11 Stubborn Barriers to “Makingover” Your Relationship
By Dr. Huizenga
Your relationship has suffered a deep wound from marital infidelity. Both of you have a level of commitment to “make it work.” The OP is out of the picture – a least to a large degree.
You know there is a crisis. You know you must “get at” the problem. Now is the time. If you don’t address the crisis NOW, in some way, you know the chances for having a vibrant rich relationship are spiraling downward.
Efforts to “makeover” your relationship after marital infidelity demand a fair degree of feeling safe with one another. Often this is not the case.
Barriers to safety need attention before any “makeover,” resolution or joint decision making can occur. Often you are not aware of the specifics of the barriers. Or, you have a difficult time addressing them.
The barriers or walls sit in the background casting their debilitating shadows.
Your intentions may be pure. But, once you face each other, the barriers quickly squelch the hope for any positive outcome. In reality you think, “Here we go again. The same-old-same-old.” You feel defeated by marital infidelity.
Below, I’ve listed 11 common barriers.
1. I want to talk, he/she doesn’t.
2. I’m afraid of finger-pointing, judgment. I will become the “bad person.”
3. The conversation will eventually turn to “what I did wrong” or “how I caused this problem.”
4. I’m fearful I will back down, give in and then pretend that things are fine.
5. I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings.
6. I don’t know how to put into words what I want to say.
7. I’m afraid “it” won’t work. Then what? I’d rather not face that.
8. I don’t want to talk about the past, but think I will have to.
9. We can’t (really don’t want to) find a time to get together.
10. I don’t feel safe. He/she might use what I say against me at some point.
11. I feel guilty, awful. I can’t get past that.
Here’s a tip. Begin to address these barriers of marital infidelity by talking about them. Rank order the list with #1 being the most stubborn barrier. Compare lists. See if you agree.
Begin to talk about the barriers. Listen, without judgment, as your partner talks about his/her perceptions.
Addressing the “processes” in your relationship rather than the “content” is often a fruitful starting point when it comes to marital infidelity.