Recovering from Infidelity
Infidelity can be the most challenging event in a couple's life together, as well as a major contributor to divorce.
However, couples who choose to work through the pain and hurt have an opportunity to recover. Actually, 70 percent of couples choose to rebuild their relationship after an affair.
The path is not typically an easy one. And, when the wound of infidelity is not healed, the potential is great for the pain and distrust to continue to emerge.
Infidelity Takes Different Forms
The simplest definition I know of is: Cheating is whatever the other partner sees as their partner going outside the relationship for any form of connection.
A partner who texts or corresponds with someone on the internet may feel this does not constitute infidelity because no in-person contact has occurred or is intended. Yet, their partner is hurt, and the relationship feels threatened because time and energy has been put into some type of outside relationship. And, there's often the fear on the part of the spouse that this type of contact could result in something further.
There are typically two types of hurt that occur in an infidelity: The outside sexual or emotional contact and the deception that occurred to hide the activity. The hurt partner not only feels the deep wound that their partner felt a need to go outside the relationship for intimacy or other connection, but also trust has been broken.
It's not unusual for the hurt partner to experience intense anxiety on whether the affair is over or whether some type of infidelity will happen again in the future.
The Danger of the "Un-Healed Hurt"
Divorce is two times more likely after an infidelity becomes known.
Without a healing process, the potential is great for the distrust from the betrayal to linger. The subject of the infidelity may be brought up repeatedly by the hurt partner. The partner who went outside the relationship can become frustrated by the repeated anger and fear expressed by their spouse, wondering, "Will you ever trust me again?"
The wound stays raw . . . and often for years after the infidelity came to light.
Both partners may truly want to move forward; yet, the hurt partner can be struggling to cope with the often-intense anxiety, fearing that an infidelity could happen again. The partner who had the affair attempts to reconnect, but their partner's doubts continue to fuel their own regret and shame.
Neither partner has a release for these strong emotions. At times, the feelings may subside. However, like any open wound, many couples find that the pain keeps returning.
Counseling to Heal Infidelity
Couples counseling makes healing possible, though not always easy. Using the most-researched and scientifically based method, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), the couple is gently guided toward regaining connection and trust.
Each partner has a safe environment to reveal their feelings and fears. The hurt partner can express his or her pain openly and to reach beneath the anger to express their deep sadness. The partner who went outside the relationship learns what is truly helpful in aiding the spouse's recovery.
Research tells us that infidelity can happen in "good marriages" or relationships.. Often, there has been a period of less connection recently (though this does not excuse the infidelity).
Infidelity is a wound to trust -- a stark realization that the basic beliefs about a partner no longer hold true. Thus, infidelity sparks an expansive array of emotions in the hurt partner: "Am I no longer important?" "Am I no longer attractive?" "Does my partner still value me as special and unique?"
Additionally, the future as a couple now feels uncertain for the hurt partner, who often worries how he or she can trust again.
Experienced EFT therapists help the couple work toward restoring trust, an essential ingredient to moving forward.
Strengthening the Couple's Connection
It's not unusual for other, related issues to surface in the counseling process, opening the door to building a closer emotional connection and deeper understanding in the relationship.
Couples in long-term marriages will frequently remark when therapy ends, "We never talked like this before . . . and we've become closer than ever." Deep, heartfelt communication typically isn't fostered in most cultures.
In EFT, couples learn to create a closer, more secure connection -- a healthy byproduct of healing the infidelity that was the impetus for seeking counseling.
To learn more on the topic of infidelity, click here.
To help you learn more about the counseling process and how I help couples recover from infidelity, I offer a 15-minute no-cost phone consultation to answer your questions and help you determine whether we're a good fit to work together. You can schedule a conference by calling me at (602) 882-0533 or .
Counseling is a process of discovery. You and your partner may not be aware of the forces creating difficulties in your relationship."