“I thought we had a good marriage,” he said repeatedly. He was shocked to learn of her affair. When they came to counseling, they both were bewildered. She knew the affair was unacceptable, but somehow had crossed the line with a co-worker. She ended the affair immediately. He was willing to try to see if he could heal.
She was willing to provide her husband with total “transparency” – allowing him easy access to her phone and email accounts; she installed a GPS device on her phone to assure him of her whereabouts at all times. She was able to make arrangements at work so that she no longer encountered her affair partner.
He experienced considerable anxiety, as well as sadness and anger over the affair. When the shock diminished, he still had problems with becoming extremely anxious and preoccupied with where his wife was when not at home and what she might be doing – and whether she truly wanted to stay in the marriage.
In counseling, they learned to turn to each other and discuss their deepest emotions and fears. She felt he had become distant the past few years, and that he spent more time with his sports league and their children than with her. Her attempts to encourage him to help around the house were not effective, and she began to feel increasingly isolated and alone.
In the therapy sessions, he shared that he, too, felt disconnected from her and that he often used his sports to build his self-esteem. He often felt rejected because she was progressing in her career and seemed to get so much pleasure out of her accomplishments.
They were asked in counseling about their initial bond – the attraction and the early years in their marriage. They both felt their relationship was unique and special, that they enjoyed time together and that they had many common interests. They felt they were a source of love and comfort for each other in the times before kids and when the children were younger.
Healing began to occur when they acknowledged each other’s hurt and unmet needs that resulted from the disconnection. They learned to be vulnerable and share their deepest feelings and fears in a new way. They developed rituals – important times spent together on a regular basis – to keep the connection vibrant.
The counseling process was not smooth or easy at times. His anxiety and fear was difficult to control. Her shame about the affair often resulted in what he felt was impatience with his emotions. They learned to bring their true emotions to the surface and turn to their partner to discuss and receive comfort and reassurance.
While the affair is still a wound, the couple was able to understand anew the importance of staying connected, of nurturing their closeness and of setting their relationship as a priority. When the hurt from the affair would resurface, they became able to talk openly with each other and to feel heard and understood at this new, deeper level, opening the door for additional healing.
I understand that selecting a therapist can feel challenging. To help you get acquainted, I offer a no-cost 15-minute phone consultation. You can contact me directly at (602) 882-0533 or via email at .
I look forward to talking with you!