By: Katie Lersch: Fear often makes people stop in their tracks when they are considering trying to keep their marriage after their spouse has an affair. They are afraid that they will invest all this time and hard work into their damaged marriage and they will still end up failing and being extremely hurt. They also worry that this whole thing will be painful process and so they consider just walking away right in the beginning to avoid the pain and the waste.
It’s no wonder then that those who overcome these doubts in order to commit to at least trying to save their marriage are constantly on the lookout that things are going wrong or that they are failing. Someone might say: “against my good sense, I agreed to try and fix our marriage after my husband’s affair. He made me all kinds of promises and so far I haven’t really seen all of them come true. Our marriage is a struggle every single day. I still don’t feel anywhere close to normal. Our marriage feels like it is worse off than it was right after the affair. What are the signs that a marriage is going to fail after an affair?”
It really does depend on the couple and what their marriage was like before the affair. Some behavior, while troubling, may be normal for a particular couple. However, you often do see issues or behaviors over and over again from people who struggle. I am not a therapist, but I do see themes from people I hear from, know, or read about. And by listing these signs, I’m not implying that your marriage is over or in serious trouble if you’re seeing them. Nor am I saying that your marriage is absolutely fine or perfect if you don’t see them. Take this for what it is – only one layperson’s observations and opinions. And know that if you do see them, that doesn’t mean that you can not fix them.
The Person Who Had The Affair Isn’t Taking The Initiative: This is a very common problem. Often, the person who had the affair is ashamed, embarrassed, and trying their very best to act in whatever way they think is going to make the affair blow over faster. They may well know that they were wrong. But they sometimes don’t want to admit or make a big deal of this because they worry that if they do, you are going to dwell on the affair and keep bringing it up to punish them. So many of them will try to be abrasive and indignant in the hopes that you will drop it as soon as possible. Understandably, the faithful spouse can take this posturing to mean that they are not sorry and they just do not care. And these misunderstandings can deteriorate a marriage that is already struggling.
Another way that I see the cheating spouse not taking the initiative is that they do not completely break off every ounce of communication and contact with the other person or they do not do everything in their power to change their risky behaviors. This includes coming straight home from work, staying off social media until healing has occurred, not drinking, or doing anything else that would affect their ability to make sound decisions.
There Is No Real Ongoing Plan: I know that it’s naive of me to think that every couple trying to recover from an affair will seek counseling, but I believe that you need someone (or at least some resource) other than the two of you overseeing things. Because unless you are a marriage counselor or relationship expert, this is likely outside of your scope of expertise no matter how much you way want for things to work. If counseling is just out of the question, perhaps a pastor or even self help resources will work. But when only the two people involved are guessing at what should be done when they are already emotionally confused and frustrated, recovery is not as likely to be very effective or very complete. And yet, that is what many of us try to do. The thing is, we are too close to the situation, and too damaged by it, to see it clearly.
Someone Is Just Not Willing To Let It Go: This is very common also. Often times, some real progress has been made. And both people have truly tried to move forward. But, one or both of the spouses just can’t let it go. They continue to run it through their heads. They continue to feel the pain and doubt. They continue to want to punish, even if they do not realize it. Or, the cheating spouse feels guilty and punishes himself. I am not by any means saying that you should pretend the affair never happened or “just forget it.” That would be impossible.
But I am saying that, when you are ready, you do have to make a very firm decision to move on in a healthy way in spite of it. Sure, you will still think back on it sometimes and feel sad and angry, but you shouldn’t feel this every day for the rest of your life. There comes a time when you have to decide that, for your own well being, you’re going to close the book on it and move forward without revisiting it and allowing it to continuously cripple your relationship.
As I said, seeing these signs doesn’t doom your marriage. I saw many of them and yet, I’m still married and I consider myself pretty content. We had to work very hard to move past these things and to continue to work on them when they came back from time to time. You can read more at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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