Infidelity leaves you feeling betrayed and devastated. The feeling that you are his special someone is diminished and you wonder if you will ever be able to feel that way again. You desperately want to save your marriage but it seems like your husband is unable to understand how his infidelity makes you feel. It's difficult to look past your pain and even more difficult to empathize with his reasons for having an affair.
Create a safe home environment by agreeing to speak calmly to each other, and set specific times to verbalize the thoughts and feelings you need for your husband to understand. Without this, he likely will feel assaulted and it will leave him feeling like his attempts to make any changes are of little help. Rona Subotnik, a therapist who specializes in coping with infidelity, communicates in her article, "Healing from Infidelity and Depression," the importance of clearing toxicity from the atmosphere before attempting to communicate.
Set rules to enable you to communicate in a civil manner as your husband won't hear or understand your feelings if he feels attacked. Use this specified time to ask questions and let him know how you think and feel. Limit your time on each subject to fifteen minutes and stick to it. If necessary, set a timer.
Begin each sentence with "I feel" or "I think" to keep the focus on what you are saying. "You hurt me," or "you cheated on me," although true, will only set your husband up to feel defensive and likely result in a further breakdown of communication. Remain calm and take turns speaking. If the conversation turns sour, take a break from each other. Avoid interrupting your husband, as this is your opportunity to get your answers. Before responding to him, clarify the answer to your questions to be sure that you fully understand where he is coming from and he has a better understanding of how you are feeling inside.
- Begin your weekly meetings at three times a week for one hour each. Avoid exceeding the hour and gradually decrease the time and frequency as you work through your issues. Consider counseling if you want to repair your marriage but are unable to communicate successfully.
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