You just found out your spouse has cheated. What now?
Trust is the very foundation of marriage and when it is shaken, it can feel like repair is not possible. But an affair doesn’t have to mean divorce.
Infidelity help is one of the most common reasons couples seek sex therapy. Because it is so normal, there is a somewhat standard approach to recovery. The first step is understanding why your spouse was unfaithful.
Why People Cheat
The most cited reason is emotional detachment. The partner seeking an affair feels a void in their lives. They describe themselves as unloved, lonely, unappreciated.
Over a long period of time, these feelings turn into anger and resentment. The person feels hurt and entitled to get their needs met outside the marriage. They blame their spouse for not paying enough attention to them, not caring about them, etc.
Infidelity Happens Even in Happy Marriages
Having said that, affairs also happen in excellent marriages. They have many sources, with opportunity and work context among the frequent.
And infidelity occurs in more ways than one. Emotional “cheating” can be just as damaging as physical.
Rebuilding after Infidelity
I have seen many marriages thrive after infidelity, but certain facts are almost always true:
- It takes time to heal
- It takes the cheater owning their actions and not blaming his/her spouse
- It takes the other person admitting to underlying problems in the relationship
- It takes courage, and a commitment from both people to save the marriage
Recovery is not easy. It requires honesty, expressing vulnerable emotions, and exploring unproductive communication patterns. A sex therapist can help. With an unbiased person in the room, denial, guilt, blame, hurt and embarrassment won’t take over the conversation. You can rebuild trust and come to appreciate your union again.