Some good advice from Gail Saltz

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2006
Some good advice from Gail Saltz
Mon, 04-20-2009 - 8:10pm
If the affair has already happened, what can you do?

For the cheater:

  1. You must give up your lover. This will not be easy. You will have to grieve the loss of her as well as the loss of the feelings associated with having someone completely attracted to you and the excitement of forbidden sex. You can never restore your marriage and the trust of your spouse without immediately breaking off your affair.
  2. Apologize (profusely) for the hurt to your spouse. You have devastated her, ruined her trust and made her feel like she is nothing. Acknowledge her feelings and how sorry you are you did this.
  3. Figure out why you slipped. Is it old childhood hurts, fear of growing old, loss of communication with her? Work to understand how you ended up here in the first place so you can prevent it from happening again.
  4. Work to regain the trust. Now is the time for honesty, complete honesty! Be open, be true and give it a lot of time. Slowly you can make it back.
For the betrayed:

  1. You won’t forget, but decide to forgive. When you are wounded by betrayal it does stick with you. However, to save the marriage you must work toward forgiving him. After the apologies, understanding what happened and what needs to change you have to try to forgive him the betrayal and move forward.
  2. Get support from family or friends. It’s a bad time and the person you would usually turn to is the person who hurt you. So recruit siblings, parents and friends to be your shoulder.
  3. Tell him you love him. Don’t let him just go off with her but tell him he has to give her up, or there will be no you. Then let him know that you really do love him despite your anger and hurt, and that you will try to make it work.
  4. Don’t punish him forever. You want to spend a lifetime with him but it can’t be a lifetime of anger and guilt. At some point you must stop asking the details and telling him what a horrible jerk he was or it will poison any chance at happiness and he will find another lover.
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