Infidelity can often feel like the end of your relationship. However, it doesn’t always have to mean that the relationship is over. Couples can and do work through infidelity. It’s not an easy process. However, with the help of therapy, it can be done. In fact, you may discover that coming together after infidelity actually strengthens your marriage, despite the fact that at the moment it feels like things are all over.
Do You Want to Stay Together?
The biggest question many couples face after infidelity is whether or not they want to try to make the relationship work despite this huge breach of trust. The problem is that the answer is rarely immediate. There are a lot of emotions involved. There are a lot of concerns, doubts, and decisions to work through. One or both parties may be completely unsure of whether or not they want to stay together, which leaves the couple in limbo for some time. Often, people separate and get back together several times after infidelity as they try to figure out the answer to this question.
Therapy can help you make a solid decision about whether or not you want to stay together. Couples therapy will allow the two of you to discuss all of the challenging issues that have brought you to this point. As you communicate openly, you’ll be able to come to a decision about your relationship that’s rooted in the full reality of the relationship, not just as a reaction to infidelity. Whether or not you stay together, therapy can help you feel good about the final decision.
Dealing with Shame, Guilt, and Blame
Couples often get trapped in their feelings of shame, guilt, and blame after infidelity. The person who cheated might feel guilty about the affair. The person who was cheated on may blame the other for all of their pain. But sometimes the person who was cheated on feels ashamed or even guilty for reasons that they can’t explain. Sometimes the person who cheated blames the other for whatever led up to the affair in the first place.
Couples therapy helps you authentically work through these issues so that you can let go of shame, guilt, and blame. Something did lead up to this situation, and you do need to address it to move forward. However, the guilty feelings and overt blame aren’t helping you to do that. Instead, therapy moves you through those feelings to the underlying core issues so that you can find real resolutions.
Changing Communication and Moving Forward
One of the key things that couples therapy offers after infidelity is a safe space to begin communicating in new ways. Whatever you were doing before wasn’t working. It’s time to start anew. If you decide that you want to stay together, then couples therapy can help you safely discuss all of the issues that brought you to this place. You can learn new communication tools that will allow you to deal with what has happened. Then you can find ways to move forward together as a stronger couple. Your therapist can guide you as you practice new ways of communicating.
Even if you ultimately decide to separate, communicating authentically in the therapy room can help you to find closure about the relationship. Both of you will be able to move forward with less animosity. This is what allows you to forge new relationships in the future without bringing in baggage from the past. Ultimately, whether you decide that you want to stay in the relationship after infidelity or not, therapy can help you both to put the situation behind you in a healthy way.
Kathryn McNeer, LPC specializes in Couples Counseling Dallas with her sound, practical and sincere advice. Kathryn’s areas of focus include individual counseling, relationship and couples counseling Dallas. Kathryn has helped countless individuals find their way through life’s inevitable transitions; especially that tricky patch of life known as “the mid life crisis.” Kathryn’s solution-focused, no- nonsense counseling works wonders for men and women in the midst of feeling, “stuck,” or “unhappy.” Kathryn believes her fresh perspective allows her clients find the better days that are ahead. When working with couples, it is Kathryn’s direct yet non-judgmental approach that helps determine which patterns are holding them back and then helps them establish new, more productive patterns. Kathryn draws from Gottman and Cognitive behavioral therapy. When appropriate Kathryn works with couples on trust, intimacy, forgiveness, and communication.