The “disease” of infidelity destroys families. Recovering from an affair requires three essential tasks. Learn what they are.
Infidelity is like cancer and recovery is not assured unless…
Infidelity is not pretty, but when it happens it must be faced.
When a couple is afflicted with infidelity and they don’t deal with all its ugly dimensions, their relationship can be made much worse than it already is. For example:
- Trust is never restored leading to chronic worry and stress.
- Anger becomes a chronic characteristic of the relationship. This can lead to bickering and ill will.
- There is an increased risk that the partner who was betrayed (the victim) seeks to punish his or her cheating partner by cheating themselves.
- The family life remains forever tense and the children become victims of a toxic home atmosphere.
- The relationship becomes sexless.
Surviving infidelity is not assured. Healing, like recovering from cancer, requires very intense treatment. It is advisable to seek help from a caring relationship specialist who is certified to work with couples.
Find here qualified professional help: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy or in Canada, Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy or you can contact me Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT CCHT — I am a member of the above organizations.
How to heal from infidelity
If you are coping with infidelity its essential that you understand three important points necessary to recovery:
1. Everyone is hurt by infidelity, including children and extended family such as parents — the family is the body ravaged by this relationship disease.
Acknowledging this sensitizes you to the needs of each family member and will motivate you to do the relationship work necessary to bring to your family a full recovery.
2. Like cancer, adultery is not something you cannot just “tough it out.” Cheating does not just go away.
The victim, the betrayed partner, will not forget in time. Actually, the opposite will happen. When the victim is not acknowledged and accommodated the anger, fear, and worry intensifies over time. When infidelity is treated correctly, it is the ‘relationship’ to the memory that changes — it is less intense and hurtful.
3. The “outside lover’s” presence must be removed from the cheater’s life and family so that after the affair is over he or she is no longer a threat to the family, just like a cancerous tumor needs to be removed from a body.
Some recovering cheaters change jobs, fire employees, or move to a new community to get away from the paramour. Infidelity recovery is complex. It requires creativity, flexibility, and great sensitivity and accommodation to the betrayed partner.
If you and your partner choose to reconcile, and you complete the above three tasks, it’s highly likely at some point in the future you will achieve a full recovery.
On the other hand, If the relationship disease of infidelity is not treated fully and thoroughly, like cancer, it can metastasize and spread to every aspect of your family life.
The choice to repair and recover from infidelity is yours and that of your partner! I sincerely hope the two of you make the decision — when reasonable — to preserve your family and help heal each injured member from this life-threatening relationship disease.