By Barbara Longsworth

Marriage is a two-way street and there are a number of things that can put a marriage at risk. But when it comes to divorce, the number one reason has been related directly to infidelity. In most cases, just the idea of a spouse cheating is cause enough to begin divorce proceedings. However, this does not necessarily have to be the final decision.

Obviously, infidelity is a sign that there are some serious problems in a relationship, but it is possible for the relationship to survive if this is the desired outcome. This result can be achieved through hard work, communication and mutual cooperation. But it is to be understood that both partners must work hard as opposed to one partner leveling all the blame and expecting the cheating partner to do all of the work and adjusting.

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The work that is being referred to is the goal of forgiveness that should be sought by the partner who has committed the infidelity. The mistake needs to be addressed and there must be genuine sorrow for that mistake. These are considered to be major elements for the relationship survival and healing process that needs to take place. But the partner who has not committed infidelity also has a distinctive role to play in the process.

There must be an allowance extended to the cheating partner that will make room for forgiveness and present the partner the opportunity for atonement. A close look at the entire relationship will need to take place in order to see where the breakdown occurred. This is an excellent opportunity to see just where the relationship problems have initiated and to work on correcting them.

The ways that a couple decides on handling this situation are, of course, up to them. But some form of counseling or therapy is generally considered to be a good idea. In any case, some couples will agree that a temporary separation is a good idea in order to let things cool off for a bit before trying to rebuild a relationship. Others may feel that immediate care is needed in order to get back on the right track. All of this will depend on the personality of the couple. The time needs to be correct in order to initiate a positive dialog.

The main thing to be wary of is the fact that emotions will be heightened at the beginning of the recovery process. This will make it important not to try to rush the reconciliation and to proceed at a cautious pace. Even with good intentions towards repairing the relationship, it must be acknowledged that time and space will be required to achieve any long term goal of re-establishing communication and trust.

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