Has Infidelity Shaken The Core Trust In Your Relationship?
Has the foundation of your relationship been threatened or broken by an affair? Perhaps you suspect that your partner has been unfaithful, but are uncertain about how to address the issue. Or maybe you’re the one who cheated and now that the affair is over, you find yourself questioning if and how you should disclose the infidelity to your partner. If the infidelity has been confessed, are you and/or your partner struggling with feelings of anger, shame, blame or guilt and questioning if you should or even can continue your relationship? Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of rebuilding your relationship and creating intimacy now that trust has been broken? Do you wish you could gain clarity and resolution around the affair and restore trust so your relationship can heal and flourish in a new and more wholesome way?
The disclosure of an affair can be devastating. The feelings of betrayal, anger, blame, shame, guilt and isolation can be overwhelming and leave both partners questioning the possibility of recovery. If you are the one who was cheated on, you may be in shock, enraged or shutting down emotionally. You may also be vacillating between feeling hurt and angry and/or demanding excessive apologies or explicit details about the affair. If you committed the infidelity, you may be running circles around your partner, trying to fend off outbursts of anger with either guilty apologies or defensive rage of your own. There’s also the possibility that neither of you are talking about what occurred. You may be going about your daily routines while struggling with an underlying tension that keeps you from having the conversations needed for healing.
Marital Affairs Are More Common Than You May Think
While no one knows for sure how common affairs really are and the data varies considerably, studies suggest that anywhere between 20 and 76 percent of people have engaged in a sexual affair at least once. And, those numbers go up when we factor in emotional infidelities. Most research shows men stepping outside of the relationship more often than women, but in more than 40 years as a counselor, I’ve seen as many women commit infidelity as men. I’ve also learned that affairs often stem from a disconnection in the relationship. Although it’s common to blame the cheating partner for committing a betrayal – and it is fair for the faithful partner to experience feelings of hurt and anger – the underlying causes of an affair often have little to do with sex or blind attraction to another person.
If left unaddressed, affairs threaten intimacy, increase disconnection and can be the demise of a relationship. However, with the help of an experienced couples therapist and the willingness of both parties to openly and thoughtfully engage in the affair recovery process, it is entirely possible to heal from infidelity. Infidelity counseling can help you not only restore trust, but also reach a conciliatory understanding of each other and the experience, which can lead to forgiveness and a stronger, more loving union.
Affair Recovery Counseling Can Help You Rebuild Trust And Create A Strong Bond
Over the span of four decades, I’ve specialized in healing marriages and relationships, particularly those scarred by infidelity. Even if you feel hopeless right now, I know from professional experience that healing from infidelity is entirely possible. In collaborative sessions, I can help you not only understand the external factors that contributed to the affair, but also the specific emotional issues that impacted the breakdown of connection and intimacy in your relationship. With sensitivity, wisdom and compassion, I can help you and your partner manage and process the heated emotions of heartbreak and betrayal so that you can come to a place of forgiveness.
In initial infidelity counseling sessions, both you and your partner will have the safe space and support needed to share your experience and express suppressed feelings of hurt and anger. These first few sessions are usually the most painful, but facing difficult feelings, such as guilt and outrage, is a critical stage of the healing process. During these sessions, I can help each of you express your powerful feelings in genuine, responsible ways that will allow for a calm, understanding dialogue. Rather than entering into a destructive cycle of communication, I can help free you from emotional drama so that true sorrow, apologies and forgiveness can emerge.
In initial sessions, you are your partner will also learn important communication skills that will not only help you process and heal from the affair, but can also aid you in maintaining harmony and connection in your relationship moving forward. Rather than using blaming statements that generally begin with the word “You” and evoke feelings of defensiveness, you and your partner can begin using “I feel” statements, which tend to be more easily accepted and often generate supportive responses.
Once you and your partner have worked through initial heated emotions and have practiced effective communication skills, we’ll examine the circumstances and conditions that allowed the affair to take place. Without judgment or blame, I’ll also help you recognize the roles you both played in the creation of the affair. Over the course of sessions, we’ll address the ongoing difficulties and conflicts in your relationship, unresolved personal issues and the external circumstances that put undue stress or pressure on you, your partner and/or your relationship.
Even though you may feel shame, anger or hurt right now and question your future together, if you and your partner are both willing to heal and forgive, affair recovery is possible. With guidance, support and thoughtful communication, you and your partner can heal from infidelity.
We’ve decided to divorce following an infidelity, but share many assets and children and want to separate amicably. Can affair recovery still help us?
Sometimes couples decide to separate following an affair. If either you or your partner feels that the connection between you has been broken or that you’re out of alignment with values, aspirations and intentions, it may make sense to end your relationship. If that’s the case, I can help you process the emotional aspects of the affair, cultivate compassion and forgiveness and separate in a graceful way that supports each other and your children.
We’ve heard that affair recovery counseling can be expensive and take a long time.
I strongly encourage you to consider infidelity therapy as a valuable investment in not only your relationship, but also in yourselves. There are emotional issues and internal and external circumstances that led to the affair. Left unaddressed, these problems are likely to continue to arise in your relationship. But, through addressing the thoughts, feelings and circumstances that contributed to the affair, it is possible to heal the wounds of betrayal and create an intimate connection that offers you both security and satisfaction. Furthermore, once you and your partner shift into healthier communication, you may experience immediate results. Some couples experience significant improvement in their relationship after just three or four sessions.
I’m worried that talking about the affair will make it seem more real and hurt rather than help our relationship.
If you have children or if you still really love your partner and want to save your relationship, you need to talk through your feelings. Although some sessions may be painful, I provide a nonjudgmental, safe space for you and your partner to openly discuss the deeper issues that led to the affair. These honest conversations often result in new understanding and deeper empathy toward each other. The newfound capacity for open communication becomes a healing force as you and your partner learn to voice and listen to each other’s respective needs. And, if you are both committed to doing the work, anything is possible.