(The following is an article from the web site: MarriageBuilders.com. The reason we are posting it as it appears in this article is to show you a portion of what’s available on this excellent web site. They are written on the issue of how to survive infidelity. Keep in mind as you read this that each title that’s bolded in capital letters is a title for another linked article. You can read them on the linked Marriage Builders web site. Plus, there’s even a “Discussion Forum” that you can use to ask questions.)
The question I am most frequently asked is “how can I survive my spouse’s affair?” After having counseled thousands of couples, I am convinced that a spouse’s unfaithfulness is the most painful experience that can be inflicted in marriage. Those I’ve counseled who have had the tragic misfortune of having experienced rape, physical abuse, sexual abuse of their children, and infidelity have consistently reported to me that their spouse’s unfaithfulness was their worst experience. To be convinced of the devastating impact of infidelity, you only need to go through it once.
And yet, more than 50% of all spouses are victims of infidelity. This means that one spouse in most marriages will suffer the greatest marital pain possible at some time. It’s no wonder that I receive so many letters from these victims of unfaithfulness.
• COPING WITH INFIDELITY, Part 1: How Do Affairs Begin?
Affairs usually begin with an attraction to someone you know fairly well. This is someone you spend time with each week. They could be your friends or co-workers. To illustrate how affairs develop, I post letters from two women. One is tempted to have an affair with her husband’s best friend. There is another whose best friend had an affair with her husband.
• COPING WITH INFIDELITY, Part 2: How Should Affairs End?
There are three parts to the way affairs should end. The first part is revealing the affair to one’s spouse, the second part is never seeing or communicating with the lover again, and the third part is getting through the symptoms of withdrawal after a permanent separation takes place. I post two letters to illustrate these three parts to how an affair should end.
• COPING WITH INFIDELITY, Part 3: Restoring the Marital Relationship:
Since an affair does not usually end the way it should, with complete separation from the lover, you may not find this column entirely relevant to you. In your case, your spouse’s lover may still be a factor, and you will want to know how to restore your marital relationship with your spouse’s lover standing in the wings. If you are in that position, I have addressed that topic in two other columns that I review below: “What to Do with an Unfaithful Husband” and “What to Do with an Unfaithful Wife.” In short, it’s hard enough to restore a martial relationship when a lover is finally out of the picture. But it’s impossible when the lover is still hanging around.
• COPING WITH INFIDELITY, Part 4: Overcoming Resentment:
You might think that after a husband and wife rebuild their love for each other after an affair, all would be forgiven. Well, all might be forgiven, but all is not forgotten. In fact, many couples find that the memory of the affair haunts them decades after it happened. I post three letters to illustrate what a problem resentment is for many people. Then I explain how to handle it so that it doesn’t ruin a successful recovery.
• FOUR RULES TO GUIDE MARITAL RECOVERY AFTER AN AFFAIR:
After the lover is finally gone and you are ready to restore love to your marriage, where should you begin? This column explains the rules I suggest for couples recovering from an affair. Technically, they are the very rules that I recommend in any marriage. This is because they guarantee mutual love when they are followed.
• WHAT TO DO WITH AN UNFAITHFUL HUSBAND:
Altogether, this column contains five letters and my responses to them. They are written by women who have recently discovered their husband’s unfaithfulness. There is some redundancy in the questions and answers. But if you have suffered from your husband’s infidelity, you will want to gain from the experience of as many other people as possible.
• WHAT TO DO WITH AN UNFAITHFUL WIFE:
As with the unfaithful husband column, here are five letters from husbands. My responses to them, are posted.
• ESCAPING THE JAWS OF INFIDELITY: How to Avoid An Affair:
There are many of you who are having an affair. But now they want to know how to get out of it in one piece. And then there are even more who want to know how to avoid it in the first place. In this column I post letters from two women who are having affairs. They want out of the mess they’ve created. I also address the issue of avoiding the mess in the first place. This can happen by protecting your spouse from your unfaithful predisposition.
We all have it, you know — a predisposition to be unfaithful. Given certain conditions, we can all have affairs. We will then destroy the happiness of our spouse, our children, our extended families, our lover, and ourselves. Those conditions should be avoided at all costs, don’t you think?
• THE LOVER’S PERSPECTIVE ON INFIDELITY:
The spouses of those who have affairs are not the only victims of infidelity. The lovers can also be victims. This column addresses the anguish experienced by women who present the lover’s perspective.
• HOW CAN I RECOVER MY SEXUAL DESIRE FOR MY HUSBAND AFTER MY AFFAIR?
