(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As with the unfaithful husband column, here are five letters from husbands. My responses to them, are posted.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Surviving Infidelity