Can Your Marriage Survive an Affair? Seven Questions to Ask Yourself
Author: Anne Schooling
It depends on what you mean by 'an affair' - can your marriage survive? If cheating were only limited to a spontaneous and discreet scratching of an itch, if you could just bottle the whole experience and leave it where you never need to see it again, then YES. Only problem is that the itch often becomes a 'rash'!
A generation ago, roles were clearly defined: men were the providers and women were the home-makers and child-rearers. Financial and social dependency and lack of opportunity predisposed us to fidelity. Today, we are independent and fully 'out there' (and don't forget our partners are working with fully out-there women too). There is NOTHING inevitable about fidelity. It becomes a decision we have to make over and over in life. It is important to remember that our emotions are not driven by logic and that it takes bravery and lots of hard work for a marriage to survive an affair.
Here are seven important questions, the answers of which will determine the likelihood of a marriage surviving an affair:
1. Is the one who cheated making excuses for what happened?
2. Does the one who cheated understand the hurt they've caused?
3. Is this an isolated event or a pattern? Is there a pattern of flirting/setting up situations which could lead somewhere?
4. Does "I'm sorry", mean "Sorry I did it", or 'Sorry I got caught"?
5. If they can't understand why it's such a bum thing to have done, you can't begin to rebuild trust. Are they willing to start again and start clean? This means cutting off all contact with that person.
6. Is cheating 'normal' for the one who messed around - something close friends and family have a history of?
7. If your relationship survives this, and it happens again, will you survive a second round of hurt? If not, think very hard about whether to make the effort.
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