Does an Affair Mean You Should Divorce?
Feeling enormous pain, shame, anger, and hurt when you are betrayed by your spouse’s having an affair leads commonly to feeling you want to divorce. Is this the best reaction to follow? Is it what’s best for you? Is it what’s best for your children? Give yourself time enough to calm down and think rationally rather than blindly following your feelings. Ultimately, the decision is yours.
I have counseled many couples who recovered from affairs. Many of them had better marriages because they learned to share more and not to put their heads in the sand hoping the problem would go away. A main problem leading to affairs is the reticence for spouses to discuss attractions to other people, using the discussion to be honest with your spouse and work to keep fidelity between you. Affairs arise out of the need for talking, for greater emotional connection more than for having sex.
Recovering from infidelity requires a commitment for healing to take place. The offender needs to listen to the pain and anger and hurt of his/her partner and needs to validate it by taking responsibility of having been unfaithful. He/she needs to make amends by apologizing sincerely for the affair and commit to not repeating this behavior.
Asking for forgiveness is a huge step toward healing and putting the pain and anger behind you. Forgiving your spouse is an act you do to help yourself. Holding onto your resentment thinking you will punish your partner is like taking poison thinking it will hurt your partner. Cutting the cord of resentment frees you to go on with your life. Your body and nervous system will thank you for letting go of the pain and anger.
You can create a new and better marriage. You can improve your communication with active listening and empathy for your partner. You may find support with your friends and in your church where people can offer you caring along with support for your marriage.
Hadley Finch and I discuss on her Blog talk Radio show “Tribe of Blonds” about how to recover from affairs and how to avoid them.