Hackers broke into a database of 37 million users for the cheating site Ashley Madison, whose motto is, "Life is Short, Have an Affair."
We are talking about a potential of millions of divorces. These couples will be faced with the question of whether they should stay together and how it is even possible to repair after an affair.
Do couples have to end their marriage after discovering their partner cheated?
Not necessarily. It's a choice.
If you both want to stay in your marriage, then it is possible to repair.
If you're the one that cheated, and you want to stay with your spouse, you need to fully admit to what you did and express sincere regret for your actions.
You also need to resolve to never do it again.
Finally, you need to commit to real changes in the relationship as a gift to your spouse.
Yes you may not have been getting what you needed from your marriage, hence your turning to Ashley Madison. However, the silver lining in the hacking breach is that it is a new opportunity for you to repair your marriage and make it even better than it ever was.
Is it possible to heal?
Yes. It takes time to rebuild the trust that was broken. But with commitment and hard work, it is possible to heal and get over the affair, creating a loving and fulfilling relationship for both partners.
If you're the one that cheated, realize that your spouse may be very angry and feel betrayed. It may take a while for him/her to calm down and come to grips with what you did.
This may mean having to constantly reassure your spouse and grovel.
In order to prove that you are trustworthy, you may have to go over and beyond what you are comfortable with. This may mean handing over all of your passwords, your calendar, your cellphone, so that you are completely transparent.
This will help rebuild the trust and take away your spouse's doubts that you are still cheating.
If you only stopped cheating because you got caught, there will be even greater suspicion that you're remorseful, because your husband or wife will think you ONLY stopped due to Ashley Madison's hacking breach.
How long should you let your spouse be upset with you?
It will take time. If you were cheating on Ashley Madison since it's inception in 2001, don't expect your spouse to get over it in a few months.
Unfortunately, this is the price that you may have to pay for what you did. If you want your marriage back, you'll work your hardest, and your sincere efforts will be recognized.
Not sure if you do want your marriage back?
There's a reason why you didn't just leave your spouse for this other person that you're cheating with. Whether you have a family, know the financial disadvantages of getting divorced, or it's just too comfortable to leave, there are probably many good reasons to stay in your relationship instead of starting your life anew.
If you fell in love with your spouse many years ago, that initial spark that brought you together is still there, despite the years of pain that you both may be feeling from your relationship being unfulfilled.
The good news is that if you take the time to explore how things got to this point, and learn new, healthier ways of being married, you can reignite the spark.
We're here to help you both get clarity about your future because we know there is a lot at stake for both of you, regardless of what you end up choosing to do.
With best wishes for your relationship success,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin