Do You Feel As Though a Bomb Has Just Exploded in Your Relationship?
Are you trying to decide if you even want to seek counseling for the affair?
I am certain that you are absolutely devastated after discovering your partner is having or has had a physical or emotional affair. You likely feel as though your whole world has turned upside down when your partner’s word “yes” acknowledged it happened?
When one partner discovers that the other has had or is having an affair, the initial shock is often followed by an unfathomable sickening feeling in both your heart and stomach. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and experience an intensity of emotions and racing of thoughts that include deep suffering, anger, sadness, depression, grief, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and uncertainty about your future. You may also have difficulty sleeping, eating, parenting, working, or participating in your normal daily activities.
After making this discovery and asking your partner questions, in an attempt to understand why, you may now know details you wish you didn’t. Intrusive images and distressing emotions can begin popping into your head, making it difficult for you to even look at your partner, let alone talk with him or her. Your thinking may shift to the fact that you and your partner were drifting apart or arguing more often, but you never imagined cheating would happen in your relationship.
Are you the partner who engaged in the affair and now feel consumed by shame, sadness, guilt, grief, and regret? With the overwhelming emotions that you are currently experiencing in your relationship, you may wish you could go back in time and erase what happened. Perhaps you’re unsure of how you let things go as far, as they did, and now know you have caused this enormous betrayal of trust with excruciating emotional pain.
You may have rationalized that you were unhappy in your current relationship and the reason for the affair was because you felt lonely. Maybe you were feeling unhappy with your partner, but now realize that you want to figure out how to mend your relationship, instead of breaking up or divorcing. Coping with infidelity is a confusing, exhausting, and painful experience for both partners. In addition, many couples feel uncertain about what to do next so they try to manage the aftermath on your own, instead of reaching out to family members or friends for fear of judgment or bad advice.
In Society, Many Couples Encounter Affairs
Statistics collected on infidelity show that infidelity happens to many couples, and not that this makes it okay, you are not alone. In 2017, infidelity statistics suggested that in over 1/3 of marriages, one or both partners admit to cheating. Modern technology allows more people to connect than ever before – but this has also shown there are drawbacks, enabling people to conduct extramarital affairs, both physical and emotional.
According to the Associated Press and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 22% of men say that they’ve cheated on their significant other at least once during their marriage, and 14% of wives admit to cheating. These statistics also suggest that people are most likely to have affairs with co-workers with as many as 36% of men and women reporting that they’ve had an affair with someone at their place of employment.
After an affair, many couples feel scared, angry, trapped or lost, with no clear direction leading them forward and out of this relationship mess. An affair can make it feel as though all possibility of trust and connection has been sucked out of your relationship, and it’s normal for both partners to feel unable to start a conversation without lashing out or shutting down.
A committed relationship or marriage feels like a safe, unique, private space where others should not be allowed to enter. Even if there is conflict, life transition, or disconnection, you’ve made a commitment with one another. When you discover your commitment was betrayed, it can feel like your whole world just caved in around you. Thankfully, affair counseling offers the safe and stable space you both need to express your honest emotions, explore your actual wants and needs, and discover a way to move forward with increased clarity and greater relationship confidence.
Counseling for an Affair Can Guide You Towards Healing and Recovery
An affair is a relationship trauma that needs to be ‘worked through’ to move towards a more positive and satisfying relationship once again. As an experienced psychologist, I can help you both recover from the overarching and consuming pain caused by the affair. I will provide therapeutic conversations and resources to help guide the process, and it is a process, to reestablish trust, feelings of love, and respect in your relationship.
In sessions, I offer honest feedback, compassionate guidance so that you both can have direct and honest conversations about your thoughts and feelings related to the affair and overall state of your relationship. Together, we can agree upon boundaries and guidelines for when to talk about events and issues related to the affair. While things may feel painful or even impossible right now, if you and your partner are both engaged in the therapeutic process, I can help you work through the pain and to identify and build upon the strengths that already exist in your relationship.
I utilize Positive Psychology and Solution-Focused approaches, drawing upon scientifically validated strategies that are proven to bring lasting, positive change to struggling relationships. With an active, affirmative approach and the guidance and support of an experienced and compassionate couple’s psychologist, you and your partner can nurture your own well-being and relationship happiness.
You both can begin adopting new, productive ways of communicating and connecting that can build towards greater harmony and open up avenues for trust. While the affair will never totally disappear from this chapter of your relationship, healing and recovery can occur as you work towards the next chapter of your life together. There is a way to work through an affair, strengthen your bond, and build a better future together.
You may have some questions about affair recovery counseling.
“I’m the one who had the affair and worry you’ll judge me. How do you handle this?”
Affair counseling is an entirely nonjudgmental therapeutic process. The way I conduct therapy includes not judging either of you for anything shared in session. I also do not take sides, as I am here to support your relationship and to help you and your partner repair the hurt and disconnection between you. Rather than telling you what you did wrong or that you were the bad person in the relationship, I will help you and your partner work through the pain of the past and present, define what the relationship needs to regain trust and create mutual goals that identify your positive steps forward.
“I think this betrayal may be too difficult to accept. Is it possible to work through this together?”
Recovering from an affair is possible. I’ve provided therapy for 100’s of couples going through the process; however, it does take effort and joint dedication. If you and your partner are willing to be honest and to learn new, positive ways of relating with one another, then you can begin to restore the loss of trust and move towards rebuilding your future together. If both of you are committed to the process, forgiveness and healing are possible.
For the therapy process to be effective, both of you must be committed to working on your relationship both inside and outside of the therapy office. Your problems will not be resolved with one hour of therapeutic conversation per week. By coming together to talk with one another, listen to one another, and develop a plan, the deep burning hole you feel inside right now can begin to mend. Trust is the foundational building block of a successful relationship. Trust can be re-established when you are doing what you say you will do on a consistent basis.
“Is this going to take forever as we talk about the negative impact of the affair over and over again?”
No, it does not take forever. We will agree on 9 – 12 sessions to help get you back on track and then the information we discuss during treatment will be implemented within your relationship at home. My goal is to point you towards your positive and healing path. I do not believe therapy is useful if you come to the session to complain about the other.
Growing Back Together Is Possible
I would like the opportunity to help your relationship recover from an affair and invite you to call me at 714-783-8500 or contact me for a free 20-minute consultation. I am happy to answer any questions you have about affair counseling and my clinical practice.