Marriage is beautiful, but it can be hard, especially when you are dealing with infidelity years after the affair.
So, how to deal with infidelity in marriage years later?
If two people love each other enough to work through infidelity in marriage, it can be beautiful again. But it will undoubtedly take time.
The wounds of infidelity are deep, and the victim of adultery will need time to mend and eventually forgive. The adulterer will need time to reflect on their mistakes, and show the remorse necessary for forgiveness to occur.
Handling infidelity or coping with infidelity could take months, years, and maybe even decades. The pacing of the progress after an affair will vary from marriage to marriage.
Let’s say you’ve done the work with your spouse for coping with adultery, gotten to a place of forgiveness and trust, and are looking to the future through optimistic lenses.
What can you expect when dealing with infidelity in marriage? What should you be wary of years after infidelity? What can you be proactive about coping after infidelity?
All doesn’t have to be lost after a partner chooses to cheat. It can be repaired, but only through continuous and diligent hard work from both parties.
Any married couple should continue to work on their relationship, but those that have experienced infidelity should take that work even more seriously.
Counseling, counseling, and more counseling
With all of the information that we have access to, we still tend to ask for help less and less.
There are plenty of websites that can tell us what to do after marriage is rocked by adultery, so why go see a professional that will use a lot of the same tactics?
Because that professional is trained to give objective advice on how to handle infidelity in marriage.
Not only are they able to give objective guidance, but they can provide a form of accountability to both of the individuals involved.
At every appointment, they can hold both parties to a standard of respect and non-judgment.
This is no doubt an essential tool directly after infidelity has occurred, but it may be even important in dealing with infidelity years later.
The more time that passes, the more reminders and suggestions you will need to deal with the aftermath of infidelity.
If you and your partner think that you’ve “gotten over the hump” and can take it from there, you may be opening yourself up to a potential downfall.
Your therapist has put a practice in place that your marriage has trusted to sustain itself for some time.
By pulling the plug on that consistent source of non-judgmental advice and guidance, you may find yourself settling back into the old themes of distrust and resentment.
This is not to say that you can’t make it if you’re not seeking help from a therapist; it is just pointing out what a tremendous resource that objective point of view can be to your relationship.
Be aware of your distrust
If you are the person that was wronged in the affair, no one will blame you if you have the nagging thought of “what if it’s still going on?” It’s natural. It’s a defense mechanism to your scorned heart.
But if you and your partner have worked to a place where you have forgiven them, and they have shown their remorse, you have to be acutely aware of that nagging question in the back of your mind.
It will show up from time to time, but you need to do your best to negotiate your way out of it.
If years have passed and you’ve both accepted the terms of your marriage and what has occurred, you can’t live your life waiting for them to screw up.
As hard as it is, you need to trust them with everything. You need to be open and vulnerable, and everything else that love requires.
The last thing you want is to wait for 5 years and then ask each other if you’re happy.
Time usually puts distance between partners in any relationship; two partners that have been affected by infidelity will undoubtedly drift even further apart over time if feelings and emotions go unchecked.
Think of it as a State of the Union address, but for your marriage.
They say that time heals all, but it’s not a given. Any time that is spent together after an emotional or physical affair needs to be handled with care.
Don’t let time pass and hope that things will smooth themselves out.
When dealing with infidelity, you must take hold of that time and use it as wisely as possible with your husband or wife.
Just because you have worked past the initial blow of adultery, don’t be fooled into thinking that you are in the clear.
See a counselor, be hyper-aware of your emotions (both positive and negative) as time passes, and check-in with each other on a timely basis.
Consistent and intentional action towards bettering your relationship is non-negotiable for every marriage; one inflicted with infidelity needs this work more than ever.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.