Affairs are about ‘wake up’ or ‘break up’. Some people will have affairs because they need an excuse to get out of their marriage. Or, an affair can get you talking again, help you re-evaluate your relationship.
Why do people cheat or have an affair? For a million reasons. They are fun, exciting, dangerous…. And there are so many ways to reconnect with old flames and meet new people that it’s low hanging fruit. Falling in love feels so great, but don’t make decisions on that. Most affairs don’t last more than a year and only 7% of affairs turn in to lasting relationships. Only 7%!
If you are going to work on your marriage, first end the affair with integrity. Dr. Tammy recommends calling the person and saying, “I’ve appreciated our time together and all that we shared, but I am re-committing to my marriage.” I laughed when she said that, but it’s actually a great way to bring closure. You’ve treated everyone with respect.
If you’ve been cheated on, your marriage is over. You have to decide if you can create a NEW relationship with your spouse, or if you want to leave and start over with someone else. You can’t go back—you’ll never be like you used to be. For some people, the worst part about the infidelity is that your intuition failed you and trust becomes a big issue: what is she doing when she has the kids? What is he doing when he’s moving our finances around?
Your marriage isn’t a failure because of an affair. The affair may have been the impetus to end a relationship that wasn’t working. Sometimes marriages just come to an end. That can be a wonderful chance to rewrite your own story. Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist, suggested that there may be three marriages in each of us: Sex, Kids, and Companionship. It could be the same person or different people.
Keep the kids out of your drama. Don’t over share and talk about what mom or dad did. They need to form their own relationships. The younger generation is more willing to consider “open marriages” because they’ve witnessed the lying and deception and they don’t want it.
So, you can save your marriage if that’s what you both want, but it may come with a price you don’t want to pay.
For more, read: The New Monogamy by Dr. Tammy Nelson
Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.