The Broken Trust

Later Alan admitted it began with small things. He’d meet a woman and remember what it was like to try to pick her up, back before he was married. When he thought about it, it felt like then he’d been free, and young. Now…now he felt older, and tied down. Then one day he met a woman through work, a client. They met at the local diner just to talk over business, and Alan found himself interested in, well…more than business. She didn’t know he was married, and with her he didn’t feel married.

Pretty soon he wasn’t acting married, either. Pretty soon he was having an extra-marital affair.

It was kind of fun. It was kind of horrible. He loved his wife. He loved his marriage. He knew if Beth ever found out he’d never figure out how to rebuild trust. But…chasing after Helen was such a thrill.

And then Beth did find out, and nothing was thrilling anymore. Alan’s extra-marital affair had turned to hell in a matter of minutes.

For Alan it seemed like the end of the world. He’d never wanted to leave his marriage. He’d just wanted that young, wild feeling, and the sense of being free. Now he wasn’t just free, he was alone. Even Helen wasn’t talking to him once she found out he’d been married all along.

One day he sat down and wrote Beth the hardest letter of his life, asking her if she would go into counseling with him and try together to learn how to rebuild trust. Later he would say it was the second smartest thing he ever did, topped only by marrying Beth in the first place.

Can counseling really help rebuild the trust after an extra-marital affair?

That depends on the two people in the marriage. But if both people are committed to the process and willing to work hard then yes, couples counseling can work.

How long does it take?

Learning how to rebuild trust in a marriage damaged by an extra-marital affair can take months. The damage can go deep and often damages every assumption partners have made about how to work together. But, in time, healing can and does happen.

Many people feel an extra-marital affair is the end of a marriage. However, the majority of marriages do in fact survive an affair. While some only survive, others can actually thrive. A counselor can help make that difference, working with the two of you together to rebuild trust, and strengthen the commitment that can hold you together through the crisis and even come out stronger for it.

Don’t just give up on the most important relationship in your life. You gave yourself to this marriage, and made promises you meant to keep. It’s time to stand by those promises, now. Find a counselor, even if you have to start alone, and begin the long healing. By rebuilding trust and reweaving the bonds of love, you and your spouse can recover from the damage of an extra marital affair.


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