Can Affairs Can Be A Gift for a Marriage?

by Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT


Not all affairs happen in bad marriages but affairs usually cause a good marriage to go bad. The attention given to a marriage after an affair is revealed; however, can bring changes that allow couples to grow closer than ever before and resolve issues long unresolved.

 Affairs happen for many different reasons.

Technology today makes it way too easy to fall into something before you even realize it has happened. (One recent research study noted that facebook was mentioned in about 1/3 of divorce cases.)

More and more people are getting reconnected to sweethearts from their past and renewing old acquaintances, reliving old memories and sharing stories which can lead to feelings that seem to be, or actually are, feelings of love.

 
 
Partners can take each other for granted and forget to nurture the relationship. It is also very easy, with busy lives, to avoid working through conflicts and disagreements which lead to stored-up anger, hurt and resentment.


Whether a bad marriage opened a door for an affair or facebook or a reunion or just “being in the same place at the same time” led someone in a good marriage to have an affair, marriages and the people who are in them, are in need of a great deal of healing.



Affairs Can Provide an Opportunity For Healing

An affair is not a gift that anyone would ask for … but such a strong and painful wake-up call that often causes couples to recognize the state of their marriage and determine and define what they want and need to have a healthy, viable and faithful relationship.

Many couples that we have met find that their marriage grows even stronger as they progress through the work that needs to be completed to heal from an affair.

The vulnerability and openness that emerges is fertile ground to open up conversations that have never occurred or happened very poorly and in hurtful or painful ways.

After the initial aftermath and the work has been started to heal from the affair and rebuild trust, then spouses are often more ready to take responsibility for their part of the problems in the overall marriage and consciously work toward making changes that they can to strengthen the relationship.

After Sandy’s affair was revealed, for several weeks, Jim was not ready to hear anything at all about his part of any problems in the marriage. After time passed, both were calmer and Sandy acknowledged that she had made a huge mistake and hurt him terribly; Jim was ready to see how some of what he did contributed to the chasm in their marriage and own his part in recovering the closeness that they both desired.

Begin the Healing BEFORE An Affair

Most people should not wait until major surgery is needed before taking action to heal a problem. The same is true for relationships. Do not wait until the problem is so severe that drastic action occurs. Be pro-active and preventive. Find ways to heal wounds, recognize and avoid temptations and protect the health of the relationship.