Surviving an Affair
Perhaps nothing else represents a break in connection more than an affair. Infidelity causes intense feelings of anger, betrayal, disbelief, guilt, and shame.
It can occur at any point in a relationship and is often an accurate indicator of the strength, which the relationship no longer has. Because of the deep feelings of betrayal, infidelity undermines the foundation of the marriage.
Once couples reach this point, all hope is not lost. It is possible for a couple to heal the wounds and create the relationship they desire, it will just take time to re-build trust, intimacy, and a sense of security. This it the point there marriage counseling can help.
Providing both partners want to restore the relationship, couple therapy is the best option. The goals of therapy would be to put an end to the relationship exits, to be accountable for your actions, to explore underlying marital problems and un-met needs, creating a safe place to process anger, loss of trust and security, and a re-commitment to your partner and the relationship.
Learning to Trust Again
Infidelity is usually the single most damaging thing that can happen in a relationship. It goes beyond the physical betrayal to the much more profound emotional betrayal. This psychological betrayal erodes a basic cornerstone in relationships, which is trust. When trust is damaged the whole relationship is put at great risk.
The trauma of infidelity can be compared to other types of trauma, which can induce in some people symptoms of:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Unmanageable levels of anxiety, and involve un-characteristic and/or erratic behaviors.
Without intervention, relationships where there is an affair are more at risk for failing. With proper help, however, relationships can recover, heal, and even be stronger and more solid than ever before. If you have experienced the trauma of infidelity, don’t feel alone. Statistics show over 70-80% of married couples struggle with this issue sometime during the course of their marriage. This is why relationship counseling is critical.
Creating a Recovery Plan
Because of the shame and guilt associated with this issue it is hard to get support, advice, and help from your friends and relatives. And yet without help, your odds are decreased of getting through the maze of recovery in the most expedient and constructive way.
Sometimes, especially with this issue, help may need to come in the form of relationship counseling from a professional specifically trained to help couples meet the challenges after infidelity and affairs.
Whether you call it cheating, having an affair, adultery, infidelity, or breaking your monogamy vows, it profoundly hurts people in committed relationships. It is the single most hurtful and destructive thing that can occur in a marriage where monogamy is the stated goal. Because it is so devastating, it is quite often not handled very constructively in relationships. Infidelity does not have to mean an end to the relationship.
In some cases, however, people may make that choice because they don’t know what the options are. And in some cases, the best option may be to end the relationship [e.g., where there are multiple affairs, no genuine remorse or plans for recovery.
For an overwhelming majority of cases of infidelity, not only can the relationship be saved but it can evolve into a stronger and more resilient and even more intimate relationship than before. However, this often requires some skillful facilitation from a therapist specifically trained in dealing with issues after infidelity occurs.
Get The Support You Need
One of the worst things in life is discovering that your partner is cheating. Infidelity in a committed relationship severely damages trust. Research shows that both partners experience significant anxiety and grief after an affair. Sometimes, an affair ends a relationship, and other times couples are able to repair the relationship with the assistance of a couples counselor.