A column somewhat related to the lover’s perspective, this column treats the issue of sexual recovery for the one who had the affair. The other issue is that this one now wants to restore passion to her marriage.
• INFIDELITY ON THE INTERNET:
I receive an alarming number of letters each week by those whose spouses have fallen in love with someone on the internet. This form of infidelity is particularly common among those who have become addicted to internet communication. You know who you are. If your spouse wants you to leave the computer and come to bed, and you say, “just a minute,” you’re one of them.
• WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU (or Your Spouse) BECOMES PREGNANT WITH A LOVER’S CHILD:
Infidelity has tragic consequences. Not only does unfaithfulness itself cause untold emotional suffering for a victimized spouse, but affairs create a host of other problems, too. One example of these problems is venereal disease. When an unfaithful spouse is infected, the disease is usually passed on to the unsuspecting marriage partner. Another example is the topic of this Q&A column. It concerns the pregnancy with a lover’s child. This column considers the choices these women face. And I write what I recommend. Their husbands also have hard choices to make, and my advice is for them, too.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: Surviving Infidelity
6 responses to “How To Survive Infidelity”
(NIGERIA) I AM JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE AFTER I FOUND OUT MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN CHEATING ON ME FOR YEARS. I’VE READ YOUR WRITE UP AND MY QUESTION IS, HOW DO YOU KNOW HE HAS ENDED THE AFFAIR? HE HAS NOT ADMITTED TO THE AFFAIR IN THE FIRST PLACE. WHERE I COME FROM, MEN NEVER ADMIT TO AFFAIRS EVEN WHEN YOU CATCH THEM IN THE ACT OF LOVEMAKING.
(USA) Women are no different here. My wife has been having an affair for several months now and is still professing her innocence, though I have caught her in several lies. Her focus is to protect our three grown children from ever finding out. It has been a death sentence to our marriage. She even avoided being with us on more than one occassion, so she could be with him.
(USA) Relationship is a two way commitment between partners. In a relationship, there are many trials and challenges to face. One of it is some misunderstandings. The most important thing to do is to hold on and be patient. Do not let your pride over power you. There are so many ways that can make a relationship work good. I’ve been through this. Thanks, Jessica
(USA) There is no honor amongst thieves. The thievery is the spouse giving to another what should be reserved for their spouse. The adulterous relationship can never be forgotten, and in many cases, never ending. Especially, if there was love. Myself, I work on forgiveness. My only hope is God.
Please reply to this! My husband cheated on me but now is not cheating. He says his lover is right in our church. Now the memories of his cheating are back and now he is swearing at me afbout my past teenage affair making it as if it exists now, running away from his reality. He is abusing me now physically and emotionally . How can I stay in this marriage? We have been married for 34 years and in all these years he has been unfaithful having too many relationships as he boasting when swearing and is calling me names; bad names. He wants me to admit that he is perfect I am the one that causes him to cheat.
He did take advantage of me as he claims that he married me out of shame having no belonging. I started our home out of nothing but all the time blaming me for the downfalls. I never had cursing going along with him before now that he had started the courtship saying he is old and he is with me. When his lover came to the church I developed that anger and he can’t accept why I am like that now. He is the one who is aggressive, especially now that people are starting to talk as the lady is boasting that I left the church and I am the one he is swearing at and humiliating me making his mistress an angel speaking nice things about her and about how they usually love each other, talking and swear about our fightings from other past relationships claiming it was just a mistake to marry me with my background.
Hi Nomakhaya, I am extremely sorry to hear this from you… and I am happy you came to this site. To be honest, from your comments, my impression is that your husband has been cheating for years and continues to do so. Physical and emotional abuse are never OK… under any circumstances! One person never “causes another to cheat.” The person cheating makes this decision on his or her own.
Your question, “How can I stay in this marriage?” would be met with my question, “How have you already stayed in this marriage for so long?” 34 years is remarkable under the conditions you describe! (I am a Christian man married to my wife now for 36 years.) May I ask, is your marriage an “arranged marriage?” or did your husband (in your words) marry you “out of shame” for another reason? If he married you “out of shame, “may I ask why did you marry him? Did you have a time period in these 34 years in which you feel your marriage was going well? or do you really mean what you say, with “in ALL these years he has been unfaithful having too many relationships… and is calling me names….”
If this has been the state of things for ALL 34 years, then my question here would be, “why have you put up with this for so long?” Cultural reasons? financial perhaps? Both of these are very difficult to deal with… I can understand that. Anyway, a little more information would be helpful to understand better exactly where you are.
I hope you read my text Nomakhaya…. All on this site would be more than happy to support you…. Hope to hear from you, WP (Work in Progress)