Infidelity in a marriage is destructive to both spouses in a marriage. The stress of lying and cheating and having a love affair with someone other than your spouse is very detrimental. It impacts a person’s mind, body and spirit. Here are 5 Steps on How to End an Affair and Reconcile a Marriage.
When a person is negatively convicted by the affair and recognizes that staying in the marriage is the choice that they want to make, ending the other relationship can be difficult to say the least. At this point, being honest about one’s thoughts and feelings is the first step. The cheating spouse will go through many emotions that will be conflicting and confusing. They will need to mourn the loss of the relationship as well as the marriage as they once knew it. Below are some steps that a person will need to take to begin the process.
- Tell the mister or mistress that the affair is over.
- All contact must end; including phone numbers, e-mail accounts, facebook, twitter and other ways of communication will be terminated. The access has to be erased or the urge to contact each other will be too tempting. If this is not done, then it will lead to a prolonging of the relationship, fighting and unnecessary aggravation, especially if one does not respect the other’s desire to end the affair.
- Apologize to the mister or mistress for your behavior and any hurt that your behavior may have caused.
- Mourn the loss of the relationship, as insignificant or significant as it may have been life as you have known it for a short or long period of time will be different now.
- Meet with a psychologist to work through and process any thoughts and feelings associated with the affair in order not to bring them into the marriage.
If the decision is to save the marriage, this is where the next phase of healing will begin. Infidelity can bring out the worse in the scorned spouse, especially if there were insecurities individually and/or in the marriage prior to the affair. The cheated on spouse will try to reason and figure out why and what they did to cause the affair. The ego and pride is very damaged and can lead to significant acting out behaviors, endless questioning and verbal and/or physical abuse. The cheated on spouse will feel justified and want to hurt their spouse as much as they were hurt. This is not a time to move forward. This type of behavior will call for a separation and boundary setting in order for both spouses to sort things through, gain clarity and find the right motive for saving the marriage. Right motives for saving the marriage would be because you love the person and want to learn how to trust and respect again. If both spouses are willing to proceed, below are some steps to begin the process.
- Meet with a psychologist to set the rules, roles, limits and boundaries within the relationship. This is a time to listen, learn and take guidance and direction. The opportunity to hit the reset button and renew and rejuvenate the marriage will be given to the couple.
- Forgiveness is the most important step of all. When I say forgiveness, I am referring to true and honest forgiveness which means the event is never talked about or referred to unless used as a reference to promote healing and learning. True forgiveness means forgetting. All memories of the traumatic time and events have to be given permission to fade into the past where they belong. This step sometimes can be time consuming if one is unwilling to let go of the hurt. It involves identifying specific resentments and hurts, processing the feelings and letting them go as well as the memory of the event. If the memory is triggered in the future, then it is recommended to remind yourself that you forgave that offense and change the thinking pattern. I usually encourage couples to do a study on forgiveness to truly understand the concept in order to apply it. Many people believe that they know what forgiveness is, however it is only understood at a basic level that usually is ineffective when such hurt and disappointment has occurred.
- Learning to love again is the next step. Again many people believe they know what love is, however, we do not walk in love and treat each other with love on a daily basis, which may be one of the reasons that lead to the affair. This step is twofold. First the individuals in the marriage need to learn to love themselves then we can learn to love each other. A study on love is the next assignment. I encourage the couple to seek all information they can on love. I like the basic principles that sound simple, however are more difficult to apply. Love is patient, love is kind, slow to anger, quick to forgive, understanding, tolerant, believes the best in others, gives the benefit of the doubt, covers each others’ wrongs, always trusts, always respects and never fails. If the couple can embrace and apply these few concepts and act accordingly, the relationship will heal and mature to a whole new level.
- Teach each other how you want to be loved. Define and envision what the marriage will look like in 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Having specific goals and vision will give hope and expectancy. Use your words; do not hold back with your thoughts, feelings and ideas as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is your opportunity to create the marriage that you want.
- Spend time together daily. At least 30 minutes talking, feeling and working on the assignments above. The more time and energy invested in the marriage the greater the return. A marriage cannot run itself as we are constantly growing and changing individually and we have to allow our marriage to do the same. If the couple has faith, invite God into the marriage and pray together daily. A faith based marriage will replace the old fear based marriage as well as assist greatly in steps 2 and 3 above.
This process of overcoming an affair is not easy and will take time to heal, refresh and renew. However, nothing good comes easy. Marriage is a contract and a commitment that is well worth the efforts. Attaining a satisfying and fulfilling marriage is blissful.
“Tough times never last, tough people do”
Dr. Charles Stanley
I enjoy having the opportunity to watch people grow and change by reducing symptoms, improving relationships, reaching goals and overcoming addictions in order to become your best self. I utilize a practical mind, body and spirit approach to learn how to balance your life, to think more clearly and react less emotionally. I believe when we are overly emotional we do things that we should not do and say things that we should not say. If we change the way we think, we will change the way we feel.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”