Many people consider an affair to be a nail in the coffin for any relationship, but it does not have to be this way.
While an affair is a betrayal of trust and can be extremely hurtful for the person on the receiving end, things are rarely that simple. There are many different factors and elements that typically contribute to the decision to cheat, and in many cases this can even be an impulsive decision with no real “meaning” behind it at all.
Healing and Marriage Counseling After an Affair
Many couples do decide that they want to try and salvage the relationship, which is where marriage counseling comes in after an affair.
Can A Marriage Really Be Saved?
You may feel right now as though your relationship will never be the same again, or as though it could never truly be saved. This is an understandable way to feel. You might even feel as though it shouldn’t ever be the same again. You may not desire to forgive your partner, or you might not feel as though you can live with yourself. Perhaps you don’t believe that the situation that led you to need to cheat will ever be fully resolved.
But this doesn’t mean that your relationship cannot be saved. As long as both of you genuinely want to salvage the relationship and as long as you still love each other, the right intervention can make a HUGE difference.
What Needs to Happen
The first thing that needs to happen is that there needs to be an honest, open, and two-way communication between both parties.
It is very normal for the hurt party to assign blame on the other person – and even justifiable. However, it is also extremely important that they try to understand and empathize with their partner to understand what drove them to that situation.
Again: you may not feel that you want to do this. You may not feel that your partner deserves your forgiveness, or that you should have to be sympathetic when you are the “victim.” Your knee-jerk reaction might be to ask why you are being blamed for your partner’s infidelity!
But this is as much for your sake as for theirs. If you want the marriage to be saved, then you need to be able to understand your partner. This will help you to come to terms with what they did and why they did it so that you can eventually move past the resentment that you might be feeling right now.
This will also help you to know that they have changed – and to feel secure in the relationship once again.
For the partner who has committed the act of cheating, the pressure is on them to help their partner feel trust in the relationship again. Without trust, you won’t be able to have a happy and healthy marriage.
That means that you need to demonstrate genuine remorse and an understanding of just how much you have harmed your partner and how much you have jeopardized. Doing this shows them that the relationship really does matter to you, and provides a sense of catharsis.
At the same time, you also need to demonstrate that they can trust you 100% and that you would never do the same thing again. They need to believe that to be the case.
The role of a counselor in this situation is to act as a go-between and an impartial third party to help guide this conversation in a non-destructive direction. They can provide a safe space for talking honestly and help two people who are discussing extremely emotionally-charged topics to better communicate what they really mean.
From here, once you have come to terms with what happened, you can begin to focus on rebuilding your relationship. It is unlikely that things were perfect prior to the incident, and therefore you need to work on re-establishing yourself as a couple.
Your relationship may be different than before, but that doesn’t have to mean worse! You need to start building a future together again, you need to find ways to enjoy each other’s company, and you need to get some quality time and build happy new memories on top of that very painful one. Focus on what’s good and bright in your relationship.
If you can do all this, and if you both demonstrate a genuine desire for the marriage to work, then you can move forward with your relationship.
Finding a Marriage Counselor
A counselor can help you to do all these things, but it’s important you work with someone who is on your wavelength. Consult and discuss with the professional before you commit to their services, and do your own research. There are many different approaches to counseling, ranging from CBT to person-centered. Additionally, relationship counseling can utilize different methods such as Gottman and Emotionally Focused therapy. No matter the approach, finding the right counselor for you will be the difference between frustration and breakthrough.
SAGE Counseling Omaha | Marriage Counseling After an Affair
At SAGE Counseling Omaha, our primary focus is on helping you to get the support and treatment that you need as you move forward. We all experience challenges that are often too difficult to work through on their own, and we are here to support you during these tough times.
When you connect with our compassionate counseling team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized care that you need. Contact us today. For approved clients, we are able to utilize telehealth services through our HIPAA compliant virtual software.