The time after an affair holds so many unknowns. The initial shock of infidelity and betrayal is followed by many questions. What happened? When? Where? Why? With who? How many times? Did you think of me? Does our life even matter to you? What now? Should I leave my partner? These are just a few of the agonizing thoughts that the injured partner grapples with. Deciding whether to continue with the relationship or end it is often one that the betrayer cannot answer. It’s truly a personal decision, dependent upon your experience. Some relationships do recover after the discovery of an affair, some relationships end immediately, and some relationships try to recover, but are never truly the same.
When making the decision to continue or end the relationship, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. Austin marriage counselor, Kaitlyn Begnaud expands on those factors below.
One area of consideration when deciding what to do with a relationship is accountability. Taking accountability can take the form of many behaviors. Apologizing sincerely, being able to hear and understand the partner’s pain, and allowing questions to be asked are signs that accountability is being taken. This is a step in the right direction for continuing in a healthy relationship or marriage.
Another factor that should be considered is timeliness. If there is a push to “move forward” and the hurt partner is left with unanswered questions or feelings of resentment towards the other partner, the resulting relationship will likely falter.
Reparations are also something to consider. If there are no real attempts to repair the relationship, then the injured partner will likely continue to feel short changed, confused and may have questions in the back of their mind for years to come. The practice of reparations often includes discussing the affair openly. While the details of the affair may feel important, the most important questions should be about finding the motivations behind the affair and how to best help the injured partner process the pain of betrayal.
It’s important to remember that every act of infidelity is different, and while the advice from friends and family may be well-intentioned, it is up to the individuals in the relationship to decide what direction to take after an affair is discovered. The space and time that each couple needs following an affair will vary, as will the feelings and thoughts that follow. If your marriage or relationship has been affected as a result of an affair, seek unbiased assistance. Working through the initial stages of discovery can be a treacherous road, but Kaitlyn Begnaud is available to talk, listen, and help guide you. To reach Kaitlyn, call (512) 655-3213.