How To

How to Survive your Spouse’s Affair

In order to restore a relationship after your spouse has had an affair you may try the ploy:

“But I’ve changed, I’m a different person.”

And your behavior may have actually changed – some of the time.
You mistakenly may continue to accommodate in different ways or change your behavior to fit your perception of what he/she wants.

Here are some problems with this strategy:

You, most likely, have not changed at all but, rather, are in a
reactive mode by responding to your difficult situation by “grabbing at straws.” There is nothing really wrong with this. However, these changes usually lack staying power because they are born out of
reactivity.

You and your spouse both know it. Chances are that you will regress to your usual patterns as soon as the heat’s off; your spouse intuitively knows this. He/she, most likely, thinks: “This will never last;” then becomes very suspicious.

Also, your changes may be seen by your spouse as your attempt to manipulate him/her. He/she may perceive your changes as a Sneaky strategy to get him/her to re-commit.

Your spouse may start feeling “cornered” and will most likely resent them, even though they are what he/she has been demanding throughout your marriage. Then even more alienation may emerge.

In this scenario you will lose respect and your spouse will not believe you or even know what to believe ABOUT you. By this time, s/he is very confused about what s/he wants and by trying on altered behaviors, you only add to that confused feeling. You become CONFUSING.

People don’t want others trying to placate them. And if that is not true of your spouse as well, you may have to re-evaluate his/her fitness to be a mate.

Generally, spouses don’t respect the placation strategy because there doesn’t appear to be any “backbone.” There doesn’t appear to be any core self.

That is not very attractive.

The spouse often says something like: If you really can change so
easily now, why didn’t you change when I wanted you to years ago?

I’m afraid it’s too late now.

Sadness or resentment often emerges at this point when s/he encounters
your new behavior, thinking about what might have been, but
is no longer “possible.” Also, spouses having affairs often blame them on the betrayed spouse and/or bad marriage … don’t buy into it. Where circumstances and others can influence what we do, they don’t control it. Both spouses must take responsibility for their own behavior, right or wrong!

The best approach is to calmly re-commit yourselves to staying married within a framework of both of you assuming a fair share of your own responsibility for the problems and the solution. If that cannot be done independently it should be done through marriage counseling.

Copyright, Shery, 2006