For an affair to occur, there typically is some sort of marital deterioration that has happened over the course of many months or years that both spouses have contributed to. It matters not who contributed more at this point, but what does matter is that each of you share responsibility for the past and also have equal influence to shape your marriage into what it can be in the future and move on towards healing after infidelity.
One thing that Linda and I always have agreed on, was that there was a deterioration in our marriage that was caused by a variety of influences that we BOTH were responsible for. Therefore, though this was no excuse for me to have an emotional affair, it did justify that BOTH of us were at risk for infidelity– only I was the weaker of the two.
One thing that Linda had said from the get-go was that she could have very easily had an affair herself. Now you wouldn’t normally want to hear something like this from your spouse, but at the time I welcomed her saying that because it helped to level our playing field so that we could better understand what went wrong and what we needed to do to make our marriage survive and become stronger.
Dr. Dave Carder, the author of “Torn Asunder” and “Close Calls,” suggests couples who are healing after infidelity take a detailed look at their marriage to understand its purpose. In other words, why did you select each other in the first place?
Take some time and write down a few reasons why you chose the other as your spouse. Carder says, “What ever the reason, it has proven insufficient to keep your marriage safe from infidelity.” From the reasons that you identify you then can determine a new purpose for saving your marriage which can carry on for the rest of your married life together.
Things change over time. The reasons that you and your spouse got together in the first place, may not be the same reasons that will keep you together today or in the future.
In our case, getting back to the way we used to be by doing things we used to do, having fun and re-igniting lost passion and communication have done wonders for our reconciliation. We also know that as time goes on, we will need to constantly evaluate our marital goals and desires and “readjust” our purpose accordingly.
As we all know, history can have the tendency to repeat itself. I think that is the reason that you hear of so many couples that suffer from multiple affairs. Linda and I are adamant that we never have an encore of our recent marital history.
We have each learned so much about ourselves from my emotional affair and that knowledge will help us to be aware should we happen to take a step backwards. In the end, healing after infidelity requires you to create a new purpose for your relationship and make a commitment to do what you need to do to move toward that purpose.