I read a piece in Sunday Life magazine called “Beloved Infidel”, where one woman took what was arguably the more difficult road after her husband had an affair – she took him back.
This inspired me as a relationship therapist.
In the article, she had a good marriage, happy with laughter, children, good jobs and a nice home.
I used to naively believe many moons ago that affairs happened only in problem marriages. Totally untrue.
Affairs happen even in the happiest of marriages. This doesn’t mean they are any less damaging because there has been a huge breach of trust and betrayal of the couples intimate relationship.
There is the shock of the discovery which I think is made more difficult in the case of the happy (or thought of) marriage. Your whole world has been turned upside down and your relationship is in crisis from this point on.
As in the case of any major disaster, whether natural or otherwise, I advocate making no huge decisions until the dust settles and you are clearer.
Your emotions, the whole roller coaster ride are normal and natural changing minute by minute, ride them out and let reason come to the surface.
There may be a part that hates your husband or wife for their infidelity in stepping outside the relationship. This is likely to be the part that says “once a cheater always a cheater, there’s no hope“. There may be a part that still has a flicker of hope when it sees their partner genuinely remorseful and desperate to rebuild, repair and own the breach of faith.
The author decided in her own time she and her husband could work through this – making the pain of this hurt to mean something.
Some of her friends were surprised she didn’t file for divorce immediately. Others gave opinions about leaving from a hypothetical stance – “a leopard never changes his spots” and “I’d pack his bags and change the locks.”
Prior to the affair she would have said similar things, “but the fact is until it happens to you, you really don’t know how you will react.”
The toughest bit is riding out the first few months of heart ache and pain.
I encourage people to hang in there, it gets easier with time.
People tend to forget divorce is also painful and brings with it just as many issues as dealing with an affair.
The Australian Institute of of Families found a whopping 46% of divorced couples regret their divorce.
It takes great deal of strength and courage to take the difficult road and stay but many couples do go on to recover and discover a deeper more intimate loving bond from this relationship rupture.