Resolving Ambivalence about Recommitting after an Affair. How to move forward
Questions the hurt party asks:
- Why??? They try to understand what might be impossible to understand.
- They also ask “once there’s been so much damage, can we ever get back together again?”
- The injured party asks “Can both of us change in ways that matter?”
- Are we basically incompatible?”
Tasks that have to be accomplished before commitment can occur:
The partners have to create a list of contributing factors
- There has to be an apology that captures the specific hurts
- Counseling can be used to help normalize feelings in both party and keep the process moving along
Other tasks that have to be taken into account before re-commitment can occur:
Both partners need to understand that this is a long process. Too often I have seen couples who have separated because of an affair or some other difficulty get impatient. Perhaps because they were feeling lonesome and/or guilty. Several couples I have worked with even moved back in together due to financial reasons. Although these might be legitimate reasons, it usually doesn't turn out well for couples.
A final word: I have had at least one couple who renewed their wedding vows after infidelity and other issues. The celebration was meaningful and included the couple's children. Be careful to not try to rush this last step. It would be better to take it a little slower than to try to rush it just so the couple can say to family and loved ones: "we are back together again."