The initial aftermath of affair exposure is a critical time in the life of an intimate relationship. What you say or don’t say can make a big difference in the outcome of your partnership. Let’s start with what you shouldn’t say. You should not say your affair didn’t mean anything. Do not yell, get angry, raise your voice, play the victim, blame your partner, blame your affair partner, or blame your kids. The only person you should blame is yourself. The goal is to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions in a way that is genuine,
- Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful is a very dark day in most people’s lives. They often feel as if their lives are shattered. They’re deeply hurt, devastated, enraged, and disoriented.
- In the early stages of recovery, many couples have marathon talk sessions. Frequently, the unfaithful spouse is willing to engage in these conversations in an effort to help the betrayed spouse regain equilibrium.
- Betrayed spouses need to be coached about the importance of expressing appreciation to the unfaithful spouse for being willing to share uncomfortable details. This fosters collaboration and minimizes the shame unfaithful spouses often feel, shame that gets in the way of being emotionally available.
“On one hand, my experience has taught me that if a betrayed spouse has unanswered questions that plague him or her, there must be transparency. The questions need to be answered honestly and thoroughly. One of the worst things an unfaithful spouse can do is to withhold information. Having information leak out gradually over weeks or months is re-traumatizing to the betrayed spouse, damaging trust-building efforts, sometimes irreparably.”