How to handle infidelity in marriage – The French Relationship Expert
Over time, infidelity in marriage has unfortunately become more and more common and if you’re reading this article right now, chances are that you’ve been affected by it as well. Finding out that the person you love has been unfaithful to you can be a devastating shock, but does it mean that your marriage is over for good? Should you stay and try to heal from this or should you move on? Is there anything you can do to have a solid marriage again? How can you guard against experiencing infidelity again in the future?
In this article, I will provide the answer to these questions and I’ll share some tools with you for bouncing back from infidelity in your marriage, whether or not you decide to break up. It’s going to be a long and challenging process, but I am here to help you to get to the other side. All hope is not lost and all you’ve got to do is stick to the Do’s and Don’ts that you’re about to discover right here!
What is the main cause of infidelity and can you avoid it?
As we start things off, I want to dive into the biggest question that people in this situation ask: Why it happened?
There have been many research studies on the topic that explore our human nature, and whether there are factors that would make one person more likely to have an affair than another. There have also been studies that explore whether certain personality traits can predict if a person is more or less likely to cheat. For example, this Good Therapy article explores the correlation between infidelity and attachment style, explaining that studies have shown that “avoidant attachment was related to more positive attitudes toward cheating on a current relationship partner, having an attentional bias toward alternatives, and engaging in more infidelity.” In other words, four studies showed that people, mainly men, who could be classified as avoidants were more likely to cheat or have an affair.
But why does it sometimes happen in a couple where the partner in question doesn’t have this attachment style (which, by the way, is the majority of the cases I see)?
The interesting thing is that more often than not, the affair is not actually about the “other woman/man.” In a PsyPost article, researchers Jana Hackathorn and Brien K. Ashdown dove into the emotional and sexual motivators for infidelity.
“One of the things that we found to be most prevalent in the data was that the secondary partner (or ‘the other woman/man’) was not as big of an influence or motivation to cheat as the ‘real world’ might lead us to believe. The biggest influence/motivation to cheat was dissatisfaction in the primary relationship, especially for males.”
As you can see, there are multiple factors at play in the reasons behind a partner’s infidelity. It is going to be up to you to take a close look at the details of your marriage while factoring in these common issues so that you can really zero in on the root of the problem.
Some people think cheating only happens when a person doesn’t feel love or attraction to their partner anymore, but this is not the only reason. In fact, there are many reasons why people cheat, and finding out why it happened in your marriage is going to be the key to overcoming it or ensuring you don’t experience this in a future marriage.
Let’s start by exploring the answer to what is infidelity. As each person is entirely unique, you’ll find that everyone has a different definition of the term. What is your opinion on the subject? Don’t hesitate to leave your comment below!
Do you feel that flirting is cheating? What about kissing? Looking at over 18 websites? Or is it only when someone sleeps with another person? You might be surprised to find that some of your friends don’t share the same opinions as you do! And then there’s physical cheating versus emotional cheating. Sometimes your partner can begin to fall for a colleague but it doesn’t go further than continual flirtation. Do you feel that that is considered as being unfaithful?
I can’t give you black and white answers on the subject because it depends on your perception, but I can tell you that when a partner betrays your trust, it will be hard to earn back.
So why is there infidelity in marriage?
The most straightforward answer is simply that your partner was missing something and they didn’t feel like they could get it in the marriage. This could be an emotional connection (they didn’t feel wanted or heard) or a physical need that wasn’t being met. When routine settles in, sometimes couples end up being faced with the pain of one of them straying.
As I said above, it is very possible for someone to cheat without developing feelings for the other person, and this is especially true when it’s just about a physical need. I am not trying to justify their behavior, but perhaps this can help you to have a better understanding of why it happened.
When you enter into a serious conversation about what happened, make sure that the person at fault can express what lead them to do what they did. You need to be aware of it so that you know what solutions to find.
Infidelity: To forgive or not to forgive?
The decision of whether or not to forgive infidelity is entirely your own. It’s normal that your friends and family would share their opinions with you and chances are that they would not be very forgiving. This is a very understandable stance because they might be telling you that if it happened once, it will happen again.
That said, you are the only one who knows what you’re feeling in your heart, and whether or not you feel that giving your partner a second chance is what you want deep down.
I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what you should take into consideration…
Recovering from infidelity: I want to stay together
The fact that your partner cheated on you doesn’t mean that the love you feel for him or her just went up in flames. Sometimes love is stronger than pain and it is the main thing that pushes you to give your partner a second chance.
You can see that he or she truly regrets their actions and are willing to make things right, so you’ve decided to give it another go.
So what are things going to be like now? The main thing you need to understand is what working through infidelity is going to be challenging. You have found out about something devastating, your trust has been broken, and you’re realizing that your partner might not be the person you thought they were. You’re going to experience a period of profound doubts and insecurities, and unfortunately, a common side effect is losing confidence in yourself.
