the surface that will need to be worked through if you want the marriage to continue and succeed despite this difficult experience.
Get professional support. It’s extremely tough for a couple to work through the intricacies of healing a wounded marriage alone, especially when emotions are running high. This is where an experienced psychologist specialising in marriage and infidelity can be extremely beneficial. They can work as a mediator between you as you dig deep into the difficult conversations you need to have, and help you explore your issues as a couple so that you’re able to move forward.