Healed hearts. Hope renewed.

Infidelity

As in daily life, we don’t expect accidents or trauma to occur. The same goes for marriage. No one goes into a marriage expecting to experience infidelity. Discovering an affair is like an unexpected car accident in a marriage—and the vehicle looks totaled. Such devastating betrayal is traumatic and can create lasting wounds, but with the grace of Christ and hard work on the relationship, there is hope for healing and restoration.

Did You Know?

  • Infidelity is not the root cause of divorce: ~25% of surveyed divorcees indicated an affair was partially to blame for the divorce
  • Affairs happen because there are longstanding problems in the relationship.
  • Happily married couples do not have less conflict, but they are better able to repair conflict before it spirals out of control
  • In the strongest marriages, spouses have a shared sense of meaning in their life and marriage, and they support each other’s aspirations

Common symptoms while recovering from infidelity include:
Anger, depression, shock, intrusive negative thoughts, confusion, lack of trust, numbness, overwhelming grief, difficulty sleeping, fluctuation in appetite. Other symptoms include constantly replaying the thoughts over and over, difficulty concentrating, shame, fear of others finding out or fear of having to communicate to other about the affair. The offending spouse may feel guilt, hopeless, helpless, powerless in trying to take the pain away from the betrayed spouse. Both may feel guilt because the “perfect marriage” is no more.

Recommended book or other resource:
Surviving an Affair by Willard F. Harley, Jr. and Jennifer Harley Chambers is recommended for the betrayed and betrayer. This book gives examples of different kinds of affairs. It also provides helpful steps into repairing the relationship as well as insight for not falling into the same habits that could have led to an affair.

How We Can Help:
If you or a loved one has experienced infidelity, counseling can help by assisting you and your partner with processing the betrayal, assessing the state of the relationship that led to the infidelity, and building a vision for the future and restoration of trust. If the person who committed the infidelity is hesitant to participate initially, counseling can still help the betrayed in processing the affair, assessing the relationship to develop different ways of positively communicating needs, and building a vision of how the relationship can be.