How to save a marriage after cheating has to be one of the most challenging situations in any marital relationship.
Not only is the trust you have for the other destroyed, but the love and respect for your cheating spouse is severely hurt. If you were the victim, knowing that you have been cheated creates a feeling of resentment and despair, and that revenge becomes a strong option.
Still saving the marriage can be accomplished if there is still love between the spouses and if you take action immediately to solve the situation.
How to save a marriage after cheating has surfaced is the challenge that most spouses face when dealing with infidelity on either side.
If this is you case, take heart and don’t give up. Multiple studies have shown that couples which manage to overcome the pain caused by the cheating and manage to stay together often enjoy a much stronger and rewarding bond between each other.
If your goal is learning how to save a marriage after cheating, the process can be less of an ordeal with the following advice:
#1 – Be genuinely sorry and end your extra-marital affair immediately. The damage has been done and saving the marriage starts with initiating a recovery period. The unfaithful spouse needs to recognize his or her offense and this means cutting off the relationship with the lover right away and at all cost. One cannot have both.
#2 -Take a vacation or time off to cool down. Anger can be devastating in any relationship and a cooling off period can dissipate the heat, so to speak. Getting through all that angst in an offended spouse can be difficult when emotions are simply creating a barrier to communication. In many cases, spending some time apart can actually make each spouse realize the desolation that comes with separation and you end up wanting to be in each other arms again. This may take from a few days to a few weeks.
Take your time and spend it sharing your feelings with close friends who have ears to listen to your plight and support you in salvaging the marriage. If you can help it, don’t talk to people who will encourage you to file for a divorce. The most helpful friends at this time are those who will simply listen, let you do the talking, and not take sides or make vindictive assessments to fix your problem by giving unsolicited advice. Until your anger and confused emotions have subsided, any advice at this time may prove counterproductive.
#3 – Once you’ve cooled down, engage in an honest discussion with your erring spouse, but not in a confrontational manner that will only rekindle your angst. Be honest but be calm and respectful. Be guided by the fact that you still love your spouse and you want to save the marriage.
If you were the cheating spouse, this is the time to express a truly sincere apology that can convince your partner you mean what you say. If your spouse is eager to understand, explain the circumstance of your infidelity. Otherwise, just don’t bring it up. The most important thing is that your message of sincere regret gets through and you want to make up for your indiscretion.
If you were the aggrieved spouse, be more forgiving. It can be difficult, but in any relationship, any hurt can be soothe when there is genuine forgiveness. Remember that you want to salvage your marriage; but you can’t do that without forgiveness. Failure to do so easily leads to festering bitterness and vengeful thoughts that could ultimately lead to divorce. Forgiveness does not necessarily restore the trust you had with your spouse; it simply means you accept the apology of your spouse, reconcile and move forward without further straining your marriage or yourself.
#4 – Rebuild the damaged trust in the relationship. This is easier said than done, but the post-reconciliation phase demands a lot of rebuilding of the martial relationship. At the very core, there remains the bad aftertaste that the aggrieved spouse might no longer have the same trust on the other as before. The once-cheating spouse should do all possible to initiate rebuilding the trust by spending more time and sharing problems together. No more secrets. Without trust, even if you truly love each other, the relationship would be on shaky grounds where the slightest hint of infidelity can easily break the relationship.
#5 – Lastly, having a licensed marriage counselor can help the couple rebuild the marital relationship by providing the bridge to get the couple rise from the pain of infidelity and the mistrust it brings. In many cases, a dispassionate perspective from a trained third party can help identify problems and issues the couple may not readily see because of the emotions blinding them. The objective is not only to get the couple completely reconciled but to promote a healthier relationship moving forward.