When repairing a marriage after emotional infidelity, denial is one of the first hurdles many couples face.
In many ways, denial only fuels an already stressful situation. It prevents either spouse from admitting their mistakes, and unless the problem is openly discussed, healing can never really begin.
My name is Alan and I am a guest blogger on Mort’s site. Below, I explain how to identify denial and steps you can take to recover from emotional infidelity in marriage.
In situations of emotional infidelity, denial takes many forms.
One spouse may refuse to admit that an outside friendship with someone of the opposite sex has gone too far.
A cheating husband or wife may resort to lying about their whereabouts.
They may decide they haven’t done anything wrong. They might even go so far as to place blame on their spouse for their own mistakes.
To recover from emotional cheating, couples must first recognize moments of denial and then take action to change that denial into admission.
So what exactly does denial look like?
It’s different for every marriage, but here are some examples of the more common tactics:
“We’re just friends”- This is an age-old defense. You or your spouse may have a relationship someone else that has blurred the lines of what is appropriate. When confronted, the cheating spouse may deny the problem, saying “We’re just friends.” This may be true, but when it comes to fulfilling emotional needs, a friend should not be a substitute for your spouse.
Excusing away behavior –This form of denial goes both ways. The cheating spouse may have an answer for everything. The victim might wave their partner’s conduct away with statements like, “Oh, he’s just having fun,” or “It’s just the way he is.” The bottom line is this: behavior that is does not build a healthy marriage should never be excused away.
Displacing the blame – Often times, the spouse involved in the affair will fault their partner instead of themselves. They will throw out statements like, “If you would only do this for me.” They may also accuse their partner of being paranoid or jealous.
Don’t ask, don’t tell – In a case of emotional infidelity, denial may take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” form. Husband and wife think that if they ignore the affair, the problem will disappear on its own. This is not true. You have to cope with infidelity to move past it.
Selective memory – When confronted, some spouses will claim to forget certain events or behaviors. They will play dumb. This only escalates the tension and can lead to even more heated arguments.
Confronting Emotional Infidelity: Denial Should Be the First to Go
After an emotional affair, you may think you will never be able to reconcile your differences and wonder, “Should I stay or should I go?”
Before you pull the trigger on a divorce, remember that change comes slowly. You have to take it one day at a time.
The journey starts at denial.
In situations of emotional infidelity, denial problems must be tackled before any progress can be made in restoring a broken marriage.
Coming face to face with the truth is not an easy thing to do, but it is absolutely necessary to put your marriage back together.
Here are some suggestions about how to deal with denial:
Own up to your denial – You need to first come to a realization about your emotional infidelity and denial. Name your behavior for what it is.
Admit your mistakes – Both husband and wife should lay claim to their OWN mistakes. Stop playing the blame game and voice where you went wrong. Then strategize and come up with a plan to change yourself, not your spouse.
Forgive each other – Once you have aired out your dirty laundry, so to speak, you need to offer forgiveness to each other. Once you let go of the past, you can begin focusing on how to improve your relationship today.
Get help –Emotional infidelity, denial, betrayal and brokenness cannot be overcome alone. Turn to an experienced professional who can guide you as you restore your marriage.
You might wonder, “Is marriage counseling really for me?”
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