Marriage After Infidelity: When Working on the Relationship Is Not Working

Rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is never easy, and couples who are in a “polarized” relationship, where one needs to talk things through and the other just wants to move on, are faced with the added problem of having to deal with this barrier of not being able to communicate. Communication is one of the biggest tools that you need when rebuilding a marriage after infidelity.

The following are some of the other common issues that “polarized” couples have to deal with:

1. Usually, one or even both of the partners feel the need to kind of sacrifice their needs for the other because they want to be able to make their partner happy. This only really works for a little while because having to set aside one’s personal needs for a long period of time eventually causes resentment and anger. You might see it as admirable that you are setting your needs aside for you to be able to cater to your partner, but it is actually cowardly. Having the courage to ask, not demand, for your needs to be met will come a long way in restoring respect and trust in your marriage.

2. Also, the couple sometimes takes for granted the opportunity to really look into their issues, take them apart and try to fix them. They tend to have a let’s-start-over attitude about the whole thing and ignore their problems instead of finding solutions to get through them. Although it is easier to “leave the past in the past” and forget everything that’s happened, there is no guarantee that those issues won’t resurface after some time. In fact, they most definitely will sooner or later. So it is much more beneficial for your relationship to dig into those issues and face them as soon as you are able.

3. And lastly, what occurs in most instances is that after the initial efforts made in working on the relationship, the couple reverts back to their old ways and loses the progress they make. They go back to the way they used to be – how they acted, talked and treated each other in the past becomes the norm once again. This is a crucial part in rebuilding a marriage after infidelity — to maintain the progress and the changes  that you’ve made. And it takes real, conscious effort — at least for a certain time — for you to really be able to make those changes a part of your routine and a part of your life.


  1. No. 3 in this article is so true. I’ve been through infidelity, but I’ve found that faith in God, seeking out godly counsel from married couples who have been married for some time and are happy, and being true about what I’m feeling has helped me through the healing process. Satan seeks to tear a marriage a part by any means necessary. But the Bible says, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” We have to be so careful about how you compliment others of the opposite sex when you’re married, because there’s a thin line between a mere compliment and flirting. If you are moved by someone else of the opposite sex giving you a compliment, maybe it’s time to share that you need to be stroked in that way with your spouse. Perhaps he/she doesn’t realize that you’re in need of that display of love or attention. He/she can’t read your mind. And it’s definitely okay to change for the better.

  2. The statistics queotd in the OP seem to me to require a rather broad definition of infidelity. But even so, as evidenced by some of the comments, that definition seems more than justified. A number of commenters have related anectdotes about emotional infidelity and the terminal impact such infidelity can have on a marriage. I think that for Mormons and other cultures and religions that place a stiff penalty on physical infidelity that emotional infidelity may be more pervasive and acceptable because, technically speaking, no overt sin has been committed. Until an article appeared in the September 2009 Ensign, I don’t remember Church leadership even hinting that such a thing as emotional infidelity existed much less the possibility that it may be a sin.This past year I’ve had to deal with marital infidelity myself. My approach to coping with the situation, like my response to most things in life, was to learn as much about the phenomenon as possible. I read books and articles, spoke with a half dozen marriage counselors (some Mormon and some not), and visited a few support groups. When I first learned of my wife’s infidelity, outside of the predictable ruch of emotions, I also felt isolated and alone how wrong was I. Of the marriage counselors with whom I spoke they all indicated that fidelity issues accounted for more than half of the couples they counseled(hence the existence of support groups). Learning of the pervasiveness of the infidelity phenomenon really helped me forgive my spouse. Why I would find it easier to forgive a common sin versus a rare one is a puzzle I haven’t had time to think through but knowing that my wife was not uniquely wicked really made a difference in the healing process.


  1. […] in marriage is very common when you decide to stay in a marriage to restore it when you discover that your partner is having an affair. And even for couples who […]

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