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Her Extramarital Affairs! Will Your Marriage Survive Her Infidelity?

Life After Extramarital Affairs

Her Extramarital Affairs: Will Your Marriage Survive?               (Love & Romance)

Life After Extramarital Affairs

by Lynette De Vries

"It happens to the best of us." The person you married---the one you laughed, cried and shared your soul with---has become someone else, seemingly overnight. She is distant, hostile, unwilling to talk. She has forged a life outside of yours and has developed new interests and friendships that occupy most of her time---time spent away from you. She is vague about her whereabouts and defensive when you question her late returns, her sudden lack of desire, her withdrawal.

She's having an affair, and tearing your marriage down with it, brick by brick. Your marriage---and life as you know---it are over.

Extramarital affairs can have a disastrous effect on your self-esteem, your trust and, of course, your marriage. The good news is, it doesn't have to be. When she's been unfaithful, the natural reaction is to fight or flee. Following are 10 unnatural reactions that can turn your heartache into a second chance at marriage:

Control your emotions. You've just stumbled home after a day of work to find your wife in bed with the TV repairman. Your first reaction is to find your gun and become one of those husbands who commits the all-too-common "crime of passion." You're in no mood or state of mind for decision making, but where is it written that a decision must be made now? Remove yourself from the situation. Go to your cabin up north, or to a friend's house, and cool down. After you're done seeing red, the hurt will still be there. But at least you haven't done anything you'll regret for the rest of your life.

Realize the consequences of getting even. She's been unfaithful, so what's stopping you from slipping into bed with the cute receptionist who's been flirting with you at work? Your wife released you of any moral obligation when she broke her marital "contract," and a romantic back-lash can provide temporary relief. But don't kid yourself---two wrongs don't make a right. In fact, you might add these problems to the mix: feelings of guilt, unwanted pregnancy, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases that can leave you emotionally and physically scarred---or, in the case of AIDS, dead. You'll also put yourself at the mercy of a third party's emotions, and a jealous mistress can be the force that keeps you and your wife apart forever. No one can stop you from giving her a taste of her own medicine, but remember the risks involved. If you still decide that you want to get even, protect yourself with a condom.

Ask questions. Chances are, your wife's affair was a keenly-disguised cry for help. Did she leave a trail of clues? Did she flaunt it? Or did she flat-out confess? Sometimes we go to extreme measures to convey a message: "Yoo-hoo! I'm not getting anything out of this marriage! I need to be listened to, not ignored! I need to feel special, not worthless!" Her affair has opened the door to communication, so take this opportunity and ask her why.

Accept some of the blame. I know---it's hard to feel anything but rage and self-pity when you're the victim of adultery. Sooner or later, you've got to turn that critical eye inward. What did an affair provide her that you couldn't? Attention? Physical pleasure? Confidence? Why wasn't she getting those things at home? Were you wrapped up in your job or the basketball game? Where did your wife rank on your priority list? Granted, you didn't push her into the other man's arms, but maybe you could have made her feel more welcome in yours.

Face the hard facts. For centuries, men have attributed their sexual conquests---extramarital or not---to their biological needs. Society shrugs its shoulders at male infidelity, but the woman who strays is stamped with a scarlett A. Welcome to the 90's, gentlemen. You no longer have to be one of the guys to "get some on the side." This suggests that extramarital affairs are not based 100% on physical needs. The root often lies much deeper: a need for emotional gratification, attention, respect... or simply the need to feel needed.

Don't look back. What's done is done. Dragging that skeleton out of the closet every time you and your wife have an argument makes for a rough road to recovery. The pain of the past cost both of you valuable trust and time, but that doesn't mean it has to cost you your future. Move on.

Find trust. No one wants to be burned twice, and a post-affair marriage is a fire waiting to happen. The first time she gets home late will be difficult. Is history repeating itself? Are you setting myself up for more heartache? Instead of letting your suspicions haunt you, confront your wife. Let her know that your trust will take time to reconstruct. Vent your feelings and encourage her to do the same. Communication will lead to newfound trust in time.

Go the extra mile. Sure, she'll know you're up to something, but would it hurt for her to know you're making an effort? Surprise her with a romantic candlelight dinner... put that project aside for an afternoon of lovemaking... send roses to her at work. Remember the ways you wooed her in the beginning, before you were married and comfortable? You'll have to do better than that.

Get professional help. Often, an extramarital affair creates scars that won't heal on their own. In these cases, it's a good idea to seek relationship therapy. In separate or joint sessions, you and your wife can overcome feelings of guilt, jealousy and anger. Airing your feelings in a controlled environment opens the lines of communication---before long, talking will feel as natural as breathing. Therapists can guide you over the rough spots, encourage honesty, and even improve intimacy. Once you've had success with therapy, you and your wife can begin to help each other.

Learn from the past. Marriage is a 24-hour job. In order for your relationship to thrive, you have to put all of your attention, energy, heart and soul into it. While the shaky times---your wife's affair included---can't be erased, it can be balanced and minimized by a positive today and hundreds of happy tomorrows. It's easy to lapse into the "old ways," when your marriage took a back seat to the daily grind. Don't let it happen again. Hold true to your new priorities---and the vows you exchanged a long time ago---and you can make the wrongs of yesterday a learning experience.

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