I have been asked, in the past, if offering couples therapy after an affair is any use. A lot of issues are raised. For example, trust, honesty, self-esteem and confidence to name a few. It’s not only the relationship that is harmed but the individuals within it and in close proximity. Honesty, communication and taking responsibility are important. Remember, the question above could be ‘how to recover from having an affair’?
There are many reasons relationships experience challenges. I will focus on, in my experience as a counsellor and person, one of the most common.
The affair. Why did it happen?
Your relationship, your individual stories, the pressure of your lifestyle and your beliefs are all factors that can help understand why an affair has happened.
Think about when it happened. What was your partners’ state of mind? What was your state of mind? Whatever the trigger, can it be fixed?
Be honest with yourselves and each other. Above all, repairing the trust can take a while and can be distressing but be patient.
Two important takeaways:
- You are not responsible for the ‘other’ having the affair.
- However, just because everything is rosy doesn’t mean they will not get ‘cosy’.
Can relationship therapy save a relationship?
We all have our ups and downs. As a result, every relationship has its problems. A relationship counsellor can help. Here are some suggestions:
- The one who had the affair must break it off. Most importantly, finally and permanently. You both need a solid foundation to rebuild on.
- Leave no room for doubt. Be clear and transparent about where you are and who you’re with.
- It’s about rebuilding trust. Don’t be afraid to ask or answer questions.
- Manage your communications. Agree a time limit. Try not to talk if you’re emotional or tired. If possible don’t be accusatory. Above all, talk about how you feel.
- Discuss options for limiting the chances of the situation repeating itself for you or your partner.
- If you want to stay together lay the foundations. Essentially make a ‘new contract’.
- Chances are you loved each other once. Why?
- Sex? Take your time, be patient. Let the desire grow within and between you. Sometimes a partner may feel the need to have sex to dispel the anger and hurt experienced due to the affair. To assert their place. It’s not a pissing contest. Therefore, make love not war.
What are some effects of an affair?
Should you stay together? Only the two of you can answer that question. You both need to communicate. Honestly, between yourselves and within yourselves. Relationship therapy can help.
However, the affair and fall out will affect the two of you, without doubt. Consequently, others will be affected. Children, family, friends to name but a few. Consider the overall picture not just one aspect. For example ‘staying together for the kids’. They may be better off away from a hostile environment.
Is the unfaithful partner really sorry regarding the damage done to your relationship or just sorry they got caught. It matters.
An affair doesn’t mean the end of a relationship but it would be naive to classify it as anything other than a crisis. Talk to each other about your needs, wants and expectations. As above renegotiate a new contract. A contract between yourselves in the relationship as opposed to the relationship within society. Relationship therapy may help you to navigate the choppy waters. A chart of how to recover after an affair.
Should I stay or Should I Go?
We are all affected by our past, present and (hoped for) future. So you know what happened – but try to understand why. Communicate honestly between your selves and within yourselves.
Communication is necessary. Honest communication is critical. The affair has challenged most of your beliefs within the relationship. Most importantly trust. As a result, there will come a time when the talking gives way to action. Stay together or part. However, that is your, and only your, choice.
Most importantly, we all have our ups and downs. Getting our needs, expectations and hopes ‘out there’ and communicated is surely a better way forward than an emotional ‘knee jerk decision’. I am not suggesting emotions don’t matter. They do, hugely.
How to recover after an affair? What questions are you really asking:
- can a marriage work after an affair?
- how to get over an affair?
- can you forgive a cheater?
- how to move on from an affair?
I do feel understanding is a better platform for making such important decisions. Relationship therapy can provide a safe place where you can be heard and maybe answer the question you are really asking.
‘How to recover from an affair?’. Make it your choice (ii).
‘Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.’
‘I’m sure the vast majority of us need it. Relationships can be tough’ JoAnn, @Midnight Harmony https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/96154581