Updated: Jul 23, 2021
When infidelity is uncovered, a frequent refrain is, “It didn’t mean anything!” What the unfaithful spouse is attempting to express is often, “I still love you. I still want you. I don’t want to lose you.” What the betrayed partner often hears is, “You threw away what meant everything to me for something that meant nothing to you.”
“It didn’t mean anything” compounds the fracture and drives the pain deeper. Just. Don’t. Say. It. Stop being defensive and say what you mean. Your partner has just been devastated and is vulnerable. Do him/her the honor of being honest and vulnerable in return.
The reality is that the infidelity is not a reflection of the betrayed spouse. It does not necessarily mean the unfaithful spouse is dissatisfied with the marriage. It is not about the other woman/man. It is about the woundedness and unmet need(s) of the unfaithful partner. These needs remain unmet due to various reasons, e.g., unhealed trauma, low self-worth, shame, and fear of rejection.
The primary reason is a lack of communication with his/her spouse.
If you want to save your marriage – now is the time to start communicating with transparency and vulnerability. Do not use your woundedness as an excuse. It may be a reason, but it is no excuse. Elevate your spouse’s needs above your own.
Restoration after infidelity is possible if:
· Both parties are committed to putting in the work for as long as it takes.
· The affair is terminated, and all contact with the third party is severed.
· A support system is in place.
o Counseling to deal with the trauma of the betrayal.
o Coaching to provide skills training and accountability.
Marriages can and do survive infidelity. In fact, when couples put in the work for authentic healing and reconnection, they report being happier and more fulfilled in their marriages than before the infidelity.
Contact me for help on your journey to authentic healing and reconnection.
Angela W. Startz, MAHSC, CCLC