Healing from infidelity is one of the toughest things that couples face in a marriage or relationship. It targets the very heart of the relationship, and it cannot be undone. Unlike disagreements, arguments, and misunderstandings that can be resolved, an affair shakes a relationship to its core, as it breaks the trust in the relationship. Many couples break up after an affair; some others are able to put the episode behind them, but only after a lot of grieving, talking, and couples counseling. Whether the cheating was done by your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, or even fiancé, the restoration process is the same.
What Caused It?
The first step is to understand what caused the affair. Sometimes, it’s impulsiveness and bad judgment that led to the cheating. Other times, a partner may resort to an affair with someone they are close to because they are seeking some emotional intimacy. And in other cases, a partner may be seeking the intensity of cheating. All of these spell deeper issues in the relationship. Mere talk may not yield results if you want to give your relationship another chance. It may best to seek the assistance of a marriage counselor if you are serious about making your relationship work after an affair.
The Different Phases
You can’t go from discovering an affair to bouncing back to your relationship within days. It takes phases of shock, denial, anger, resentment, and grief, before you get there. The partner who has had the affair may want you to get over the episode as soon as possible. This is simply not realistic. Healing the effects of infidelity will take time. Let the grieving happen. Only then will you be able to let go of that perfect vision you had of your relationship, and pick yourself up and move forward. While no relationship is perfect, you deserve to be in a relationship that is supportive of you, feels safe, and does not fill you with fear.
If you have allowed yourself to experience your feelings, you will know when it’s time to make the decision about your next step—whether you want a temporary separation, divorce, or to reconcile with your partner. With any of these choices, counseling can be helpful. Marriage counseling will be most helpful if you decide to stay together.
Moving on and Healing Infidelity
If you and your partner decide to give your relationship another chance following an affair, you both will have to start by making a few changes. You have to first address the problem that led to the affair. If it was about intimacy-seeking or the search for intensity, you will both have to work on your communication skills. It will be more important than ever to talk to each other about your needs and wants in the relationship. The partner who cheated will have to make changes in their behavior, but so will you.
Couples or Marriage Counseling in Orange County–even individual counseling sessions–should guide you through this better, and help you as you rebuild relationship trust. Novus Relationship Counseling Center has convenient access from Central Orange County, South Orange County, and North Orange County, including Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Tustin, and Orange.