Is infidelity therapy worth your time or is it just a pipe-dream to believe that your broken relationship can be salvaged? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the person or persons entering counseling. Attitude and outlook are extremely important when determining whether couples therapy post affair is going to be a success or not.
If you’re wondering what infidelity therapy is, the answer is a simple as its name. This form of counseling is as it sounds: Counseling designed for couples who have gone through infidelity at some point in their relationship. Regardless if the affair is fresh or from years gone by, infidelity therapy can help a couple process the information and create a plan for moving forward with a healthy, rejuvenated relationship.
Does infidelity therapy really work?
There is no guarantee with any form of therapy. The success of couples counseling depends largely on the couple and their abilities to forgive, listen, learn, and grow. If you are going into couple’s therapy and are hoping for success, here are some things that must be considered.
1. Be honest about where you see your relationship going
Although it is not always possible to know right away, your therapist may ask you off the bat whether you are going through therapy with the idea of staying together or separating. Are you looking to rebuild your marriage, have an amicable separation, or to sort out ambivalent feelings toward the situation? Knowing where you’re coming from will help your therapist better determine how to handle your case.
2. Commitment to the process
If you want infidelity therapy to have a positive effect on your life you need to be 100% committed to the process. Trying to have a positive perspective after going through an affair in your relationship is challenging, but a good attitude is essential for infidelity therapy to work. For example, positive outcomes occur when participants are honest, do not have a defensive attitude, and be open to learning and sharing.
It’s easy to play the blame game, especially when there is an affair involved in a relationship, but in order for infidelity therapy to be successful, both parties have to cooperate. This means giving one another a fair chance to speak their mind, showing a calm demeanor, and being open to learning new techniques designed for successful relationships.
Signs that infidelity therapy will work
It should be noted that going through infidelity therapy doesn’t guarantee your partner will never stray, however, couples who have fully committed to the process find that their marriages are stronger and more trustworthy than before. Here are the signs that show infidelity therapy can work for you.
1. The affair is over
The longer there is deception in a relationship the harder it will be to survive the fallout. One way to determine whether a couple has a chance of staying together after an affair is to ensure the affair is really over. The former cheating spouse has ended the affair and has cut off all communication with the other person. The spouse should also show that he or she is willing to give full disclosure about their friends, whereabouts, and habits from this point forward.
2. The former cheating spouse accepts the healing process
This means that the spouse who had the affair is committed to making their partner feel safe, secure, valued, loved, and desired. This spouse is fully aware of the rough road ahead and that the betrayed spouse needs to go through a demanding grieving process that may seem unfair at times.
3. You used to have a great relationship
Couples who once had a trusting relationship that was full of love and true intimacy have a high chance of success through marriage counseling. Opposite of which, couples who have a past history of emotional or physical abuse and selfish behavior will have a harder time staying together post-affair.
4. Partners used to display mutual respect
Being cheated on is the ultimate form of disrespect and betrayal. This disrespect is one of the reasons affairs are so hard to get over. Not only was the spouse deceived and cheated on, but the worth as a human and as a partner were taken advantage of. Partners who used to show great mutual respect for one another have a high chance of success one they can learn to give respect once more.
5. There is genuine forgiveness
Relationships are hard, period. One of the biggest factors that will determine whether infidelity therapy will really work is if the betrayed spouse is genuinely able to forgive their partner. Forgiveness does not come immediately, but a willingness to work toward this goal is key.
6. The couple is taking positive steps
The offending spouse is ready to take positive steps forward and apply the direction being given to better themselves as a partner. Trust exercises are being followed. The betrayed spouse is willing to acknowledge the hard work their partner is putting forth in the relationship, even though they are still hurt.
A willing attitude also means that the couple is putting forth earnest effort to date one another once again. This means rediscovering each other in a new romantic relationship and letting themselves become open and vulnerable to one another.
7. Accepting responsibility
Big or small, both parties must accept responsibility for the roles they played in their relationship. This may include not speaking up when they felt unhappy, not listening to their partner, being cold or unaffectionate, flirting with other people, causing distrust, and of course for the affair. Both parties must be willing to acknowledge that there are two sides to every story and both parties are accountable for the relationships past, present, and most importantly the future.
Infidelity therapy can be a great asset for learning to forgive your partner for the sake of mending your broken relationship or as a learning tool to prepare you for your next romantic endeavor. Be open-minded to the process to see the best results possible.