The Only Way to Restore and Rejuvenate Your Marriage After an Affair

BY: - 13 Mar '17 | Infidelity

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After the trust has been broken in your marriage, in order to really move forward with getting your relationship back on track, we have to talk about reestablishing trust. It’s the only way to restore and rejuvenate your relationship and get it to where it used to be and sometimes in even a greater place. In order to do that, we have to start from the very beginning. 

We do that by looking at the entire relationship and rebuild brick by brick, piece by piece. Sometimes this step can be very difficult. And trust is a necessary ingredient for your relationship, which is why we need to rebuild it. That’s why couple’s need to spend so much time on this particular area of reestablishing trust. We have to go back to beginning.

Go Back to the Beginning

ToHaveaBetterRelationshipPinterestWhat worked in the beginning? How did you both date? How did you both decide to get together? What did you like? What were you doing and what weren’t you doing? Some of the couples I’ve worked with think that because they’ve been together for a while, they should be able to quickly overcome broken trust, such as an affair, and move forward quickly.

But when you break trust and have an affair, the trust goes right down to zero.  And and as much as you don’t like it, it’s like starting over from day one. It’s like starting from ground zero.  When you first met your spouse, you had to do all these things to allow them to feel like they could trust you, and that’s what you’re gonna have to do again.

For some people, the struggle is that they want this to happen quickly.

Most of us do, we want things to happen in a very fast way, we want things to move from step one to the last step. Trying to quit smoking, trying to lose weight, getting a new job, or even having a  baby are things that we just want to happen quickly…but they don’t. The same thing is true with overcoming the impact of infidelity or broken trust in your marriage.  Sometimes we want it to move quickly, and that’s usually the person that’s betrayed their spouse. I’ve also seen it with those who have been betrayed where they’re like,

“When is this gonna stop?”

“When is this gonna be over?”

“When can we get back to being the way that we used to?”

I want you to realize that it takes time.

It’s not an overnight process.  You didn’t trust each other overnight. Usually, there was a set of things that happened along the way that allowed you to feel safe enough to trust each other.

I can’t give you a concrete time of how long it’s going to take to overcome infidelity, but what I’ve seen with the couples that I’ve worked with over the past 15 years, is that it takes about 9 to 12 months to heal.

If I had to give you a ballpark (and this is not something that I’m saying is scientific, but more of what I’ve seen in my practice) then I would say that the first three months is rocky, it’s tough, it’s overwhelming, and that’s where we’re really trying to rebuild trust.

Three to six months, you start to feel that some of the trust is really coming back and both people are in it, you start to have better times and they last a little bit longer.

Six to nine months, you start to feel much better about the relationship and start to work through other things that might have been there.

And then 9 to 12 months, you see yourself moving in a great direction where your relationship can actually be better than it ever was.

I’ve seen people work to reestablish trust, make some clear decisions, and now they’re at a great place, they are really connected with each other and it is more of a “we against the world” instead of an “I versus you” situation.

This why reestablishing trust is so important and it is the foundation of everything else that you are going to do in your marriage.  And it is impossible to get your relationship to this place, this 9 to 12 month place that I’m talking about if you don’t take the time to reestablish trust. Don’t move quickly and don’t brush it off.  Take your time by starting from the beginning and rebuilding.

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at GeorgeTalks.com.

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  1. Pingback: My Husband Committed Adultery Twice and Had Two Kids: Has My Marriage Run Its Course? – Cafe Mocha Radio

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My Husband Committed Adultery Twice and Had Two Kids: Has My Marriage Run Its Course?

BY: - 4 Apr '17 | Infidelity

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I have been married for 21 years. My husband had two affairs early in our marriage that resulted in 2 love children by different women. I decided to stay for our 3 children. My husband has to pay support for these children and I had a lot of anger about having to struggle.

I had to be the one who always worked multiple jobs so that my 3 kids did not have to go without. But the truth be told, it was not because we did not have the money.

Out of sight out of mind is how I have dealt with this for years. Now our relationship has changed. It seems we are roommates instead of husband and wife. I cant seem to get past any of this. I think that I have stayed this long because of my children, not because of what is in my heart. My husband committed adultery twice…has my marriage run its course? Please help!

Thanks,

Tired Wife

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Dear Tired Wife,

It hurts my heart to learn about your marital distress, mainly because you have become a victim of blind forgiveness. Sometimes people can be very forgiving to the point where it works against them. We all make mistakes and deserve opportunities to make things right. Sometimes we make several mistakes and deserve numerous opportunities to make things right. I believe in the power of forgiveness, but not blind forgiveness.

Forgiveness is best defined as one’s ability to give up resentment or to stop feeling anger towards someone. We are taught to forgive those who hurt, belittle and betray us. This means that we simply remove anger from our hearts.

However, it does not mean that we should endure further abuse. I often provide therapy to people who practice blind forgiveness and end up in worse situations.

Here is my definition of blind forgiveness.

Blind forgiveness is best defined as one’s ability to give up resentment while also practicing forgetfulness. The problem with blind forgiveness is that you cannot rebuild something if you do not address it. Whenever you attempt to forget about something, you increase the risk of it happening again. For example, your husband cheated twice and you feel violated because you probably did not address the first situation properly.

Sorry to say, but I do believe that your marriage has run its course. Let me explain. When I speak of making things right I am referring to reconciliation. Forgiving someone is not that same as reconciliation.

You can forgive your husband, but this does not mean that you let him off the hook.

When pain is present, two individuals have to work together to reconcile which means coming together. If your husband was truly sorry for the pain that he caused you he would work hard to reconcile. He would repent (ask for your forgiveness) and do whatever it takes to make the situation right.

READ: The Only Way to Restore and Rejuvenate Your Marriage After an Affair

Your husband violated your trust twice and based on your report it does not sound like much work was done to reconcile or restore your trust. If your marriage is to survive and thrive, your husband must repent and repair the damage that he has done. You can forgive your husband, but this does not mean that you let him off the hook. Please seek professional counseling.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 167 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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