Extra marital affairs can be devastating to any marriage. They are special kinds of wounds to the heart that many people find difficult to heal. Infidelity in a marriage, whether they be emotional affairs or sexual affairs or both, create feelings of inadequacy, guilt and shame. Once a couple takes the decision to move forward though, it is easy to make common mistakes that stop or slow the healing process. In this post, you will learn about 10 common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity.
Can a couple reconcile after infidelity?
Perhaps it is worth it to first consider whether a couple can even reconcile after infidelity has taken place. The answer is that it depends on the couple in question. Some of the important things to consider are:
- How badly do you both want to make this work?
- Have you been happy together in the past?
- What brought you together in the first place?
- Are you both prepared to do whatever it takes to make this work?
- Have you both understood what caused the infidelity to happen?
7 Questions to ask your unfaithful spouse
In trying to answer these important questions, it would be useful to ask your unfaithful spouse the following (at least as a starting point):
- When is the last time that you remember being the happiest with me?
- Do you feel any guilt or shame about being unfaithful?
- What did you do with this other person that you never did with me?
- Do you feel like you can be completely honest with me? If not, why not?
- Do/did you see a future with this other person?
- What part (if any) do you believe I had to play in your infidelity?
- What do you believe we need to change in our marriage in order to move forward?
These questions should help you to come to a good understanding of why the infidelity took place and may even give you some idea of how to move forward. However, once you both decide to reconcile, you must try to avoid making these common marriage reconciliation mistakes.
10 common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity
Whether it is 1 year after infidelity or 3 years after infidelity, there are surefire ways in which you can make reconciliation almost impossible.
What should you not do after infidelity?
- Lying. Trust has already been broken. Do not make the situation worse by continuing to lie. For example, do not lie about feeling confidence and faith in your spouse quickly if it is not true. Openness and honesty is key right now. Similarly, you might be able to tell if your husband is still lying after the affair. You should remind your spouse that the truth in every area of your relationship, whether big or small, is what you need in order to bring healing in the long term.
- Using your children as an excuse. Using your kids as an excuse to avoid important conversations or to avoid any conversations at all is not unusual. It is easy to let taking care of the kids consume a marriage even without trying. If you do try hard enough, you can completely avoid much interaction with each other when you should be getting to know each other all over again at this crucial time.
- Defensiveness. Unfaithful partners may become defensive and feel attacked by anything that their spouse says to them. This kind of response makes communication between any couple difficult but even more so when there has been infidelity and communication is all the more important.
- Playing the blame game. As the betrayed spouse, it is absolutely normal for you to put the blame for the difficulty in your marriage on your partner. However, if you have discussed things properly between the two of you and you have done some amount of soul searching, you will either have found some reason on your part why the infidelity occurred or you would have decided to move on regardless of the infidelity. Either way, once you have figured out the reason(s) for the infidelity taking place, there is no reason to continuously place blame.
- Pretending nothing happened. Big mistake. Of all the mistakes to avoid, this is probably one of the biggest. Pretending that all is well and glossing over the infidelity leads to holding on to resentment which will, at some point in the future, come out. How can you work through problems if you do not talk about them or if you pretend that they do not exist?
- Using sex as avoidance. This is another way that married couples can avoid the hard work of ignoring the problem. It is definitely one of the most common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid after infidelity. Sex does not heal emotional wounds and it should not be used as a crutch in a troubled marriage.
- Bringing up the infidelity at every turn. The pain of infidelity never goes away, of course. However, doing the work when trying to reconcile means that you might be able to overcome that pain by falling in love all over again. Continuing to bring up your spouse’s failings will not allow for smooth communication between you. This is certainly one of those important mistakes to avoid.
- Turning to social media. Social media has unfortunately become the reason for the breakdown of many relationships in recent times. One of the problems with social media is its misuse and how people run to it to speak with not just friends but also strangers about the things going on in their lives. Discussing your spouse’s infidelity when you are supposed to be reconciling is a definite stumbling block in moving forward with your marriage. This is because you will be inviting all sorts of opinions into your mind and all kinds of influences into your marriage.
- Talking to everyone else. Following on from the previous point about social media, in the same vein, if you have taken the decision to reconcile after experiencing infidelity, do not assume that everyone in your life will think you have made the right decision. You will have to be independent-minded enough to listen to a trusted few and listen to your gut even more. Talking to many different people about your decision will only lead to confusion.
- Trying to get even. Two wrongs do not make a right. You will only be making more work for yourself if you try to get even with your spouse by intentionally doing something to hurt them as badly as they hurt you.
Surviving an affair is very hard work. One that could continue for the rest of your lives together. While affairs hurt, trust can be rebuilt. You might want to consult with a relationship expert or marriage counsellor if you find that you do not know what steps to take to do it on your own.