Have you lost trust in your partner? Are you recovering from an affair?
Did your partner break your trust leaving you hurt and uncertain of whether or not you should stay or leave? Perhaps you and your partner experienced a break in trust years ago, and you both thought that you had “moved on” but you find yourself always somehow going back to that incident? Do you feel betrayed or ashamed? Do struggle forgiving your partner and no matter what you do you cannot forget about the affair? Do you wonder if recovering from an affair will be ever possible?
The reason why affairs are so difficult for couples to overcome by themselves is because they break the very foundation of the relationship—trust. The one partner who you thought you could rely on caused you a deep emotional injury leaving you angry, hurt, betrayed, confused, and lost. If you are the one who caused the injury, you may feel guilty, ashamed, angry, hopeless, and desperate. All of these feelings are not easy to talk about, and yet processing through each and every one of them is what is needed to start healing your relationship. However, couples often fear talking about these emotions and letting themselves feel them because the pain that comes with processing the affair can get unbearable and too overwhelming.
Many couples struggle with trust violations and infidelity! Many couples can recover from it, as well!
Infidelity or other trust violations are more common than you think. What are some reasons for an affair? Often some underlying issues have been already present in the relationship, and these issues have been either unacknowledged or not fully resolved. In some relationships, couples have lost emotional connection with each other causing them to go outside of the relationship to get his/her needs met. Regardless of the reasons for the affair, recovery from it is possible!
Therapy can help you recover from an affair or rebuild trust
Affair recovery through therapy is possible when both of the partners are willing to try again, and when they are courageous enough to explore the path of how they got there as a couple. As difficult as it is, I have seen couples recover from infidelity, proving that love can truly fight through the worse.
In therapy, I will help you talk about the affair by emotionally organizing your experiences around what happened. Often partners will experience a “wave of every single negative emotion out there” and they feel overwhelmed and incapable of staying engaged in talking about the affair. Their anger or guilt will undermine the conversation causing them to attack or deflect. My job will be helping you move through the blame and shame.
Throughout that process, couples often learn a tremendous amount of information about each other. Importantly, they learn that it does take two to create and maintain a successful relationship. Indeed, sometimes life gets too busy and too distracting to continuously invest in that very relationship that should be the most important one to invest in. In therapy, couples can also define the meanings that they created about themselves, and they learn about the type of impact they have on each other. In a structured process we will talk about and learn how to heal and rebuild the trust by dealing with hurt of the injured partner and shame of the injuring partner.
After what happened, I don’t even know if I want to stay in this relationship…
It is only natural that partners who have been injured question whether or not they want to stay in the relationship. They are unsure if they want to invest anything else doubting their (and their partner’s) level of commitment. Feeling deceived and often pressured by friends and family to either leave or stay can be a huge additional stress.
It is very important; however, to take a step back and ask yourself: “What if I ever regret not giving us another chance?” At first, some couples will try to work through the affair “only for their kids” or “only to say that they tried it.”—and that is completely fine. So whatever your reason is to attempt to recover from the affair, go with that. I see it as a glimpse of hope, which is so needed while working with these difficult issues. My job is to hold the hope for you at the times when things look hopeless.
I am afraid that the therapist will take sides.
If one of you starts to feel that I am taking sides, I am not doing my job well. I work really hard so that both of you feel that I do understand your experiences. It is not my place to judge you. However, having worked with the difficult issue of affairs, I learned that couples therapy is a tricky business! Although it is never my intention to take sides, some partners may feel otherwise. Please remember that the sooner I know about your possible concerns, the sooner I can take action. My hope is to create a secure environment for you so that you and I can work through any impasses that may occur on the way to heal your relationship.
I don’t like “Re-hashing” the past
Talking about past and unpleasant experiences with your partner can be so upsetting that we often avoid the subject. Unfortunately, avoiding the topic will work only temporarily. Over time, yours or your partner’s negative feelings around the unpleasant experience will resurface (a common feeling that comes up often is resentment and blame). When that happens, daily fights about relatively small things can occur… these fights, however, will usually end in the same way—the affair.
It is healthier and more productive to learn ways of processing through the past so it doesn’t affect your present. And the good news is that I know how to help you with that!