If your spouse has had multiple affairs, you may struggle to have any hope for the future of your marriage. You may have sincerely trusted him when he told you he was sorry the first time, only to be shocked to discover he was cheating again. Your feelings of dismay are normal. An affair can bring devastation to a marriage, according to Susan Heitler, author of "From Conflict to Resolution." Despite the difficulty, there are ways that may help heal your marriage after dealing with multiple affairs.
Request That Contact Be Cut Off
The very first thing you must do to begin the healing process in your marriage is to request that your spouse cut off all contact with old lovers. You will not be able to function in your marriage if you think that your spouse has any communication with anyone he had feelings for. Ending an affair does not just include simply putting a stop to sexual intercourse, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, it also means putting an end to coffee breaks, emails, text messages and any other sort of communication, because these are the daily communications that fueled the continuation of intimacy.
Your spouse needs to be honest with you about his reasons for being unfaithful -- especially, his reasons for having done with multiple partners. The broken trust that occurred as a result of all this infidelity is usually healed most effectively when the cheating spouse is completely honest, according to Heitler. While you do not need to know the details of his affairs, you will be able to regain trust more quickly if he is honest and answers the questions you have for him. If he continues to hide, you will have a difficult time learning to trust him again.
Express Your Feelings
You may simply need to sit down and have an honest talk with your spouse about how his actions have hurt you. Likely, this may not be easy. He may be hesitant to discuss this at all or he may be hesitant about being honest. You should bring up your doubts, disappointments, feelings of anger and sadness and discuss these with your spouse, according to Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria, authors of "The 7 Stages of Marriage." Do not hold back your feelings or pretend to be feeling better after a short time. Your inner feelings will betray your outward front of trying to feel better, or of pretending to feel better, and this show will only create more distance between you and your spouse.
It may seem like a difficult task, but avoiding resentment is essential if you want your marriage to succeed. Although your spouse's multiple affairs may seem like too much to overcome, it may be more doable than you suspect. Almost every couple thinks that infidelity would lead to divorce, but most make an effort to reconcile, according to Willard F. Harley, author of "His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage." Resentment will make it difficult to see the good in your spouse. If your spouse has apologized and is changing his behavior, focus on his current attitude, instead of his past mistakes. Your marriage will heal much more easily.
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- Beyond Affairs: When your Spouse has had more than One Affair
- Love Spirit: The High Cost of Resentment and Anger in Marriage
- His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage; Willard Harley
Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.
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