Many people believe that infidelity means the end of their marriage. But the truth is that more than half of marriages actually can survive an affair. If you recently found out that your spouse had an affair—or if you are the spouse who had an affair—you may believe right now that the wounds in your marriage are too deep to heal. However, if both you and your spouse want to, you can repair the damage done to your marriage. Take a look at some tips for getting your marriage back to a healthy place.
Find the Root Cause
Affairs don't happen for no reason, and most people don't cheat on their spouses because they want the marriage to end. Typically, the spouse having the affair is feeling unhappy in the marriage, maybe because they're bored, insecure, lonely, or in need of attention. Those feelings don't justify having an affair, but they may explain why a spouse was unfaithful.
Once you figure out the feelings that led to the affair, you can find the reason why those feeling existed. For example, an unfaithful spouse may feel isolated from their partner when one or both members of the couple works long hours, resulting in the couple rarely being available for each other. Taking a good look at your current situation could spell out where you two can improve to better love and support each other.
Don't Blame the Victim
It can be easy for an unfaithful spouse to justify infidelity by blaming it on some flaw in the other spouse. And the partner who was cheated on may also blame themselves. However, it's important to remember that you are responsible for your own actions. If you are the spouse that was unfaithful, you should never say something like, "I had an affair because you are at work all of the time." This is blaming the injured party—your spouse—for an injury that you inflicted.
Likewise, if you're the injured spouse, you should not accept the idea that you're to blame for your partner's affair. Your spouse could have handled their unhappiness in the marriage in more constructive ways, like coming to you with the problem. You may need to acknowledge that there are problems in the marriage that you bear some of the responsibility for and need to work on, but you are not responsible for your spouse's infidelity.
Insist on Transparency
Once trust is broken, it can be very difficult to fix. If your partner had an affair once, it's natural that you would be concerned that it might happen again. One way to rebuild trust is to insist that there be no secrets going forward. You might tell your spouse that you need to be able to check their email, cell phone, or social media accounts so that you can see for yourself that there's nothing going on.
If you're the spouse that had the affair, you may feel intruded upon by this level of transparency. However, if you want your marriage to recover, you may need to go to great lengths to prove that the infidelity won't happen again. Eventually, as trust between the two of you begins to grow again, your partner will probably feel less of a need to check up on you.
One more thing you should seriously consider is seeking counseling from a qualified marriage counseling resource. Especially in the beginning, both of you may be too close to the situation to see things clearly and think objectively. A third party who has expertise in the field of healing damaged relationships can help both of you find the root cause of the affair, avoid misplaced blame, and work out an arrangement that will help rebuild trust between the two of you.