By Andrew G Marshall. They're the words no woman ever wants to hear. In 30 years of relationship counselling I've worked with around 2, couples and I've learned the most common reason a husband tells his wife he doesn't love her any more is because there's 'another woman'. Discovering that your husband has fallen out of love with you or is 'involved' with someone else is simply horrible.
When Elle Grant's husband started spending a lot of time at work with his female associate, she wasn't immediately suspicious.
But something kept nagging at my brain. Grant finally confronted her husband about her gut feeling that something was off.
Slowly, the truth began to come out. I was shocked and devastated. Despite the affair, the couple stayed together and are currently closing in on their 23rd wedding anniversary.
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But for many couples, infidelity is the nail in the coffin. A study conducted by the Austin Institute found that unfaithfulness in a marriage ed for around 37 percent of divorces in the U. It's not an easy thing to heal from — but according to marriage and family therapist Amanda D. Mahoneypatients who find success staying together after someone cheats have one main thing in common: "There's a willingness to process the potential symptoms that may have contributed to the affair versus focusing solely on the act of the affair itself," she explains.
That's not to be confused with justifying the decision to cheat by pointing to issues in the relationship as excuses. But if you're able to get real with your partner on what hasn't been working — without playing the blame game — it's a good that your relationship has the potential to be repaired. In fact, it may not simply be repaired, but you may come out even stronger than before if you handle it the right way.
For Grant, an author and journalist living in Toronto, packing up and leaving wasn't immediately in the cards. Instead, she focused on her own healing with the help of a therapistwhile her husband spent time in therapy separately. If both you and your partner want to take the necessary steps to heal from an affair, it can be done, but it's going to be a long road.
Here are a few important actions to take together that can help repair your relationship. This is the hardest step and will largely dictate whether or not you'll both be able to move forward. The answer largely depends on the motivating factors behind the affair.
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Where was the breakdown? What was it in our relationship that ultimately caused us to have an open door for someone else to walk into it?
Having that insight in your relationship is going to be important. But if the person who cheated isn't willing to be upfront about why it happened — or starts pointing blame, repairing things might not be possible.
Grant's husband admitted he was a sex addict and sought out therapy on his own to work through it. He had done everything he could to support me as I healed. If the affair is really, truly over, taking the physical steps to cut off contact with the person and set up boundaries is crucial to your partner's healing process.
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Brandon Santana d marriage and relationship therapist practicing in Tennessee. Because Grant's husband worked with the woman he cheated with, this was more complicated. Being cheated on is damaging for a plethora of reasons, but one big factor that needs to be addressed in order to move past it is lack of honesty.
This level of transparency needs to continue for as long as it takes to build that trust back up again; something that Elle says was key to her healing process.
He told me where he was going and who he'd be with. Seems humiliating in the short term, but he understood that that was how he was going to rebuild trust," she says.
Your gut reaction might be to blast your partner's indiscretions across social media for all to see, which Travis McNultyLMHC, practicing in Florida says is a common coping mechanism. But telling everyone in your inner circle can end up backfiring.
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Grant found support by creating a blog, The Betrayed Wives Clubto connect with others who were also victims of infidelity — a support system she says played a large part in her healing process. Our culture lacks real understanding around how devastating infidelity is. It can be really painful to share your secret only to have someone respond, as a friend of mine did, 'Well, I wouldn't put up with it. After an affair, it can be hard to know what to do or even where to start. If the conversations you're having with your partner feel like they're not getting anywhere, consider working with a d therapist who can help guide the process.
I tell couples they are going to have to bury that first relationship and think about starting a brand new relationship with each other. Grant and her husband eventually sought couples counseling after they had each worked with separate therapists.
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We have a lot of fun together, he's a much more hands-on father. Therapy helped him work through a lot of childhood grief, so that his own feelings are a lot more accessible to him.
I see it in my office every day," says McNulty. Want more tips like these?
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How to repair your relationship after someone cheats
Share this —. Follow better. One small thing How one couple saved their marriage by asking each other a simple question.