Has an affair threatened your marriage?

  • The bond between the two of you is made of love, care, and trust.  Infidelity injured this bond.
  • If your partner has had the affair, you probably feel wounded and crushed.  If you have betrayed your partner, you may be feeling the weight and the sting of guilt and shame. 
  • Are you afraid that talking about infidelity will end your relationship forever, but not talking about it makes the hurt grow worse?
  • Are you afraid that talking about infidelity will end your relationship forever, but not talking about it makes the hurt grow worse?
  • Are you afraid that talking about infidelity will end your relationship forever, but not talking about it makes the hurt grow worse?
  • Do you find it difficult to talk about the affair?  Without steady guidance of a therapist, the conversation can drift in the negative direction, into anger and fear.
  • Do you want to know if your partner still loves you?
  • Is infidelity costing you what you value most: your family, your partner, your self-worth?

The pain from the aftermath of an affair is excruciating and maddening

If you or your partner had an affair, it can damage the sense of safety that your relationship should provide.  The faithful partner suffers grueling self-doubt and raw hurt.  If the relationship is left to its own devices, the emotional distance between partners grows and, usually, the breakup or a protracted cold war.  Some people choose to live in cold, distant, hostile relationships, but that kind of marriage does not provide a nurturing emotional environment that kids need to thrive. 

Nor does this kind of loveless relationship provide the environment that partners need to have a fulfilling life.  The reason people marry or enter into long-term relationships is that they don’t want to feel alone.  If you want the relationship to work again, but the fallout from an affair makes you feel alone in the relationship, then you should get help.

Partners who want to get past the affair don’t know how to do it.  It is not obvious when and how to speak about what happened with integrity and emotional intelligence.  Doing what people do in society to resolve problems usually leads to more conflict.  Add bad communication to the underlying fallout from an affair, and you have a recipe for a family tragedy going from bad to worse.

Although saying the wrong thing can damage the only opportunity to repair, silence is also not a solution.  Without an outlet to express feelings, to take responsibility, and to make amends, resentment only grows and builds.

Why is infidelity so common?  

Research shows that 15% percent of women and 25% of men have had intercourse outside of their long-term relationship.  If you include emotional and sexual intimacy without intercourse, these percentages rise to 35% for women and 45% for men. 

The basic reason why affairs are so common is human nature.  By staying monogamous, we are going against human nature.  It is not wrong to go against human nature.  We do that when we eat healthy instead of eating junk food.

But it does take a persistent effort to have an exciting monogamous relationship, and many people don’t know what they need to do—they need to actively work to minimize conflict and strengthen bonding and romance—or how to do these things.  Still others have been so worn out and demoralized by the relentless conflict and emotional distance that these partners don’t have the emotional strength to repair the relationship when it gets tattered.

Your relationship can survive and affair

If you are reading about affair recovery therapy, then infidelity has damaged a marriage that was not perfect but had a lot of good in it.

An affair can wreck a marriage.  But if you and your partner don’t want to abandon the relationship that is injured and is hurting, if you want to work to save the marriage, then therapy can help.  The process of recovering from an affair is the process of repair, so in the end the relationship will be better than before the affair.

Affair recovery therapy can make your relationship better than it was before the infidelity.

Affair recovery therapist helps partners deal with the damage caused by infidelity. The faithful partner goes to therapy to heal the trauma of betrayal, accept the loss of the relationship as it has been, and envision what’s possible for the relationship.  Affair recovery process helps the betrayed partner tell his or her story from a vulnerable stance to enable the unfaithful partner to understand what the betrayed partner has gone through, to empathize, and to have compassion.  The unfaithful partner goes to therapy to understand what led him to infidelity, how infidelity impacted the faithful partner, what it means to take responsibility and to make amends for this betrayal, and how to understand the process of forgiveness.

Chronic conflict between partners is a major risk factor the infidelity.  Relationship conflict sets in like a fog that both creates an emotional distance between partners and prevents partners from seeing each other romantically.  Affair recovery therapy teaches partners to reduce conflict and repair after a flareup, so partners can see each other romantically and are able to romantically focus on one another instead of being focused on people outside of the relationship.

The process of repair also includes learning to keep in focus the common interests such as the good in the relationship, the best interests of the children, and the inevitable damage of divorce.  Repair also includes grieving what was lost in the affair the common and healing from the trauma of infidelity.

Asking for and achieving forgiveness is a process of developing compassion for one another and understanding of each other’s needs.  Grieving the damage from infidelity is an important part of the forgiveness process.

Affair recovery process also leads partners to a new vision of the kind of relationship they want to have and to a conversation about how to actively protect the relationship from future affairs.

But You May Still Have Questions About Infidelity Therapy

Q:  If my partner and I can get advice from close friends or family, why should we talk to a therapist?

If you want to save your marriage, talking to friends and family about infidelity is not a good strategy.  Friends and family mean well, but because they don’t have professional clinical training, they can push the couple towards a family breakup by siding with one partner and demonizing and pathologizing the other. 

Friends and family also might push you towards a decision on staying together or splitting up.  This decision should be made slowly, as you grieve the loss of the marriage as you know it and accept new single life or the heavy burden of rebuilding the relationship.  Any decision that is made quickly or, worse, that someone has made for you–is likely to be regretted.

Q:  Are all affairs the same in terms of approach to recovery?

No.  The approach to recovery depends on what was broken and what needs to be fixed.  The roots of promiscuity and a single affair are different.  Sexual drive and impulse control drive promiscuity, which is more serious.  The risk factors for a one-time affair include loneliness in the marriage, inability to have other needs met in the marriage, difficulty communicating with the partner, falling out of love, family tragedy like the death of a child. 

The affair has happened.  But it does not have to define who you are and what your life will be like.  You can recover from infidelity and repair your relationship.

Call me at 310-751-0616 to schedule an appointment or discuss your situation.  I return all voicemails and emails within 24 hours.