No one knows for sure, but it is estimated that affairs affect 40-70% of all marriages. Most affairs are eventually discovered. During this devastating time, people often disclose the affair to friends and family in search of necessary support.
So what happens when it’s you? Your partner cheated. You are devastated. You run out and tell your friends and family. This is okay because you do need the support, but you are surprised once your relationship is on the mend that your friends and family are the ones who haven’t gotten over it.
First things first: if you have any inclination that your relationship may stay intact, only disclose to people who aren’t too emotionally invested in the relationship. The less invested they are, the more objective they can be. Objectivity is what you need right now and will provide you with the most support. You may want someone to cry and get angry with you, but it will not serve you in the long run.
But, if the deed is already done, here’s what you need to do:
1. Involve those you told in the process of your reconciliation.
It’s not fair that you initially spilled all the juicy details and now you want to be tight-lipped and say that everything is fine. Let them know about the therapy you are receiving (you did get therapy, right?). Give them some insight into your process, the revelations experienced and the changes made. It will help them understand your decision to stay. You owe them that much for going through this emotional roller coaster with you. If it’s family, you should do this as a couple.
2. Let them know the conversation is over.
After you have involved them in the process, it is okay to let them know that you are both in a place where you are moving forward and not talking about the affair as a couple. Thank them sincerely for their support during this struggle and let them know that you won’t be talking about it anymore.
You may want someone to cry and get angry with you, but it will not serve you in the long run.
3. You may need some space.
If the anger and resentment from a loved one is severe, this may be a time to distance yourself from that relationship for a while. The reality is that an affair affects many more than the two involved. You may have inadvertently ripped off an affair wound which is causing them to take this affair personally. You need to have a difficult conversation explaining how their feelings are affecting you and that you appreciate their care for you, but that you are doing well and you need to give them some space and time to recognize that. When they are feeling more accepting of your current relationship, you can reconnect. Most people eventually move on when they see that you are thriving.
This is a difficult time for all involved. Although you need to focus on self-care, you also have to help those who have helped you.
Lastly, remember the wise words about marriage,
“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Ruth Bell Graham
We also recommend How My Husband and I Survived My Affair, 5 Fresh Ways to Work on Your Marriage (When He Isn’t), Anatomy of a Strong Woman, A Woman of Grit Without a Hard Heart, and How the 5 Love Languages Can Change Your Relationship