A betrayal can cause the couple involved to reevaluate their marriage, including addressing some of the problems in their marriage that existed prior to the betrayal. In order to get a marriage back on track after a betrayal, the couple has to dismiss the notion of a quick fix and be committed to an ongoing process. In fact, some 50 percent of couples seek therapy for issues related to infidelity.
1. Letting Go
It has been said that letting go of the past is easier said than done -- but it is critical to put the past behind you and move on. As part of treatment and recovery, all contact with the affair partner needs to cease, suggests Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D., in a brochure on infidelity from the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy. Individuals involved in a betrayal other than infidelity -- such as a gambling addiction, should follow suit: cut off ties to the source of your problems. By doing this, both parties can begin working on the relationship without interference from outside temptation.
2. Taking Responsibility
After a betrayal, couples need to take responsibility for their actions. Both parties may try to blame the other, but it is important to reflect on each individual's actions. While infidelity may be the result of issues within the marriage, within that person, or for other reasons, each party should reflect on his actions before and after learning about the betrayal. It is important for both parties to take some responsibility for what has transpired during their marriage to build trust and ultimately move on, suggests Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., for the Greater Good Science Center.
To move on, the couple must allow the healing process to occur. Reflecting on painful memories can be part of the healing process, states Steven Stosny, Ph.D., in his Psychology Today article on recovering after an intimate betrayal. He states that these memories keep individuals safe in the present and provide motivation to heal and create new value. Rather than dwelling on the damage, focus on healing and creating a bright future. Use the pain from the past to help create the marriage you want for the future.
4. Finding Signs
If you are not making progress with your partner, seek help in the form of counseling advises Coleman. A counselor can help you tackle the tough issues and questions that you and your partner may not be equipped to handle on your own. Look for positive signs as well. Glass notes that if you realize that you and your partner focus more on each other, share the responsibility for changing, communicate effectively, and have rebuilt trust, then you are well on your way toward rebuilding your marriage.
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