How Marriage Counseling Will Help You Survive Infidelity
Emotional and sexual affairs are one of the most challenging issues facing couples in committed, long term relationships. People cheat for many reasons, but the themes are always the same, which are unfulfilled needs and a failure to communicate about the fulfillment of those needs.
Understanding the factors that led to the affair does not excuse it nor take away the personal responsibility of the unfaithful. Understanding the causes of the affair will allow you to determine how to move forward and heal from the painful impact of infidelity.
Infidelity is like an earthquake that shakes the foundation of the relationship, and makes both the unfaithful and the betrayed question everything they thought to be true about themselves and their relationship. But, despite the pain, guilt, and shame caused by the betrayal, many couples are able to survive this devastating event and manage to rebuild their relationship to be even stronger than it was prior to the affair.
Healing From Infidelity Is a Challenging and Painful Process
But, it is a necessary process that you need to complete in order for you and your partner to move forward in your lives, whether as a couple or as individuals. The process of healing will give you the opportunity to identify and correct the individual and couples issues that caused the relationship to deteriorate to the point of the affair.
Restoring trust and mending your hearts can be attainable if both you and your partner are willing to explore the causes of the affair, and are able to make concrete, behavioral changes that would assure the prevention of its reoccurrence.
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How Does Affair Recovery Work?
- The first step in infidelity couples counseling is to help the couple understand the definition of infidelity to assure that we are all using the same label for the issue we are trying to address instead of calling it something else to minimize it.
- The second step is to help the couple explore and agree to the logistics needed to create a healthy environment for recovery.
- The third step in counseling after infidelity will be to process the story of the affair and fill in any gaps of understanding about what took place.
- The fourth step will be helping both the unfaithful and the betrayed understand and articulate the emotional and physical impact of the affair on each other and the relationship.
- The fifth step is helping the couple choose a path for healing whether together or separately. This process will involve assessment of the damage caused by the affair and the couple’s ability to make the necessary changes to heal from it and prevent future occurrences.
- The last step in the affair recovery counseling process is helping the couple create a concrete, measurable action plan to help them follow through with the path of healing they have chosen. The couple who chooses to rebuild will work on rebuilding trust, forgiveness, and addressing the root issues that caused the affair. The couple who chooses to separate will work on defining their new roles, getting closure, and learning from relationship mistakes to avoid repeating them in future relationships.
The Infidelity Counseling Center provides practical, no-nonsense therapy programs and retreats focused on helping you address your marriage issues and achieve your goals.
Talal H. Alsaleem, PsyD, LMFT, is an infidelity therapist who has over 18 years experience helping couples face and overcome challenges while healing from emotional and physical affairs and enabling them to find the happiness and contentment in their lives.