The Right Timing for Couples Counseling After Infidelity
Should we go to individual counseling first?

Because of the depth of the trauma that the uninvolved partner is feeling after the discovery of the affair, it is very likely that they will seek individual counseling early on in the process to assist their comprehension and acceptance of what has happened. The partner involved in the infidelity should be empathetic and understanding of their need for individual counseling in the appropriate timing.

The unfaithful partner should also consider individual counseling as they maneuver life after the affair and begin the process of seeking forgiveness and reconciliation from the uninvolved partner. This may not be necessary, but it would be very helpful for the unfaithful partner to have some guidance in tracking down the path that led to the affair and pinpointing the emotions or actions that could be warning signs in the future.

It is often recommended that you and your partner not go to the same counselor for individual counseling, but each situation is different and you may find that this is, in fact, helpful to you both. You might find that you are more on the same page for couples therapy if you have already done individual therapy, recognizing that healing can be a lengthy process.

How do we know if it is time to start couples counseling? 

There is no “right” time for everyone, but if you are asking this question, now might be a good time. It may be that during your individual therapy sessions, your therapist recommends that you begin couples therapy because of where you are in the healing process, but this does not have to be the case.

Be sure not to rush into couples counseling when emotions and tensions are still high, but wait until you are both in a place where you are willing to talk reasonably and work together with the guidance of the therapist. The uninvolved partner will likely be the one to make this call about readiness to begin couples therapy, and hopefully the unfaithful partner is willing to follow their lead.

Understanding that this reconciliation process may take a year or two, beginning couples therapy as soon as you are ready will be beneficial for you and your family. 

What if my partner does not want to go to counseling with me?

If you want to save your relationship, you should both be in a place where you are open to accepting professional help to get you back on the right track. If your partner does not want to go to counseling with you, then you both need to take a hard look at your relationship and determine to put in the time and effort to get you back into good standing so you can rebuild your relationship. It is possible to do this without counseling, but your chances of success and healing are much higher with the assistance of a professional couples counselor, who has helped many couples in similar situations find hope and healing.

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