Surviving an affair

by Rod Smith

How much information a couple should discuss after an affair has been disclosed if and when the couple decides to stay married and work things through?

I would rather respond with several broad post-affair principles:

Infidelity is often a lethal blow to any marriage.

The couple who remains married post-affair deserves all support possible and no “outside judgement.” The couple will experience fragility, nervousness, expressions of lack of mutual trust, and moments of regression even after claiming to have forgiven.

One may want to “move on” and the other will want to examine and understand the past. Sometimes they will shift positions. 

Recovery is a process, a long process, not an event. 

The man or woman who wants to “remain friends” with the “other party” is not ready for the affair to end. In the past I have suggested the betrayed spouse confront the “other party” but I have come to see that this is not always wise. It can unnecessarily exacerbate hurt and often serve no useful purpose. 

I advise betrayed men and women not ask questions if the truth will be unbearable. It takes remarkable resilience to ”live with” and to forgive if too much detail and information has been shared. Too much information can send the betrayed person on extended and unhelpful wild goose chases.

Is it possible to survive an affair?

Yes, I have seen it many, many times.

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