Infidelity is more than just a sexual affair with another person. A partner has cheated if they are seeking to meet their most intimate emotional needs with another person who is not their spouse, and the spouse is kept in the dark about it. At this point, you might be the one suspecting that your partner is cheating, and you feel helpless on what to do. You might even be the one cheating, and you are trying to make sense of what you should do next to make things right. We turn to the counsellors of TOUCH Family for some advice.
“I THINK MY SPOUSE IS HAVING AN AFFAIR”
You may feel shocked and disappointed at this point. Instead of flying into a rage, try to communicate honestly with your spouse in a safe and private place, giving them a chance to explain the affair, and asking questions about why they did it. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel hopeless about the situation. Contact the TOUCH Family hotline (found below) to get help from marriage counsellors.
“I HAD / AM CURRENTLY HAVING AN AFFAIR”
Let us count the ways in which an extra-marital affair could wreak your life and those you love:
- Keeping such secrets can make you feel constantly trapped and nervous.
- Prolonged stress from trying to keep the affair a secret may result in health symptoms such as migraines and insomnia.
- You may not have full control of the situation (e.g. you don’t know what your affair partner may do.)
- Increasingly losing the enjoyment of an authentic relationship with your spouse.
- The affair doesn’t just affect you but hurts your loved ones (spouse, children, extended family) too.
How can you salvage your marriage after an affair?
End the affair
It is difficult to rebuild the marriage if an affair isn’t put to an end. There might be huge consequences, but after the affair is made known and processed, couples can then move forward and establish changes to protect their marriage and experience an authentic relationship again.
Consider full disclosure
You have ended your affair and may choose to carry on with your marriage without disclosing the past if your spouse didn’t know about the affair in the first place. However, do consider that this secret may weigh on your heart and subconsciously stress you out, hence possibly affecting the intimacy of your marriage.
Don’t try to justify the affair
Justifying the affair tells your spouse that you don’t feel guilty or remorseful, and you are not assuming responsibility for the situation and the relationship. Be honest about the affair.
Respect their reaction
Accept your partner’s anger and tears, even if it’s painful. Demonstrate real empathy when your spouse shows their expressions of rage and hurt toward you.
Continue communicating with your spouse
Try to spend time together with your spouse to show him or her that you still care. Answer your spouse’s questions about the affair and be completely honest. Show remorse by sincerely saying “I am sorry for causing you pain.”
Don’t expect things to go back to normal immediately
As trust has been broken, be ready to put in a lot of effort (over a long period of time) to restore the relationship. Expect the ups and downs of the relationship.
Be willing to do what it takes to restore the relationship
Reassure your spouse, comfort them and keep showing that you do still care and love him or her.
WORKING AS A COUPLE
Couples dealing with infidelity often grapple with intense emotions, making it hard for them to even talk about rebuilding their marriage. Seeking help from a professional counsellor offers the couple a safe environment to address these emotions. They also have a chance to gain insights into their marital problems. As the couple acknowledges their respective contribution to these problems, they can begin to move towards forgiveness and the rebuilding of trust.
Is your marriage affected by adultery or are you seeking to work through your marital issues? TOUCH Family is here to help. Contact us at 6709 8400 or [email protected] to find out about our counselling services.
TOUCH Family aims to build strong and fulfilling families, and promote the well-being of individuals and families in need. It impacts over 12,500 families and individuals each year through family-based services and programmes, and strives to provide a holistic integrated service to serve the needs of every person and family at every stage of their lives.