You will always remember the moment when you discovered that your husband was in love with another woman. The feelings of anger, sadness and disbelief made your heart break with anguish. The impact of an emotional affair can devastate a marriage. Although the innocence of your marriage may be lost, your marriage need not be. It is possible to rebuild and connect to your husband in a deep and meaningful way. However, it will take time, dedication and emotional strength.
1. Commit to Rebuild
In order to rebuild a marriage after an emotional affair, you both must be committed to the process. Your husband must cut his ties to the other woman. In "12 Ways to Recover from an Emotional Affair," associate editor for Psych Central Therese Borchard writes, "you can’t build and nurture a true partnership if you’re spreading intimacy over too many places." Although your husband must be willing to let her go if he hopes to reestablish his commitment to you, you also need to be willing to navigate the difficult waters of healing for the marriage to survive.
2. The Need for Disclosure and Transparency
After you commit to moving forward as a couple, the next step in healing involves the twofold process of disclosure and transparency. You deserve to know the truth of your husband's engagement with the other woman before you can fully grieve and decide to trust again. Susie and Otto Collins, authors of "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" argue "it’s never wise to make that leap of faith without being fully aware of what’s true now in your relationship." Following disclosure, you need to be certain of continued transparency. If the affair involved lying, transparency is particularly crucial in the rebuilding of trust.
3. Make Space for Grief
Once you and your husband agree to move forward in your marriage, it's vital for both of you to grieve. There is much loss to process because the innocence of the marriage is lost. You cannot erase the betrayal of your heart. Your husband will need to grieve the loss of his other love. You will need to grieve the loss of your husband's love and possibly his honesty. Make space for grief. Give yourself time to be alone, possibly for days. Go for long walks, write, meditate and allow yourself space for tears to be shed.
4. Seek Support
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy notes that after the discovery of infidelity, "intense emotions and recurrent crises are the norm." This is true for both sexual and emotional affairs. However, many therapists have observed that marriages may "become stronger and more intimate" following therapy. With the help of a trained and talented therapist, you can unravel negative patterns in communication and learn strategies for rebuilding trust. You do not need to handle the pain of discovering your husband was in love with another woman alone. Seek support and guidance during this vulnerable time. You deserve it.
- Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship; M. Gary Neuman
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