By Denise A. Dilmore
For a couple to survive infidelity, the general theme is the cheater wants to get on with the relationship and quickly move past the affair, while the injured party prolongs the misery and mistrust. And with good reason. It is difficult to “move on” once you have been devastated by an affair.
If both you and your husband want to survive the infidelity and rebuild your marriage, realize that it is a process. After the initial shock of the infidelity has settled, it is not so much the “sexual act” which is the most difficult to survive, but the deceit, disrespect, lies and lack of loyalty that has taken place. The lingering feelings of deception and mistrust do not immediately go away once the affair stops.
Here are 3 mistakes couples make which prolong the mistrust and misery, and most importantly, how to avoid them:
Mistake #1 – Visualizing The Details and Playing It Over And Over Again
The number one mistake most people make which prolongs mistrust and misery is visualizing the details of the affair and playing it over and over again in their minds. Envisioning the “what, when, where and how they did things” is destructive to your sanity and will prohibit you from rebuilding your marriage.
To survive infidelity you must learn to take control of your mind and stop the negative visualizations. Understand it is natural to doubt your spouse’s loyalty but unnatural for you to torture yourself with “thoughts of them.”
Tips to help rid yourself of unwanted thoughts are:
-Be aware of when negative thoughts are taking over so you can learn to change your thought pattern
-Become aware of what triggers your negative thoughts and images
-Make a conscious decision to stop yourself when these thoughts and images appear
-Stop telling yourself and others that you can’t stop thinking this way – because you can
-Realize you are in control of your thoughts and need to distract yourself with other people, things and places to keep your mind occupied
-Make a written list of 10 things you are grateful for and pull it out and read it every time your negatative thinking begins
Mistake #2 – Trying To Put The Marriage Back To “The Way It Was”
The number two mistake most people make which prolongs mistrust and misery is trying to put the marriage back to “the way it was.” For a couple to survive infidelity, both must realize there was a fault line in the foundation of their marriage for the affair to happen in the first place. Usually feeling underappreciated, misunderstood or a communication break down between the couple has occurred prior to the affair. There are many online resources available for couples willing to repair their marriage and find new ways of communicating.
Tips to help you create new ways of communicating are:
-Stop yourself from falling into the same communication patterns as were present prior to the affair
-Accept the marriage will not be the same as it was prior to the infidelity
-Get professional counseling or find online resources to help you develop new ways of communicating
-Learn to listen to your partner rather than jumping in with a response
Mistake #3 – Focusing on The Affair Rather Than The Marriage
The number three mistake most people make which prolongs mistrust and misery is focusing on the affair rather than the marriage. For obvious reasons feelings of anger, rage, hurt, betrayal and disappointment are all natural and must play a part in the healing process. Keep in mind, if you did not care about your spouse, none of these feelings would be arising. Therefore, once you have both made the decision to survive the infidelity and save your marriage, focusing on the affair rather than the marriage is destructive and futile.
Tips to help you focus on your marriage again are:
-Every day make a list of things your spouse did right
-Ask yourself why did you fall in love with your spouse in the first place and do they still have some of those same qualities
-Take time away from the everyday routine to spend quality time together
-Find new activities and things you are both interested in doing together
-Designate specific times to discuss the marital issues and solutions on how to make the marraige stronger
Ultimately, your spouse carries a large responsibility in trying to help you alleviate your mistrust and misery. It is after all, their indiscretions that created the breakdown of your relationship.
Realize that if you are both committed to saving your marriage, there are many ways that you can restore the trust which was lost to the affair. Take responsibility for avoiding the three most common mistakes many people make. If you put in the daily work, you and your spouse will be among the many couples that have succeeded in regaining the trust and surviving infidelity.
To read more from Denise A. Dilmore you can visit her blog at HowToSurviveAnAffair.com