Many people think that they’re the reason behind their partner’s unfaithfulness – that they weren’t good enough. I want you to understand that you should not be blaming yourself. Yes, there are things that need to be improved about the marriage, but that doesn’t mean that you’re responsible for being cheated on!
You are also going to experience a period of suspicion and distrust, and possibly even paranoia.
Another thing to be aware of is that you’re going to want some space from your partner, and you probably won’t feel the urge to be intimate for a while.
Though all of this is to be expected, it does not mean that you won’t be able to bounce back. Believe me, I have coached hundreds of people in your shoes and you might be surprised to find that some of them ended up being grateful for having to go through this ordeal!
Want to know why? Simply because it served as an electroshock that shook their marriage back to life, without which they wouldn’t have been able to get back on track!
You both are going to have to have very honest conversations about what you want and need and work together as a team to provide long-lasting solutions.
For example, if you are now in the position of having to move past unfaithfulness in marriage because things had become monotonous, one of the best solutions is to come up with fun and exciting new things to do together as a couple. Don’t let things become boring and remind each other of the fun you used to have. Sharing enjoyable moments reestablishes the complicity between you and this is one of the most important elements of a stable relationship.
Working through infidelity in marriages or relationships is possible – you just need to make the effort.
By the way, your partner should understand your need for time and space. If he or she doesn’t, it means that they don’t grasp the severity of what they did…
I want to move on after my partner’s affair
Sometimes the damage that your partner has made is just too much and you can’t imagine staying with someone who is capable of being unfaithful or having an affair. You feel betrayed, hurt, and disrespected, and you feel that you would be better off on your own. You’d rather be with someone who is as loyal as you are, so you prefer being on your own until that special someone comes along.
Again, this is a perfectly logical response when faced with infidelity. You know what you want and deserve and you aren’t going to settle for less.
When your marriage or relationship suffered an affair, it is imperative that you take some time before you make big decisions. It’s normal to want to throw it all away when the news breaks, but it would be preferable to reflect on what you truly want while tensions ease. All too often I have seen people make decisions that they end up regretting simply because they didn’t take their time.
That said, if your gut tells you that you would rather end the marriage, that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve just got to brace yourself for a double whammy (for lack of a better term…) because not only are you going to be dealing with the pain of having your trust broken, but you will also be faced with the pain of losing your marriage.
If children are involved, you’re going to have to think about custody and the painstaking and expensive process of divorce. Rest assured, many children overcome the divorce of their parents! I’m not trying to dissuade you from leaving – I just want you to be aware of everything that it entails so that you are properly prepared.
Once you take the time to rebuild yourself and heal, you’ll be ready to get back out there. You can meet people and flirt, and you’re going to become more and more confident in your seductiveness!
Recovering from infidelity in your marriage is no walk in the park, but with patience and determination, you’re going to bounce back.
A common mistake that many people make is losing trust in all people of the opposite sex. You’ve been burned once so you assume the worst in everyone, but all that will do is isolate you… which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing right now. Now is the time to be with your loved ones and don’t cut yourself off from meeting new people. Your partner is the one that cheated – not the person who offered you a drink at the bar!
How to recover from infidelity in your marriage
The most important thing by far is taking the time to rebuild yourself before you rebuild your marriage. You’ve experienced shock and heartbreak, and the feeling can be overwhelming. Take the time to get some exercise to diffuse the effect that trauma can have on your body, and get those endorphins flowing.
You’ve got to make sure that you’re feeling good about yourself because your ego has undoubtedly taken a hit.
Spend time doing the things that bring you joy and seeing the people that make you laugh. Make sure you don’t lock yourself up and give in to the urge to sleep all day. That’s not going to help you in healing from infidelity!
I know your mind is swimming with questions like, “Can a marriage survive infidelity,” “How do couples do this?” and “Will things ever be the same again?”
Truth be told, no, things will not be the same. There will be a Before and an After, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t change for the better! Remember how I said that some couples came out from this stronger than ever? You can have exactly the same result if you put the work in. I know that it might sound unfair and you might be thinking, “But why should I put work in when I am the one that just got cheated one?!”
But relationships consist of two people; a couple, and you two should be a team. There was something that was making your marriage unfulfilling or unsatisfying, and your partner made the serious mistake of winding up in someone else’s arms instead of tackling the relationship problem with you, but you both need to work to make your marriage better than before. It’s a two-way road!
There is no doubt that what your partner did was wrong, but sitting around and being depressed about the affair for an extended period of time is not going to change things. You have the right to want space and to need time, but you’ll eventually have to get back on the horse! And don’t forget, if you need me I am here to guide you every step of the way. All you have to do is reach out to me or a member of my team here!
Find the best way to communicate with your partner about what changes you both need to make. It might prove to be helpful for both of you to write out what you’d like to work on, and then come up with solutions together. It’s going to be a tough process because you’ll both have to be vulnerable and brutally honest, but trust me. If the love and determination are there, you can get through this!
I wish you all the best during this challenging time.
All my best,
Your coach for knowing how to deal with infidelity in marriages,