If you recently discovered your partner’s infidelity, you are probably experiencing a wide range of emotions. One of the more devastating aspects of an affair is the realization your basic assumptions about your relationship are wrong. This can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and broken.
Internally, you might be wavering daily between wanting to salvage the relationship and wanting to give up on a daily basis, and you may not be sure who to talk to about it. You may be uncertain you and your partner will try to repair the relationship, so you don’t want to talk to the wrong person. Children will be looking to you for guidance, while parents and friends are likely to form biased opinions.
This is why it is beneficial to speak with a professional, unbiased therapist. Here are nine ways a marriage therapist can help you in the process of affair recovery.
1. Contain the Crisis
Your therapist will help you contain the crisis in order to function as best as you can in the beginning. Your therapist will coach you in limiting discussion of the affair so it doesn’t take over your lives. You will make a plan to balance responsibilities outside of your relationship such as work and childcare.
2. Make a Decision
Your therapist will help you make a decision to repair or end the relationship in the first three sessions, limiting the painful and confusing limbo period.
3. Keep It Fair
Your therapist will help guide you through the long process of repair while maintaining a positive outlook. Both partners can expect to be given a chance to share their experience of the affair and its impact.
4. Prevent Criticism
Your therapist will contain negative interactions, preventing you from tearing each other down. Instead, you will get help staying focused on repairing your relationship in a positive manner.
5. Maintain Self-Care
Your therapist will hold you accountable in regards to self-care and setting boundaries. You will be encouraged to maintain focus on your own well-being rather than letting the affair rob you of your health.
6. Admit Responsibility
Your therapist is an objective expert who will aid you in exploring how both you and your partner contributed to problems in your relationship prior to the affair.
7. Learn How to Forgive
Your therapist will help you to consider the benefits and costs of forgiveness. Your therapist will help you develop your own process of forgiveness that works for you.
8. Look to the Future
Your therapist will assist you and your partner in developing a new relationship contract. This contract will consist of the changes you and your partner commit to make in your relationship hereafter.
9. Establish Safeguards
Your therapist will help you establish new healthy habits to safeguard against any setbacks. This includes continuing therapy in a maintenance capacity to learn how to weather roadblocks as they inevitably surface.
Affair recovery therapy usually lasts about 6 months. Many relationships are able to be repaired. This is much more likely if both partners are willing to:
- work hard for the relationship
- be honest
- admit their failings
- commit to trying something new.
Investing in the repair of your most important relationship is well worth the time and effort. When affair recovery is successfully completed, you and your partner will have a new relationship you both can appreciate.
Even if you do not decide to enter therapy, it is wise to wait at least 2-3 months before deciding whether to end the relationship. This gives you time to make a more balanced decision rather than making a life-changing choice at the height of your emotional vulnerability.
If you need help making this decision, or if you want to schedule an appointment to begin affair recovery, please contact a therapist at Keystone Counseling today.