If there’s been an affair…
There are two popular, but incorrect myths about affairs:
Myth 1- An affair marks the end of the marriage. The parties should divorce quickly and “build a new life”. This fails to take into account the power of forgiveness and healing.
Myth 2- Affairs are very common these days so don’t take it too seriously. Try to start over again, “dating” and getting reacquainted. This is like saying “cancer is common, so don’t take it too seriously”!
Friends, family and even counselors tend to make these false assumptions.
True, an affair is devastating. It is difficult to overstate the pain it causes. It kills trust and creates overwhelming emotions. It is extremely difficult to heal following an affair, but it is not impossible.
If your partner has an affair:
- Take your time deciding what you want
- Read books
- Talk to trusted friends who can be objective
- If you are a person of faith, pray
- Find a good counselor who neither over or underestimates an affair
Book- The Monogamy Myth- by Peggy Vaughan
Website: www.vaughan-vaughan.com- offers “BAN” Beyond Affairs Network with a wealth of information and a secure bulletin board.
Telephone counseling: Steven Harley, M.S. (credentialed counselor) Specializing in affairs- (651) 639-1639
If you have had an affair and want to reconcile:
- Cut off the affair/ relationship completely
- Take full responsibility for the affair (no excuses)
- Apologize from the heart; acknowledging that receiving your spouse’s forgiveness would be a gift. You have no “right” to expect it.
- Be totally open & honest in answering your partner’s questions about when, where and how many times you hid it, etc. This may be painful but it’s the only way to move beyond it.
- Listen, Listen, Listen to your spouse’s pain, anger, mistrust, etc. acknowledging your part in causing it.
- Be patient. Pushing your partner to heal is denying the magnitude of the pain they feel.
- If you are a person of faith, pray.
- Find a good counselor with expertise in marriage and affairs. One who will be realistic and not fall into either false assumption.
There are no guarantees that a particular marriage can be healed of an affair. It takes courage, honesty, forgiveness and humility. It cannot be rushed or faked but couples have recovered from affairs and gone on to have even stronger marriages.