Rebuilding Trust After an Affair
Dear Fearless Love,
My husband and I have been married for 16 years and we’re in our early 50’s. In March, I found out he had an affair. He told me it is the only time it happened during our marriage. On numerous occasions I asked him to stop all contact and he assured me he would, but I found out otherwise. He did not stop emailing/texting and phoning her and finally I moved out in May. We have recently decided to rebuild our marriage and he told me he is not seeing her but is only texting/emailing. I have told him I cannot go forward while he remains in contact and he can’t explain why he continues to do so other than he is trying to back away from her slowly because of the feelings he developed for her. In our last communication he said he’s not talking, messaging or texting anyone but me. I am looking for some direction. I find it very difficult to talk openly without getting very emotional. What can I do to move forward?
Healing from betrayal takes time and commitment. If your spouse has stopped all communication and is ready to recommit to you and the marriage, the following will assist in restoring your relationship:
1. Commit to healing. Each partner must make a decision to heal and create space for forgiveness.
2. Commit to place your marriage first. Establish emotional safety parameters, which means you must be able to hear one another without judgment.
3. The unfaithful partner is accountable to the faithful spouse in restoring the trust – granting access to emails, phone, passwords, etc. This includes changing unsupportive friends and becoming open and honest.
Understand what led to the affair. Take into account the events that occurred in the relationship contributing to the break in intimacy leading to the affair. What were the things that happened or didn’t happen — how did you not support or nourish each other?
4. Commit to effective communication. Reframe from blaming. Acknowledge and validate one another.
Reestablish a friendship. Take genuine interest in your partner’s hopes and dreams as well as their ideas for fun.
5.Design an intentional marriage. Create a marriage vision listing the desires of your ideal relationship. Establish agreements that protect your love.
An affair does not need to end in divorce. It can create an opportunity to reclaim and redefine your marriage. Seeking support from a relationship coach or marriage counselor will help you move through this season of rebuilding to create a stronger marriage.