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Can you save a marriage after infidelity?

I’ve been an Oregon divorce attorney-mediator for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen just about every mistake people make in marriage

Infidelity is the biggest.

You CAN save your marriage after infidelity – IF (capital IF) both people are willing to put in the work.

I designed Mediation Northwest to be a boutique divorce mediation firm. We handle our clients’ matters from beginning to end. Based on my experience, here’s the hard truth your friends and families won’t tell you about saving your marriage.

Can a marriage survive infidelity?

Marriage can be a beautiful relationship. If you and your partner are struggling with healing your marriage after infidelity, but recognize your marriage is worth saving, then save it!

It’s possible to heal after infidelity and save your marriage if both people understand and acknowledge the following:

  • The infidelity,
  • The broken trust, 
  • The need to repair that trust, 
  • The underlying reasons for the affair, and
  • How you each want to move forward in life.

You can’t skip any of these steps. 

Each party must also acknowledge their obligations:

  • The person who was unfaithful has the obligation to own it, and also, for the future, not have any expectation of privacy in their phone, in their other relationships, etc.
  • The person who was not unfaithful needs to truly forgive the infidelity and not bring it up as ammunition in future arguments.

Should you go to counseling after infidelity?

Yes, without any equivocation.

Saving your marriage requires counseling. It requires time. BUT… (and I cannot emphasize this enough) you can’t ignore the underlying reason for the infidelity. 

It’s easy to “forgive” and ignore the underlying reason, but that would just be kicking the can down the road. 

When couples ignore underlying issues, it essentially leads to another honeymoon stage. But this time, the honeymoon stage will come crashing down and crush you even worse than the initial affair… because you knew better.

How to know if your marriage is worth saving

Only you can decide whether your marriage is worth saving.

But if you and your spouse want to give it another shot – take your time, get counseling, and learn the underlying reason for the infidelity. 

Once you have learned the underlying reason for the infidelity, then it’s time to look at how you want your future to look. This takes time. Sometimes it takes a year. Why? Because you need to separate your future view from your hurt of the infidelity. 

Here’s the rub: a primary reason for infidelity is unhappiness in the present. So, if a party to the marriage is unhappy, then exploring what makes each party, individually, happy in the future is just as important as forgiving the infidelity. 

Do you see what I mean about not skipping a step? If you skip even one of those steps, it’s just a matter of time until either another unfaithful moment or you pull the divorce trigger 10 years from now due to unhappiness.

In short, if you both can heal from the underlying reason, if you can both make changes to eliminate the underlying reason, if forgiveness is possible, and if you both share how you want your future to be, then continue to work on the marriage. 

If your vision is different, then part as loving co-parents who only want the best for each other while recognizing that doesn’t have to be a relationship together.

What to do if you’re ready for a divorce in Oregon

There is no shame in trying to make your marriage work – and there’s no shame in recognizing it isn’t working anymore.

Divorce mediation balances each party’s needs so that neither party feels screwed over. 

In an Oregon mediation, the mediator guides the parties through an agenda and the parties talk about the problem and the solutions to the problem. If a party gets off track, the mediator guides them back to the agenda. If a party is unreasonable, the mediator will reality-check them.

If you decide a divorce is in your future and you have children, you need to create a functional co-parenting relationship with the other party. Because mediation requires you to work together to determine the terms of your divorce, you learn different ways to interact and communicate and can create future expectations for how the party will interact with you.

In short, mediation teaches you how to interact differently with each other so that your future can be different.

Contact an Oregon divorce attorney-mediator to discuss your options

If you are considering mediation, our boutique Oregon divorce mediation firm can help you assess whether mediation is the right choice for your situation. Mediation can be an excellent option for many couples. At Mediation Northwest, we have no desire to drag our clients through a long and unnecessary court proceeding. We are honest with our clients and advise them to use the process that best suits their needs. Click here to schedule a consultation to get started.

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