3 Mistakes Couples Make When Trying To Survive INFIDELITY
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
I can admit that reading this post I have done all of these mistakes when I was cheated on and it ended the relationship badly and it also took me a very long time to get over it. I'm glad I have found this blog it has helped me look at myself differently and make better, smarter choices with some of my decisions. Thanks for your post and effort writing this post.
You're right, it's more than just having sex with someone else. It speaks so much about the person's character. My spouse cheated on me more than once and he would always try to justify it by saying stupid things. He felt because I never caught him in the act, there was no real proof. He not only was a liar and cheat, but was emotional and financial abuser. I could not communicate with this man, he never would listen and not say he was sorry because in his mind he was always right. The infidelity started early in the marriage, I would say about 2 years when I first recognized it. It started with a female calling and then a man calling complaining about my ex calling his wife which he was separated at the time. He gave the phone to me to talk to these people as if he was some innocent party. Can you believe that. When a man calls and asks to speak to me and tells me what my ex was doing…that man is for real and is telling the truth because men just don't normally do things like that. As time went on, and while I was away visiting my sick aunt right before Christmas, he went so far as to bring another woman into our home in our bed. Of course he lied when I confronted him about it. The lie he told was even more pathetic. I guess you're wondering how did I find out. Well, I always clean the house and put fresh linen on the bed before I leave to go out-of-town. My bedsheets had a particular pattern and I knew the run in the pattern was facing the headboard of the bed and when I returned I noticed the pattern was facing the foot of the bed. To tell you more, I had the strongest feeling that something was going to happen before I left like I had never had before. My spirit led me to put things away in the closet and even warned me about putting hidden cameras in the bedroom, which I didn't have time to go out and purchase…but that intuition was kicking 100 in my mind. So when I noticed the sheets had been removed I calmly asked him who did he entertain in the bedroom while I was gone. This was a time to come on with a better lie…but the lie he told was even more pathetic. He said his male friend (who happens to be single and have his own house) and his lady friend was ridding out in the area and she wanted to stop and see our house. He was in the bed when they rang the doorbell, so he got up let them in and walked on back to the bedroom. Now picture this, I have a huge great room with a tv, instead of stopping in the great room to entertain them he walks back to the bedroom. They were just sitting around talking in our bedroom. He got sleepy and went to one of our children's room and left the two in OUR bedroom talking and watching TV. He changed the sheets the next day because he didn't know if they had actually had sex in OUR bed. Remember this is his male friend with a female. You know, I was just stunned by this stupid pathetic excuse. I really couldn't get that mad because I truly saw this lying lowdown cheating person for who he truly was. This was who he is and will always be. I saw him as a person with no self respect, no respect for me or his two daughters…just literally doesn't care about anyone. He is a user and abuser (not physically, but emotional and financial). I knew that I didn't love this man at that moment and would never love or trust him again. I didn't leave at that moment because I had so much invested financially and I knew the lawyers in this small town didn't give a crap about either one of us, just only wanted our money. I had to start forming a plan to get out of debt myself because he wasn't going to help me or support the children, so I lived in a loveless marriage until the last child graduated about 3 years ago. He has female friends that are not mutual, he bakes for them and take them pies. I had to detach myself totally from this man, mind, body and spirit…but it has been a living nightmare just waiting to move on because I was stuck financially and had no support system to help me out. I still live in the same house because my name is on the mortgage and he is authorized to make payments until he refinances the house into his name, but of course his credit isn't up to standards and I'm sure he would destroy the house before he sells it. I had to file Chapter 13 to clear my debts in five years that he refused to help me pay after he had used my charge cards long before and to help him pay off one of his business accounts. I worked hard to help him build a business that he claimed never profited. I really have a story to tell! I have five more months and my Chapter 13 will be paid off and I can exhale and move on. Then I can make arrangements from afar about putting the house on the market. I don't want anything from the house nor the house. If I'm going to start over with a brand new look, walk, talk, etc. I don't want anything old to remind me of a big mistake I made twenty years ago. Also, he is an extremely jealous person…He was always jealous of my relationship with our daughters, with the dog, with my co-workers, my family, just anyone. A true sign of an obsessive, control freak with no self-esteem.
Enjoyed your post.
"Mistake #1 – Visualizing The Details and Playing It Over And Over Again"
Denise, you're better than me. I have no control over the crazy thoughts and images that steadily filter across that movie screen in my mind.
I'm not specifically referring to infidelity but just in general.
As a writer, this active, unbridled imagination is my life's blood. If I were dealing with an affair by my lady, I also think it's the thing that would truly drive shuffling, stuttering and blubbering into the mental hospital.
And yes, I'd be replaying everything I did wrong, every thing she did wrong–which probably makes sense.
But I'd also torment myself with the dirty details of her lascivious, extra-marital hanky-panky: Where? When? What position? How often? For what duration?
My recent post Will Dream Dude Change After Marriage?
I am trying but it is so hard. Majority of the time I just rather let go and move on with my life alone.
A tremendous explanation the challenges streaming fromm infidelity