Infidelity is, without a doubt, one of the most painful challenges we may face in our relationships. When one spouse has an affair, it can rock the foundation of a marriage or relationship, deeply affecting everyone involved.
There are many reasons why people cheat, even when they are aware that their infidelity can have many adverse outcomes. Despite how much upheaval an affair creates, it is still possible to overcome infidelity together and rebuild your relationship. However, this process may take time. Infidelity is a complex and life-changing experience, and recovering from it may require the assistance of a skilled couples therapist.
Overcoming Infidelity Together: How Can Couples Therapy Help?
Couples therapy may be a safe and non-judgmental place to address your feelings, explore the underlying problems, and develop healthy strategies to overcome infidelity together. With the guidance of your therapist, you can go through this challenging experience and rebuild trust.
1. Understand the Affair
Infidelity is the ultimate breach of trust and security in a relationship. When you build your relationship on trust, believing that your spouse will not harm or betray you, it may feel like the only logical decision to end the relationship when you discover an affair.
However, you may not be ready to let go. You may decide it is worthwhile to save the marriage. Whatever your reasons for staying, exploring the context in which infidelity has happened is the first step toward reestablishing trust and reconnecting with your partner.
Maybe you have intimacy problems, experience communication breakdowns, lack freedom and space in your relationship, or feel emotionally neglected. The partner who cheated might have gone through some traumatic experiences in the past. Or maybe you and your partner have different values, needs, and expectations and experience ongoing conflicts.
A relationship counselor may help you explore the causes of infidelity and understand the underlying problems in your relationship.
2. Acknowledge the Pain
It may be tough to address infidelity without making accusations or assigning blame. In couples therapy, therapists don’t take sides, even though they would never defend or excuse infidelity. They will encourage you to share your feelings and acknowledge the pain the affair has caused. The partner who had the affair must accept responsibility for their actions, while the betrayed spouse must communicate their feelings openly without judgment and blame.
3. Be Honest
Communication is crucial in any relationship. However, it becomes even more essential when dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. Your therapist will encourage both of you to be open, honest, and understanding when discussing an affairand how it impacted your relationship.
However, to keep the communication non-judgmental, it is essential to set some ground rules. Active listening and “I” statements can help you avoid getting caught in criticism and blame.
For example, it is far better to say, “I’m having a hard time trusting you again, but I want us to focus on rebuilding that trust,” rather than, “Your affair destroyed the trust in our relationship.”
4. Set Clear Boundaries
Establishing clear boundaries after infidelity is essential for rebuilding trust and defining responsibility. Counseling can provide a secure setting to discuss limits and expectations openly, define what is acceptable and what is not, and outline consequences for crossing the boundaries.
5. Schedule Check-Ins
Check-ins with your partner involve the time you dedicate as a couple to discussing your feelings and concerns. Scheduling regular check-ins with one another is crucial for maintaining open communication and rebuilding trust, fostering transparency, and encouraging accountability between you and your spouse.
6. Focus on Self-Care
The couples therapist can help you develop practical self-care tools and strategies and encourage you to incorporate them into your daily routine because prioritizing self-care when healing from infidelity is a must. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques, physical activity, and having a supportive network of friends and family can help reduce the emotional impact of infidelity and manage stress.
7. Reconnect Emotionally
Emotional disconnection or neglect in a relationship is often at the root of adultery. To rebuild your marriage, you must focus on reestablishing your emotional bond. Your therapist can help you develop strategies to rekindle emotional connection and build a new commitment, such as spending quality time together, scheduling date evenings, participating in hobbies you both enjoy, learning each other’s love languages, etc.
8. Allow Yourselves Time
Healing from infidelity is never a quick process. It can take months or years for a betrayed partner to decide whether to forgive, rebuild trust, and consider the future.
Both partners are likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions following the discovery of an affair, from disbelief and rage to sadness and despair and from blame to self-judgment. It is essential to be patient with yourself and your partner during this process. There will be many triggers that will bring up painful memories and feelings, so it is natural to experience moments of doubt, setbacks, and regressions on your healing journey.
Try not to give in or make any major decisions at this stage since you are hurt and still processing what has happened. Allow a trained professional to guide you through this process.
Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.