Some people confront their partners as soon as they have any suspicion of an affair. But for most, coming to grips with their suspicions is a long struggle.
Unfortunately, the possibility of an affair is so frightening to most people that they either suppress their awareness of these changes or hope that they are temporary, or insignificant, or due to some problem that will just “go away.” Once you find that your spouse has in fact had an affair, you must come to grips with it.
An affair does not necessarily mean the end of your marriage, but there must be a commitment on the part of both parties to cease the affair and make the marriage work. While an affair constitutes the most devastating event for a relationship short of death, if there is a commitment from both spouses it is possible to deal with the trauma and reconcile your marriage.
Reconciliation can lead to a significantly stronger relationship where the weakness in the marriage can be dealt with so that everyone’s losses are reduced.
The depth of trauma that is caused by an affair is shattering and may take months or even years to rebuild the trust that the spouse had prior to an affair. Repairing this trauma is not an easy or quick process and requires the commitment of both parties to the marriage. If there is not a total commitment to make the marriage work, the marriage may come to an abrupt end.
If you discover your spouse has had an affair consider the following steps:
- Don’t take any action until you’ve decided what is in your best interests.
- Identify and set your goals. Act in ways that leave your options open but preserve your best interests. You need a plan to proceed cautiously and carefully without turning a serious problem into a disaster.
- Educate yourself as to your options! Consult a family law attorney. However, do not make threats to take legal action.
- Manage your anger and negative feelings. Do not let powerful emotions overwhelm you.
- Don’t drive yourself crazy asking “why?”
- Do not discuss the affair with the children.