Unfaithfulness in a marriage is damaging to the relationship and more often than not therapy is required to end the lingering emotional and psychological damage. Sadly enough infidelity is one of the main reasons of divorce nowadays. The faithful, non-cheating partner can of course have a hard time with trusting their cheating partner.
Luckily, you two do not have to do it on your own. Couples therapy after infidelity can be hugely beneficial.
What is couples therapy?
Having to deal with the debris and aftermath of an affair is hard. You and your spouse should not have to try and deal with it alone. But, your most trusted partner in the world has just betrayed you, so who can you go to for help?
Couples therapy offers a solution.
Both the non-cheating and the cheating partner can benefit from this therapy. In most cases the non-cheating partner will ‘play’ the victim, and of course he or she is a victim. But don’t forget that also the cheating partner is a victim here. Else he or she would not have done committed such an act.
Couples therapy gives both of you a way to cope with the event and to openly express your feelings about the affair. Couples therapy is not meant to be used for justification: what has been done, has been done.
For who is couples therapy?
Every relationship has ups and downs. Unfortunately a lot of couples wait too long before seeing a couple therapist. By then the damage is already done.
Couples therapy is for anyone that is serious about his or her relationship and looking to improve it. Some people are ashamed to see a therapist. But if you have psychological problems that need to be solved, should you not see a therapist? So why not when it’s not only for yourself, but also for your spouse?
One of the reasons why couples are not eager to start with couples therapy is that one of the two is not willing to cooperate. This reinforces the belief that there is indeed a victim and a perpetrator, and that one is right and the other is wrong. As such, couples therapy is only for couples who want to invest time and energy into improving their relationship.
The questions that need to be answered
What went wrong in the first place?
This might seem like an open door. But it truly is one of the vital questions that need to be answered.
It goes without saying that it is also one of the hardest questions to answer, as both partners have a different notion of what went wrong.
Couples therapy after infidelity can help explore this question and delve deep into the emotions that caused the affair to happen in the first place. This creates an opportunity for both the partners to express themselves and their opinion. There is nothing right or wrong here. Both partners need to get an honest chance to tell their side of the story. The therapist will help with this process.
Repairing your relationship and saving your marriage
After the initial phase of discovery of infidelity and deciding whether or not you want to stay together follows the phase of repairing your relationship. It is during this phase that a couples’ therapist can be very helpful in the process of dealing with the damage done and saving your marriage.
In order for you two to heal from the events, it is required that you understand the underlying motivation of the affair and to start working – both of you – on the things that led to the event.
The cheating partner can find it very difficult to understand why he or she cheated in the first place. And if they know, they might not want to share this information for fear of hurting their spouse further.
The opposite is true: by not identifying the real issues at hand, things are likely to get worse.
Besides, by going to a couples therapist together the non-cheating partner can regain a sense of control. It helps to fix the problem together. This can be a first step towards building reassurance and trust in your relationship.
Recovering from the affair and re-building trust
Having to deal with the aftermath of infidelity is tough.
Determination and forgiveness are essential if you and your partner want to continue with your relationship. You should not underestimate both the psychological as well as the emotional damage that has been done. Trust has been destroyed.
You cannot quickly fix trust.
It takes hard work and effort from both of you to recover from the infidelity event.
The good news is that many couples have been able to recover fully from infidelity and have developed an even stronger relationship, with more intimacy and connection.
In order to fully recover there are some factors that determine the outcome:
- Quality of the relationship prior to the affair.
- Commitment of partners to make the relationship work again.
- Communication skills.
- Effective therapy and/or counseling.
By working with a licensed couples therapist you can recover from the pain, resolve the underlying issues and save your marriage.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.