Estee Counseling

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How to save your marriage

How to Save Your Marriage

A Guide to the Unfaithful Partner

by Estee Goren, M.A., MFT

An affair is a secret emotional and/or sexual relationship a person has outside of a committed relationship, either in person, by telephone, or online.

Unfaithfulness is not only about physical or sexual interaction. All romantic activities outside of the marriage are acts of unfaithfulness. This may include: flirting, kissing, sexting, online chat, and other secretive communication with another person.

When a person steps out of his or her marriage to satisfy an emotional or sexual need, s/he seriously and deeply violates their partner's trust, damages his/her spouse’s belief about their relationship, and destroys their spouse’s sense of security, commitment, and love.

The betrayed spouse often gets hurt the most after the affair is discovered. This is when the unfaithful spouse fails to recognize the severity of his/her damaging behavior, and the extent of the pain this behavior has caused.

Consider the following guidelines if you truly want to save your marriage:


 + Tell your spouse about the affair rather than wait for it to be discovered.
 + Be forthcoming, honest, and truthful.
 + Be authentic, show genuine empathy, and express sincere apology and regret.
 + Accept full responsibility for your behavior for what it was: unfaithfulness, betrayal, deceitfulness.
 + Admit that the affair was wrong. Understand that no excuse justifies the betrayal.
 + Recognize the traumatic effect the affair had on your spouse and your relationship.
 + Realize that the recovery process can only start after the affair is over and you have
    terminated all communication with your lover.
 + Willingly break off ALL contact with your affair partner, including: email, text, and phone.
 + If the affair was with a coworker, seriously consider changing your workplace.
 + Work hard to build trust and increase communication and intimacy with your spouse.
    Spend time together daily, talk, touch, hug, and hold hands.
 + Ask your spouse what can you do to make him or her feel safe and comforted.
 + Declare and affirm your commitments to your spouse daily.
    For example, say "I love you deeply", “I truly desire you”, and "I am committed to you."
 + Behave in a way that shows that your spouse is very important to you.
 + Offer comfort and reassurance, and be there to soothe your hurt spouse.
 + Validate your partner's pain and accept his or her sad and angry feelings.
 + Willingly accept and tolerate the difficult emotional state of your spouse.
 + Be much more concerned about the feelings of your spouse than those of your affair partner.
 + Explore and identify the attitude that led you to the affair.
 + Realize that it will take a long time to regain the broken trust.
 + Seek professional help, guidance, and support.

 - When your spouse suspects something is wrong, don't lie and deny it.
 - Don't make excuses, don’t try to justify the affair, and don’t blame your spouse for your behavior.
 - Don't be defensive and self-centered.
 - Don’t argue that your behavior was not infidelity, betrayal, and a breach of trust.
 - Don't deny or minimize the pain your spouse experiences.
 - Don't express inauthentic, shallow, or heartless apologies.
 - Don’t continue to lie, act secretively, or hide information.
 - Don't keep using secret accounts, emails, or cell phones.
 - Don't accuse your partner for expressing his or her emotional outbursts.
 - Don't be impatient with the recovery process and consumed with your own feelings.

The impact of an affair on a couple’s relationship is enormous. Unfortunately, most unfaithful partners underestimate the depth of the damage, and many don’t realize the effect of their behavior after the exposure. If not treated well, the betrayed partner will often experience on-going dissatisfaction and become distant and avoidant.

About one third of infidelities result in divorce. Very few couples dealing with an affair develop a thriving relationship without outside help. It will take time to rebuild the broken trust; the recovery process may be long and painful, but it can be successful if both partners are fully committed to it.

If you really want to live fully and love fully, you need to commit to take all the steps needed and do everything necessary to save your relationship and develop a thriving, loving, and fulfilling life together.

Esther Goren, MFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist, providing couples therapy and marriage counseling in SF East Bay Area. Her practice is focused on helping individuals and couples revive their relationships and create loving intimate connections.
Estee Goren, MA, MFT
MFC 50146

425 El Pintado Road, Suite 101
Danville, CA 94526

(925) 399-1177

  Couples Therapy, Pre Marriage Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Couples Counseling, Relationship Coaching in the East Bay area including Danville, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Lafayette, Alamo