“My spouse cheated, is my marriage over?” Dr. Fillmore answers
Many of you have told us that you’ve been impacted by some sort of infidelity and you reached out to us at StrongMarriageNow.com to ask for help. On our webinar, “5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage.” Dr. Fillmore addressed that very concern.
The most common questions you asked about affairs were: “Is my marriage over?” “What can I do to save my marriage?” and you asked lots of questions about inappropriate “friendships.” Got another question, Ask us by commenting below or contact us directly!
Here are the answers to your questions:
“My spouse cheated, Is my marriage over?” “What can I do to save my marriage?”
Well, this one’s complicated, but interestingly, a marriage can not only be saved after an affair but it can actually get a lot better with some work. I don’t want to minimize how painful the betrayal and loss of trust caused by an affair can be. And it happens to a lot of marriages, in fact 50% of marriages are impacted by some sort of infidelity at some point in the marriage. But if the couple decides to stay together and work on it, finding out why their relationship was vulnerable in the first place and then fixing it can actually lead to a stronger, happier marriage. If you find you’re in this situation and you’re not sure what to do, I recommend following six steps to save your marriage.
- Understand that it’s about meeting each other’s emotional needs. Research shows that 95% of affairs are caused by one or both parties feeling as if they are not understood, appreciated and/or loved. It’s not actually about the sex. Affairs are about feeling connected, wanted and meeting core emotional needs. One or both members of the couple need to stop getting these needs met outside the marriage and instead rely on each other to meet them.
- You have to stop the infidelity in order to move forward with the marriage. The partner that had the indiscretion must stop having anything to do with the person that they’re seeing outside the marriage. The type of contact that must stop includes face-to-face meetings, email, phone, Facebook, chat or anything else. You can only move forward in the marriage if the affair is totally in the past and stays there.
- Both members of the couple must accept some responsibility. This is a hard one for people. But, both members of the couple must recognize that they are both responsible for the state of their marriage. When the marriage has significant issues, it is vulnerable to an affair. Please note, those of you who have not been impacted by an affair yet. Let me repeat, any marriage that has significant problems is vulnerable to an affair. Accepting some of the responsibility is typically extremely difficult for the injured party to understand but is essential in order to move forward. One of you may have stepped over the line but because both of you were not connecting and meeting each other’s needs, the marriage was vulnerable.
- Give the injured party time to heal. The injured party will need time to recover from the hurt and lack of trust that the infidelity caused and the partner that engaged in the affair needs to be generous with the time it takes to recover. Trust must be earned back. The goal of the injured party needs to be to forgive.
- Understand that your marriage will never be the same. But that’s a good thing because the state of the marriage caused this situation that led to the infidelity. You need to work together to create a new and better marriage and future. Like I said before, there are many marriages that end up much stronger after an affair because the couple knows how incredibly important it is to stay connected, supporting each other and strong together.
- Learn relationship skills to build a new strong marriage. Being in a successful marriage is a learned skill that many of us never learned from the role models around us. The good news is that the skills that make a strong relationship can be learned and that’s exactly what we dedicate ourselves to at StrongMarriageNow.com.
Bottom line, if you’re in this situation, you have to ask, can both of you commit to these steps? If so, there is hope to save your marriage. And again, if you have kids, I hope that you can both find it in your hearts to do the work.
But in answer to the original question “Is a marriage over after an affair?” Absolutley not, a marriage can be saved after an affair if you both commit to forgive, get the education you need, and to work on the marriage. In fact, it can even be a heck of a lot better.
I’m uncomfortable with some of my partner’s “friendships.” Am I over-reacting?
Many people find themselves in this situation. Some of you have said “My husband spends a lot of time with another woman.” “My wife is really close with her male co-worker.” “They say they’re just friends, but I’m worried.”
If you find find yourself in this situation, the answer is: when you are married you should never be close friends with someone of the opposite sex who is not just as close to your spouse. The reason this matters we covered above is that most affairs start because emotional needs aren’t being met in the marriage. So if a spouse is going to another person to get their emotional needs met, it’s very difficult to get those needs met in the marriage. This behavior can put your marriage in extreme jeopardy.
Be very careful with these situations and do your best to nip the relationships in the bud before things get out of control.
Hope you found the answers to these questions helpful. If you would like to have any of your questions on the next webinar sign up today for our upcoming “5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage” Webinar.
"5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage"Feeling stuck? Want to save your marriage but aren't sure how? Register for our FREE "5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage" Webinar and you'll discover:
- The answer to "Can my marriage be saved?" Dr. Dana Fillmore will tell you how almost any marriage can be saved even if you’re the only one working on it
- 4 Relationship Myths that are probably getting in your way – Believing in these myths can actually prevent you from saving your marriage
- How to avoid common mistakes you may be making in your marriage. Did you know that most people’s attempts to save their marriage fail?
- The most important thing you need to do to save your marriage – And you’ll be surprised it’s practical and easy to apply for almost everyone
- Clear, straightforward steps that you can take immediately to get your marriage on track
If you’d like to learn Marriage Success Skills to save your marriage and join the thousands who have come back from the brink, check out the StrongMarriageNow System.
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart,StrongMarriageNow.com