Affairs, or infidelity, can really make or break a relationship. Reactions from partners can be very strong on both parts.
Issues of mistrust can be difficult to recover from. More often than not, we hear of couples that suffered from an affair by one or both of the partners and ended up breaking up. But what about those couples that stay together? How do they do it? What helps them?
Rebuilding a relationship after an affair is not an easy task. But research shows it not impossible either. Many counselors and professional associations such as the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, offer insights into the phases a relationship goes through after an affair.
What are some ways in which a couple can begin the road to re-establishing their relationship?
What happened? Why did it happen? At this point, denial will not help the relationship improve. Taking responsibility for what has happened is essential for healing to begin. Taking on the role of denying the affair only further exacerbates the hurt.
Do you need help now as a couple? Does one or both of the partners feel they need outside guidance? A mental health professional can help you clarify doubts, questions, or other considerations you might have at this time. Speaking to someone outside of your partnership, friends and family will help you get an objective look at your circumstances.
Evaluate your goals
What do you want as an individual? What do you want as a couple? Are these goals compatible? Have your goals changed? What are some things you can do if you want to be on the same page again?
Talk it out
this might seem like it would be the first thing to do, but with strong emotions, one can often become blinded and all together bypass this important step. Talking about the situation, while it may cause anger, might also result in a decreased sense of resentment when you hear each other out. Partner’s may not be able to do this initially on their own. As mentioned above, a clinician might be able to guide them through this.
If you decide you are going to stay together, forgiveness will be part of the deal. Being able to forgive someone for an affair is one of the hardest things to do in a relationship. However, if this is not done, it will be hard to move on. Researchers have gone so far as to coin phrases such as ‘Interpersonal Trauma‘ when describing affair. With that said, take into consideration that this is a long process and it takes time. Do not expect to forgive (or be forgiven) during your first conversation
What do you think? How is it possible to stay together after an affair?
Do you need help healing from a partner’s affair? Are you unsure how to move forward after infidelity? Connect with me today. Let’s see how we can help you start to heal. Contact me today for a free initial consultation. Or schedule your first session to get started with your therapy journey.