Could you feel any worse?
Infidelity feels shocking and devastating. Whether it’s a long-term affair, pornography, communicating with an ex on Facebook, emotional cheating, or some other type of betrayal, it all feels unbelievably AWFUL!
You start your relationship with utmost trust that your partner is going to be there for you and only you – ALWAYS. But when betrayal occurs, it’s hard to fathom that things are not what you thought they were.
How could this happen?
And how can you recover from an affair? Is it even possible?
Especially when each of you is in such a different emotional place:
When you’re betrayed, emotions tend to fluctuate wildly. One minute you’re angry and want to lash out. The next you’re desperate and will do anything to save the relationship.
Am I good enough? Of course, I am! I’m SO ANGRY!
You’ve never experienced such a blow to your self-esteem. Obsessive thoughts and jealousy constantly race through your head. Anxiety is ever-present.
You’ve become someone you don’t recognize and, frankly, don’t like very much. Yet you know you didn’t do anything wrong! This is a very hard space to sit in every day. You need to gain a sense of control over your life, yet everything is so clearly out of control.
Should you leave or go?
You may be wondering how things got to this place. You probably never set out with the intent of hurting anyone. In fact, you likely still care deeply about your partner.
Now that your choices are out in the open, you are probably experiencing a range of emotions that can be hard to handle. Guilt, shame, and worry are common, especially as you come face-to-face with pain you have caused.
You may also be questioning your relationship. Maybe your affair led you to feel alive in a way you never had before. This leads to feelings of confusion, sadness at losing something important to you, and even irritation toward your spouse.
How do you reconcile your choices?
Right now, you’re a million miles apart. We’ll help you get on the same path again.
The issues you’re facing are obviously significant. But joining together to move forward after a relationship betrayal is one of the most powerful things a couple can do.
Most assume that recovering from an affair is impossible. In fact, you may have assumed yourself that you would NEVER forgive your spouse for cheating.
However, the reality of cheating is much different than what we imagine it to be. The truth is you have a lot invested in your relationship, and it is hard to just let that go.
This does not mean betrayal should go unaddressed. But we here at the Salt Lake Relationship Center think of it more as an opportunity for you to look deeply at your relationship.
The problem is betrayal is PAINFUL. Emotions are big and raw. You’re dealing with issues you likely have never faced before. This leads you to either shut down emotionally or make choices you later regret.
You want to figure out a way forward that will take care of both your needs and repair your relationship. But when you can’t even have a productive conversation, it can feel hopeless.
This is where infidelity counseling helps, as it provides calm guidance about how to talk to each other so that you can make productive decisions for you and your family.
Most Couples Feel Lost and Confused When an Affair is Uncovered
When you commit to your partner, especially through marriage, you typically do so with the expectation your spouse will remain faithful. When infidelity occurs, for the injured party it’s traumatic. You were kept in the dark while your spouse had weeks, months or sometimes years to adjust to a new reality.
And because cheating always involves lying, you now must figure out what in your relationship was a lie and what was real. This is a BIG deal, because now everything is in question. Trust, the foundation of a healthy relationship, is now lost. Given these circumstances, it is completely normal that you would not know how to proceed.
Most couples want things to get back to “normal,” but you may not know how or even believe this is possible. Your regular routines are disrupted, you cannot communicate like you want, there is increased conflict, you feel emotionally volatile, and you are struggling to make even basic everyday decisions in your relationship.
As the partner who caused harm, you likely want to express your sorrow, make up for the harm you have caused, and move forward.
As the harmed partner, you are likely overwhelmed by your emotions and lacking any sense of security but are not ready to move on. The tension between these opposing goals makes it difficult to positively interact or run your household smoothly.
Small decisions like where to sleep, negotiating taking the kids to school, what to eat for dinner, or how to be in touch with each other during the day suddenly seem monumental. And these issues do not even BEGIN to address how to move forward and recover.
Marriage Counseling for Infidelity Helps You Manage the Chaos and Trust Each Other Again
What you need, first and foremost, is a renewed sense of safety and security. Your therapist works with you to establish a customized plan of recovery designed to help you respect and support your unique emotional spaces.
In early stages of counseling, this plan will include clear rules about communication and behavior – this sets the stage for talking openly and honestly about everything happening in your relationship.
Later stages of infidelity counseling focus on understanding factors that led your relationship to the place it is now. You will uncover and deeply understand these issues to begin moving forward.
If you are the partner who caused harm, you are ultimately responsible for your betrayal. However, it is important to understand EVERYTHING that played a role in these behaviors.
For example, you may have been drunk at a bar on a business trip and the opportunity presented itself. Maybe you were open to your flirting coworker’s advances because your husband hasn’t touched you in months. You may have sought out someone else because you felt “dead” inside due to the unhappiness you feel from your job, your marriage, or your life. Maybe you feel unloved and so you deserve to be with someone who shows care and affection. You may feel constantly criticized or misunderstood and found yourself unexpectedly involved with someone who is kind and appreciative. You may not know exactly why you made the choices you did…
When you understand everything that contributed to the betrayal, you gain confidence in preventing it from happening again. By looking for and positively responding to danger signs in your relationship or your spouse, you can better manage and plan for “high-risk” circumstances. You will more deeply understand your own role in the negative dynamics of your relationship.
To move forward in your life, it is essential make meaning out of this event. Though this may not seem possible now, many couples discover after attending infidelity counseling that their relationship is BETTER than it ever was before. In the aftermath of an affair, it is normal to wonder if it is even possible to trust ever again. We are here to tell you that it absolutely is!
It is Possible to Recover from an Affair
Infidelity has a way of clarifying what it is you really want in your relationship and in life. It places things in perspective and helps you recognize what was missing.
You use increased clarity and determination to create the connected, loving, and trusting relationship you really want. The issues you face now are deeply challenging, but we believe in the strength you have as a couple to move through such a difficult event.
Marriage counseling for infidelity helps you manage your volatile emotions in a way that is supportive and respectful of each other rather than breaking you further apart. In fact, it can bring you closer together than you ever thought possible.
We are here to guide you through this messy and tumultuous process to help you regain each other’s trust and find a truly meaningful relationship. Schedule your appointment today!