Part 6: Relating to Your Spouse
The Affair First Response Guide was written to be the first step in navigating the turbulent waters after infidelity is discovered in a marriage. This section describes helpful ways to proceed with your spouse after an affair.
How to Relate to My Partner
It can be hard to know how exactly to relate to your spouse after discovering betrayal. While there isn't a single "right way" to proceed, some are more helpful than others. Here are a few common questions asked by couples following discovery.
Should we separate?
- The short answer is maybe. Is it safe?
- Can you be under the same roof and not destroy each other verbally or physically?
- Can you handle seeing your spouse or interacting with them on a day-to-day basis given your raw feelings?
- The important thing is giving ourselves the space needed to work through the challenges we are facing in a healthy way and figure out what to do going forward.
- When considering separation you should ask whether or not your safety goals can be met with an in-home separation or an out-of-home separation.
- In-Home Separation: Sleeping in a different area of the house than your spouse and intentionally staying out of each other's space.
- May be the best option for:
- a. Creating opportunity to work on issues.
- b. Minimizing disruption for kids.
- c. Reduce financial stress
- Out-of-Home Separation: Temporarily living at different residences.
- May be the best option for:
- a. When physical or emotional safety cannot be maintained.
- b. When the betrayed spouse does not want to be under the same roof with the betraying spouse.
- c. When the betraying spouse is not repentant or unwilling to seek help.
Should we talk?
- Do not have conversations about the infidelity between the hours of 9pm and 7am.
- Do not have conversations about the infidelity via text, email, instant messenger, social media, or any other digital means.
- Do have conversations away from your children.
- Do have conversations about getting in to see a counselor together.
- Do have conversations with other supportive, safe people in your life (pastors, mentors, friends, etc).
- Do respect your spouse by pausing the conversation if either feels unsafe.
- Do not have conversations while intoxicated.
Should we be having sex?
Do I need to get tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
Is it bad to "spy" on my spouse?
It is not a matter of good or bad. Let's think about it in terms of helpful or not helpful. Healthy relationships have transparency. Relationships that lack transparency are at high risk for infidelity. The wise person sees that risk and takes action. You may need to gather information to verify what you are being told aligns with reality.
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Affair Recovery Guide.
A six part series to help you pick up the pieces after an affair.