Successfully rebuilding trust after an extra-marital affair is possible but it can be difficult, lengthy and overwhelming. An affair can have a devastating effect on marriage and can be an agonizing crisis for a couple. Responses to the discovery or revelation of an affair range from sadness, shock, despair to anger, rage and confusion. It is important to understand that rebuilding after an affair is a process which includes six distinct stages. The stages include denial, shock, anger, rage and then finally acceptance and forgiveness.
Making the decision to stay together and remain in the marriage is a huge step and is often a fluid decision. In other words, staying together may seem like a good idea at certain times. At other times it may seem too difficult and painful to do. Many couples try to rush their ?recovery,? when in reality, time and distance are needed to help heal the relationship. When either partner is experiencing pain and grief, the recovery process can seem endless.
By engaging in an affair and violating marriage vows, the fundamental elements of marriage, trust, honor and commitment are damaged. When a partner finds out that their partner had an affair it can cause them to question their beliefs about marriage and their perception of their partner. In other words it damages the emotional safety of the marriage.
There are several steps to go through to recover from an affair and the most difficult step can be to rebuild trust within the relationship. In order for a spouse who participated in an affair to rebuild trust, some of the following suggestions may be helpful. (Author abstract)