How to Create Safety in Your Marriage/To the SA
To the SA Trying to Save Their Marriage
All marriages recovering from infidelity of any sort have different needs than a marriage that has never had that sort of violation. There is a complete new set of expectations and beliefs that will come to bear on both partners. If there is sincere regret and a want to change things for the better there is a much higher percentage of recovery than in a relationship where the offending partner won’t admit wrong or take responsibility. If they are on board with making things work you will need a new safety plan. This will give you both an idea of what is expected and appropriate. I will list my suggestions but all couples need to make these decisions together. If the offending partner doesn’t like a rule that the hurt person needs to feel safe, I suggest going with it on a temporary basis if possible. That will go a long way in making things easier. This post is mostly framed towards the person who cheated as they are the ones who made the decisions that led here. No I am not attacking or blaming, this is just how it is at this time.
Go No Contact Immediately
The poor decision maker must get rid of all ways to contact the other person. They need to be blocked on all social media. There can be absolutely no contact. No goodbye talk, no ending is softly. If you must let them know for some reason, it MUST go through your spouse(which I DO NOT recommend) . You can not have any contact by email or text or anything. You should probably change your number and email and anything else used for contact. If you change email allow your spouse to deactivate the account and do a random password so there is no temptation to re-offend. If it is porn all content must be thrown out or deleted. I suggest you get monitoring software on every single device you have access to. Even children’s devices. Blocking can be gotten around but monitoring where it takes random screenshots is much harder to not get caught.
All Passwords Shared
All passwords must be shared- This is from both sides and there can not be any lies. If you keep something private it will be like you cheated again without doing anything more that having an email account. If you are hiding something there is a reason and you probably need to address the issue. You can make the choice to move forward or back. There is no in between. The one exception is messages between Sponsors/Councilors/Coaches. Those should be the ONLY thing private.
No hiding anything- Yes I am saying this in different ways multiple times but I have seen that at times people will try to maneuver or manipulate the rules to get what they want or do what they want. There can be no hiding anything or lying at all or it will re-traumatize your partner and start everything over and will break any trust you have worked for.
Show you are able to do what you say
Must be where you say at all times-This goes along with the other stuff on lying but also because if you aren’t where you say you will be the first thought will be that you’re cheating RIGHT NOW, and that can be a very hard thought to overcome even if you prove where you were because of past lies.
Communication needs to be established and on a very regular basis I usually say a daily check in is needed from both sides and a weekly thorough talk. Yes this is a lot of talking and at first it will be hard because the constant focus will be about what happened but to get through that part you must actually go through the pain. There is no way around.
The offending partner must understand that this was an earth shattering situation and will take time to heal even somewhat. You can not expect things to just go back to normal or even have much privacy if you want to continue your relationship. Do not expect to be good for a week and feel that you should now be able to have your privacy back, as that will not go over well and also speaks to your need for immediate gratification. No matter how long you lied and hid stuff it will take at least a year to JUST get through the emotions from the betrayal. If it was a long period, think of it this way, you lied for that amount of time it should probably take at least that long to overcome the pain and betrayal. I honestly can’t stress this one enough. I have seen it in almost every relationship my clients have. The offender feel that it’s unfair to keep them under lock and key because at that moment they really believe they won’t ever do it again so it’s an affront to their dignity that we dont believe them. As addicts they really believe what they are saying, but I have NEVER seen it work out well if the person is given trust back too early. You need to earn it back to really appreciate what you have. You need to strive for it and understand it or it will be too easy to throughout again.
Just the Beginning
These are just a very small amount of ways to re-establish safety in your relationship. This is your number one priority after staying sober. If you want this to work you will need to think of your spouse as needing you to care for their feelings and needs as much or more than your own at this time. I understand that everyone wants some space that they don’t allow anyone else into be it email or message or whatever, but as you chose to cheat, now you have to be completely transparent so your significant other can see that you are trying to fix things. In this situation you literally broke something and while you WANT it back to normal, there in no way to do that. You will need to find a new normal with your partner. They will feel upset, hurt angry, and sacred. You will need to be able to listen to the hurt and not lash out or go to your addiction. Try to hear what is behind the anger, not what is being said. This will take time and patience no both sides. If you want to make this work you will need to learn how to open up and allow them in. I know that may seem scary as most addicts feel if others really knew them no one would want them but how freeing will it be to be YOU and still loved? That is what is being offered, take the opportunity.
If you have any questions or comments leave me a note below and I am available for one on one coaching or couples coaching. If you’d like to look into that there is a link with a discount below. That will only be good until JULY 3rd, so if you’re thinking about trying out my services now is a great time to do it.
Karina is a remarkable coach with incredible communication skills. She aided me and my partner in a miscommunication and with her guidance we used active listening and resolved the issue that was causing strain in our relationship.
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