• David Schlagter, LCSW

Can a Marriage Survive Infidelity?



Yes, a marriage can survive infidelity. Is it going to be easy, No. It is one of the hardest things, if not the hardest, that couples will ever have to go through. However, there are great benefits for those who are willing to go through the process of understanding, healing, and repairing. These couples often develop a deeper bond and a more meaningful relationship than they ever had before.


But it takes time and a willingness to get through this. There are no shortcuts. It is common for couples, especially the partner who had the affair, to say “I said I was sorry, how many times do I have to say it? We just need to move forward and put this in the past.” The problem with this is it leaves the other partner with unresolved feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, and a constant fear of “is this going to happen again?” These unresolved feelings will create emotional distance between them and come out in unhealthy and hurtful ways. Often leading to additional complications and problems in the relationship.


This article will help you to know what to expect and what to look for as you move forward in repairing the marriage. To begin, it is highly unlikely that you and your partner are going to be able to truly work through this on your own. As you seek a couples counselor, you will want to look for someone who specializes in affair recovery and has experience helping couples to recover after infidelity. The more experience the better.


Listed below are some of the things you will want your couples counselor to be able to provide for the affair recovery sessions:


* The therapeutic atmosphere should be quiet, calm, and peaceful. A place where you feel completely safe and comfortable to say whatever you need to say while also knowing there is absolutely no judgment. There will be tense and angry moments, but your counselor will be there to guide and direct you through this extremely difficult time.


*Thoughts and feelings need to be able to be expressed and heard in a healthy and supportive way. This is done by one person speaking and the other just listening. The person speaking will use “I” statements focusing on how they “feel” about what happened. They will avoid “you” statements by being careful not to criticize, shame, or blame their partner.


*The other person is listening. They are focused on trying to understand what and why their partner is feeling what they are. When their partner is done speaking, they will offer feedback as to what they are understanding their partner to be saying. They will also be encouraged to ask their partner questions trying to get a deeper understanding of why they feel what they do. Then, they will reverse rolls and the other person is now the speaker and their partner is just listening.


*The couple will have the opportunity to express to their partner what their needs are.What I need and want from you is …” The other person will respond by saying “yes, I am willing/able to do that”, “no, I’m not willing/able to do that”, or “can we talk a little more about what you need and want from me.”


*You will learn and be able to accept things that your spouse is helping you to see that can contribute to better communication and a better relationship. Example, “It would be easier for me to listen to what you are saying if your voice did not feel loud and aggressive to me.” The partner recognizes the value of what is being said and responds with “You’re right. Thank you for pointing that out to me and helping me to see how that is destructive to our communication and rebuilding our relationship.


*Rebuilding trust takes time and a commitment from the partner who broke the trust to earn it back. There is zero room to give your partner any reason to question you or wonder what you are doing. Do what you say you’re going to do, always. If you say you are going to be home at 6:00 be home at 6:00, not 6:05.


*As you stay the course, the healing unfolds and slowly you and your partner begin to move forward in your lives together again. This can include learning more about each other’s interests, goals and their vision for your life together in the future.


I encourage you to seek the help that you need to get through this difficult and challenging time. You deserve to have a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling relationship.


Please feel free to contact me at 954-391-5305 for your complimentary consultation so we can chat about how I can help you and your partner move forward in a positive direction. I look forward to speaking with you!


I provide counseling for adults and couples in our beautiful Coral Springs offices and online through a secure telehealth platform for those who reside in the state of Florida. For more information about myself or my approach, click here.



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