YES! As long as each of you is courageous enough to admit that you still want to stay together, confront how each of you contributed to this crisis and be willing to do the hard work of acquiring the skills necessary to rebuild trust and intimacy.
A breach of trust depends entirely on what you and your partner agreed to. If you are the unfaithful partner and you are serious about reconnecting with your spouse, I believe that you must give up your lover (and grieve fully the loss of this relationship) before you can work on rebuilding your marriage.
Each partner must accept an appropriate share of responsibility for the distress that may have contributed to the affair. This does not mean, however, that each partner is equally accountable for the affair.
After the affair is exposed, the hurt partner will be overcome by a profound sense of loss. The unfaithful partner, on the other hand, struggles with conflicting emotions and choices. These feelings are normal.
Couples need to explore all the options in order to make a thoughtful decision about recommitting or ending the marriage. If you decide to recommit, the next step involves months of working to restore trust and intimacy.
During the counseling process, it is important that you :
- decipher the meaning of the affair
- accept an appropriate amount of responsibility for it
- say good-bye to the lover
- earn back the trust of the hurt spouse
- ask for what you need to trust again
- become sexually intimate again
- forgive your partner (if you can)
- forgive yourself
Affairs are deeply wounding. If you choose to work it through, you may eventually come to see this acutely traumatizing experience as a wake-up call - an invitation to assume responsibility for constructing a marriage that never existed before; one based on deep understanding and trust.
However, there are no quick fixes, no magic wands. What heals, I believe, is the cumulative moments of caring acts which make your partner feel valued and secure and willing to risk loving you again.
For you to heal and forgive, you must be sure your partner grasps how deeply you’ve been violated. When you let your partner hold your pain, you can finally begin to let it go and move to a place of genuine forgiveness.