An Affair Absolutely Does NOT Have To End Your Marriage
Written By: Mark Smith
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This week we are going to tackle the overwhelming epidemic of marital issues - infidelity. If your marriage has been affected by an affair please try to be open and take in the concepts that I will share. Just like you are in our office getting Marriage Counseling in Indianapolis, I will discuss the root causes of most affairs as well as the ingredients needed to not only salvage the marriage, but also to rebuild it into something better then it has ever been. If you can hear me several positive things will happen - #1 the affair will make a lot more sense, #2 your bitterness and sense of victimization will be greatly reduced, #3 it will help you to communicate with your spouse in a much more positive and effective manner, and #4 it will provide a solid foundation upon which to begin the restoration process in your marriage.
Why Affairs Happen - What are your spouse's most important emotional needs? If their main needs are not being met then all it takes for an affair to start is for a member of the opposite sex to come along and quite innocently begin to meet them. I'm not talking about sex here - I'm talking about emotional needs. Most of the time the straying spouses are good, well-meaning people who have drifted from their spouse without realizing just how needy, vulnerable and exposed they were.
The Keys To Restoration - There are 6 steps involved in restoring a marriage that has been damaged by an affair - #1 Accountability, #2 Shifting Out Of A Victim's Perspective, #3 Overcoming Abandonment Issues, #4 Grieving, #5 Forgiveness, #6 Re-Creating Love.
#1 Accountability - Terminating an affair is an extremely difficult thing to do. It can very much like be trying to quit using cocaine. Going cold turkey is the only successful or reasonable approach. Once an affair is brought to light, a great deal of accountability will be required to help the ensnared partner to stay completely away from former lover. This means that e-mail and cell phone passwords are willingly handed over to the spouse - this is not negotiable. You will need firm boundaries with consequences if you are going to be successful in helping your addicted partner kick this incredibly powerful drug.
#2 Shifting Out Of A Victim's Perspective - There are NO victims in marriage. A victim's stance will destroy whatever is left of your marriage if you let it. You will need to be frequently firmly reminded by an assertive and insightful therapist of the following truths: 1. You contributed to the creating an environment where an affair could develop by unknowingly not meeting the important emotional needs of your spouse. 2. Due to your unresolved childhood wounds you needed to select a spouse who was capable of abandoning you. 3. You allowed the Emotional Cutoff to develop without taking the appropriate steps to fix it. You were asleep at the marital wheel.
#3 Overcoming Abandonment Reactions - This is the most difficult issue to overcome. When an abandonment reaction comes up it is sort of like you become instantly drunk. You become 3 years old. You are full of hurt and rage. Severe abandonment reactions will blow your already damaged relationship up. Being blaming, raging, judgmental, out of control and attacking will do nothing to help anyone. With help you can learn to recognize your abandonment reactions, step back from them and be objective.
#4 Grieving - You will need to cry more tears then you thought were in you. You will go through many boxes of tissues - yes, even you men. You will need to talk about it and talk about it and talk about it some more. This process takes time. Grieving is scary and hard. Armed with a great deal of support and given time, you will get through this. The sun will shine again. Things are not as dark as they seem to be right now. Keep your focus on your issues - not your spouses failings. The more you cry the better you will feel.
#5 Forgiveness - You have done the hard work. Your spouse has de-toxed from his or her addictive relationship. They are truly sorry for all the pain they have caused you and they tell you this frequently. You see your spouse as the wounded, needy little child that they are on the inside. You are ready to forgive. That means the re-establishment of trust. It means being able to say I love you again. It means letting go of it finally. While you marriage is now out of surgery and off life support it will still not make it without the next step.
#6 Re-Creating Love - Love can be re-created in dead marriages simply by devoting time to meeting each other's most important emotionally needs. Spending a great deal of time together deliberately focusing on meeting the most important emotional needs of your spouse will become the sweet icing on the cake of restoring the beauty and the sacredness that had been lost in your marriage. That is all the time we have for now - see you next week.
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