Recovering from an affair is difficult – that’s the simple truth. When trust is betrayed, it can be a long, uphill battle to rebuild it, but there’s one big “secret” to not only surviving an affair, but actually improving your marriage in its wake.
You have to create a new marriage.
Most of the time, affairs happen because of dissatisfaction and unmet needs – sometimes those needs are physical, but by and large, infidelity stems from emotional dissatisfaction. No matter what the specific reasons, though, one thing is clear: affairs happen because the relationship was vulnerable.
If one or both of you were feeling dissatisfied, even before an affair happened, it means that, frankly, neither of you are in the marriage you want to be in. As hard as it is to recognize and accept, both parties play a role in determining the quality of the relationship – and even if one of you has crossed the line into infidelity, both of you are (at least partially) responsible for the circumstances that lead up to that point.
Now, we’re not here to talk about who’s fault it is – we’re here to talk about rebuilding. However, it is important to recognize that no matter what happened, the relationship leading up to the affair was NOT the marriage you want, nor is it the marriage you want to go back to.
And that’s the point here – going back to “how things used to be” is only a recipe for more heartache and more trouble. Instead, the decision to work on your relationship in the wake of an affair should be a decision to create a whole new marriage.
This means leaving the past in the past (though it will surely take time to rebuild trust and find forgiveness), admitting and accepting how both of you were negatively impacting the relationship, and moving forward with a clean slate.
When couples are willing to create brand new marriages with the person they are already married to, the relationship can actually grow stronger after an affair!
You and your spouse should agree to build a new marriage from scratch, with new habits, new actions, and most importantly, a new attitude toward the relationship as a whole. Chances are, you know exactly what the problems were, and by addressing them honestly, you can change the problematic behaviors and create a supportive, loving, attentive relationship you both want – and are willing to work to maintain!
It won’t necessarily be easy, and of course old habits and patterns can be hard to break, but by massively shifting your mentality toward this new relationship, you’ll keep those old ways at bay and focus your energy on building the happy marriage you’ve always wanted.
If you’ve suffered through an affair, it doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage – but it should be the end of your OLD marriage. Start fresh with the person you already married, and create a strong, new relationship with everything you’ve learned from past mistakes.
This can be exactly the new beginning you need.