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The Brutal Truth About Surviving Your Spouse's Affair (& 7 Ways To Save Your Marriage)

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How To Fix A Broken Marriage When Surviving Infidelity Or A Spouse's Affair
Heartbreak

One thing stops your marriage from surviving after a betrayal.

You want to know the chances of your marriage surviving infidelity, given that you do not fully trust your cheating spouse.

Well, the chances for surviving an affair are very low if your man still has contact with the other woman. So, what do you do? 

If this sounds like you, then my guess is that your heart aches and you feel utterly betrayed at the wild discovery of your husband cheating with another woman. What's worse is if he seems to feel more compassion and grief towards losing his affair and has no remorse or empathy towards you.

In this case, knowing how to fix a broken marriage caused by cheating will not be easy.

RELATED: 22 Ways Couples Can Survive Cheating (And Finally Heal From The Betrayal)

The likelihood of your marriage recovering from an affair is very minimal unless you can protect yourself from this reoccurring again.

He may have justified their relationship as 'just friends', despite the fact that you saw passionate messages between them, confessing their love for each other.

So can your relationship heal from an affair if he still loves the other woman?

Well, the truth is, if he still secretly loves the other woman, then it is hard to heal from cheating in your relationship.

You may even discover that while you had difficulties in your marriage, he confided in this other woman about your marriage and never told you how he felt, turning to her for emotional support. 

You discover that he felt alone and rejected in his marriage. But, he put his emotional needs aside to make you happy while feeling not good enough for you.

He had an affair to escape the empty pit of loneliness, feeling not good enough, and longing for a safe connection, with no obligation but to have space to get his needs met.

He never planned to leave you, but he didn’t feel safe to tell you how he was feeling because there were so many other problems to sort out. He felt that his feelings didn’t matter, everyone else was more important. So, he withdrew further and escaped into fantasy by having an affair with another woman, in order to take him away from how he was feeling.

While your husband was having an affair, he retreated so that he could still get his emotional needs met and be selfish. This is because he didn’t want to hurt you and tell you the things that he needed to say.

He still wanted you so he found another outlet to get his need met. This way, he didn’t have to leave you and wouldn’t be upset with you. This allowed him to put his own needs aside because he was getting his needs met somewhere else.

Cheaters often use the affair as an escape from the difficulties of their marriage.

If you discover yourself in this situation, then the chances are you are trying to decide if you should rebuild your relationship or let it go.

If you decide to stay in this relationship, there is something very important that you need to consider: if your husband lies and hides his love for the other woman, then it’s difficult to recover from an affair in your marriage.

Your husband may still have feelings for this other woman and he may begrudgingly give her up for the sake of saving the marriage.

If this is the case, you may have problems moving forward if he does not want to let go of the affair. It will just recreate the same problems, where he suppresses his feelings and hides how he really feels to keep the peace.

How can you survive an affair in your marriage?

If this other woman became your husband’s emotional lifeline, then asking him to stop the affair could cause him to feel like he is chopping off his right arm, even though he might not tell you this.

The more he hides how he feels, the more he could be hiding his love affair to protect that relationship because he doesn’t want to give it up. He may even tell you it means nothing, to keep the peace and get you off his back.

But, is he simply repeating this pattern? If it was emotional cheating, then he may even still have feelings for her, even if he cuts off the relationship. So, how do you protect yourself from this happening again?

To fix a broken marriage when surviving infidelity seems impossible, here are 7 things you need to do.

1. Ask him if he wants to work on your marriage

Does he still want to work on saving your marriage and pick up where you left off?

The first thing you should decide is whether your husband genuinely wants to fix the marriage, feels remorse, and wants to address the issues.

2. Ask him to end the affair

Can he end the affair, and not just to please you? Can he maintain no contact with the other woman?

If he can happily end the affair, then the prognosis for working on the marriage is much better. Then couples counseling for recovering from an affair can be useful here.

If your husband seems to be still keeping his feelings inside, not being open to talk about the affair, seems to still have strong feelings for the affair or wants to maintain that relationship with the affair, then you need to be very careful here. You can enable the affair to continue by colluding with this, even if it’s an emotional affair.

As long as he is still confiding in her, he will most likely continue the pattern of not talking to you and feel his behavior is acceptable.

3. Set boundaries in your relationship

You need to ask yourself what your boundaries are, what you are prepared to put up with and protect yourself here. It is far worse to accept something that ends up hurting you, than drawing a line in the sand and protecting yourself.

If you express your boundaries of having no contact with the other woman, then you can make it safer to address the issues in your marriage, providing that your husband wants to be with you exclusively.

Whereas, if you accept your partner back, knowing that he maintains contact with the other woman, then you need to accept the likely outcome that could come from this.

RELATED: How To Know If Your Relationship Can Survive After Cheating

4. Address the issues in your marriage

Sometimes it is easier to bury your head in the sand — forgive and forget — rather than work through the issues that underpin the affair.

However, it is a big risk to take someone back who has betrayed your trust, without dealing with the issues and protecting yourself from this happening again.

5. See if he accepts responsibility for his part of the problems

A big clue of marriage failure from infidelity is if your husband doesn’t accept the part he played in the affair, minimizes it, justifies it or continues to lie and deceive you.

6. Learn how to trust again

Trust is paramount. If he openly admits and tells the truth you can rebuild trust and security in your marriage. If you sense you are not being told the whole truth, then you have something to worry about. Sometimes a cheater wants to have his cake and eat it too.

They can protect their relationship with the other woman if they hide their relationship.

You cannot establish trust if he secretly wants to hold onto the other woman — this will build insecurity and mistrust. He has to want to let that relationship go and own that decision for himself, not just to get you back.

7. Forgive and do not let blame or resentment take over

If your partner is addressing the issues, then do not allow blame or resentment to get in the way of rebuilding the relationship.

If your husband places the relationship with the other woman ahead of yours, then the chances of your marriage surviving an affair are low. This is the most common cause that prevents marriages from surviving infidelity.

The best outcome for healing from an affair is no contact with the other woman. Recovering from an affair requires that the couple genuinely want to work on the marriage.

If the couple deals with the issues between them, they can prevent the underlying issues reoccurring,  so then the chances of the marriage rebuilding after infidelity is higher.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Stop Obsessing — So You Can Survive Infidelity

Nancy Carbone has a M.Soc Sc (Couns) who offers relationship counseling if you want to survive infidelity or follow her on social media.

This article was originally published at counsellingservicemelbourne.com.au. Reprinted with permission from the author.