Can A Marriage Survive Infidelity? One Couple Reveals All | Megyn Kelly TODAY
How Your Relationship Can Survive an Affair
For many people, infidelity isn't just a speed bump, it's a full-on, relationship-ending collision. But according to a new survey out of the U.K., couples therapists may have a very different view of cheating than ordinary couples.
In a recent report called The State of the U.K.'s Relationships, researchers surveyed over 5,700 people in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Out of the people surveyed, only 33 percent thought a relationship could survive an affair. Yet a whopping 94 percent of relationship counselors thought a bond could make it. Um, what do they know that we don’t?
Obviously, every relationship works on a case-by-case basis, but it’s pretty compelling that counselors are so optimistic about post-affair relationship mending. The fact is, affairs do happen—so what do you do if it happens to you?
“Infidelity is a tough thing for a couple to work through because it affects the core trust of the relationship, skewing everything in the past, present and possibly future,” says Talia Wagner, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “An affair does not necessarily have to lead to a divorce, and many couples are able to come back from this act of betrayal and rebuild the trust.” Here, three major things that have to happen in order for your bond to survive:
The first thing to do is to come clean with each other. While honesty might seem brutal in this case, research shows that marriages have a greater chance of surviving when the cheating is owned-up to.
By that same token, you need to be honest with yourself and your partner if you're not sure you can move past this. That's crucial, since both parties need to be ready and willing to move forward if this is going to work.
MORE:3 Signs You're an Emotional Cheater
Address the Cause
“I’ve worked with a lot of couples that have overcome infidelity, so it’s absolutely possible,” says Rachel Sussman, a relationship therapist based in New York. But Sussman says it’s critical make an honest evaluation of why the affair happened.
“Often times, when I ask people point blank what happened, they don’t always know,” she says. “So you have to really take your time to think back to the last period of time you can remember being a really strong couple, and examine it like you were a detective to see what went wrong.”
While we don’t want to play the blame-game, it can be helpful to understand if there were life stressors or behaviors that contributed to feelings of relationship dissatisfaction that may have led to the infidelity. Once you figure out why it happened, you can start to resolve those underlying issues.
MORE:10 Weird Facts About Cheating
“When ready to work it out, couples may benefit from getting away from their regular environment—going away, pitching a tent in nature or taking a weekend to do some shared activities that require adventure and teamwork can reset a tired clock," says Wagner. "Stepping out of your normal life together and having fun again can rekindle old feelings and thaw out feelings of resentment and detachment."
Sussman also says that starting a policy of full transparency—whether that's opening up your communication or giving each other your email passwords—can help rebuild the trust.
“And definitely take time for yourself,” adds Sussman.
Video: Can a Relationship survive Cheating?
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