How Can Our Marriage Survive Infidelty?
In reality, some damage to trust and safety in the relationship is permanent. No matter what you do, there will always be that little doubt gnawing at you. What your husband fears is that he'll never be forgiven, while you are afraid of never feeling safe, never trusting again.
The Steps to Healing: What you can hope for is a lessening of your fears and resentments over time--they will become more tolerable. Following is a 4-step scenario that might help. It is a general approach to healing that needs the full cooperation of your husband. Then, on the next page, you'll find suggestions specific to long-term marriages such as yours.
1. Tell and confirm. Your spouse needs to let you know the affair is over in no uncertain terms.
2. Express remorse. He needs to communicate how bad he feels, especially for the pain he's caused you and your relationship. Honesty is important.
3. Why did this happen? Together, examine your marital relationship. You must each be willing to talk, honestly, about his motivations for straying. You need the space to express anger and doubt and to question, maybe over and over, why he did this. The more patient your husband is, the sooner recovery will begin to take place.
4. Re-establish trust. On a daily basis, your husband needs to do those things that re-instill trust, such as helping around the house, bringing flowers, telling you you're loved, and showing it. That helps.