Can You Forgive an Infidelity?
We are programmed from the time that we get married to believe that infidelity is the ultimate marital sin and that if a partner were to cheat the relationship would be doomed. Although infidelity is heartbreaking to discover, it doesn't always have to be the end of the road, and it's certainly not something that you can't recover from, as long as that is what both parties want.
Marriages that recover from infidelity and can actually become stronger and more stable than pre-infidelity states. Statistics show that 30-60% of marriages have one (or both) partners who are/were unfaithful at some point in the marriage. This is a huge number, which means that every marriage is at an extremely high risk for infidelity and the response to the infidelity can be the determining factor in the outcome of the marriage. Approximately 31% of marriages survive infidelity. However, the number could be much higher with proper counseling and a willingess to accept that infidelity does not have to equate to divorce
There are a few factors that will determine the outcome, such as the state of the relationship before the affair, the willingness of both parties to be honest about the past and the future, and most of all to learn to let go. If a couple cannot navigate these choppy waters themselves, counseling is the next step to take. If the couple are both willing to move forward, and are both interested in saving the marriage, there are a few key things to consider in the path to recovery.
Brutal honesty from both the deceived and deceiver is paramount. If you were the innocent party you have a right to ask questions and receive the entire truth. How you handle that truth is another matter. The biggest question you probably have is “Why did you do this to me?” This question can be a tough one for the cheater to answer. They may not know exactly why they did it. If there are issues within your marriage that have been ongoing, you will want to address these issues immediately. Anger, fear, sadness and heartbreak will fight to get the better of your attention. This can only be worked through in stages. Listening is also important, but again this can take time and work.
Resentment and an inability to let go can be a poison that damages the relationship. And often, coping with these feelings is something that has to be learned through hard work and committment. Dealing with the resentment so that it doesn’t tear away at you is critical. A counsellor can help with these feelings and they can also help you put together plan of how to move forward.
One of the things that can damage a relationship forever, is the inability to trust. After an abuse of the trust, rebuilding trust is a tough thing to do. But, without it, the relationship is just based on the next fight that's about to erupt. Ultimately, rebuilding trust will be the factor that determines if the marriage can be salvaged. The deceiver, must be willing to be completely open and honest about all feelings and accept in the beginning that there will be an element of mistrust at the least, and perhaps even an overbearing nature will most likely take hold. If the relationship is to work, this has to be dealth with for a while, until true trust can be achieved.
Most critical really is the adjustment that both parties must make, which has to be based on both parties actually wanting to make the relationship work. If you are not committed it will most likely end in failure. Seeking professional marriage counseling can work for some couples as if can open the lines of communication. However, counseling may not be necessary if both parties can truly communicate. Finding time each and every day is a great step towards healing the deep wounds and working towards recovery rather than rupture.