Infidelity is one of the most difficult things you can deal with as a couple. Infidelity brings up completely new emotions that neither of you have probably ever dealt with before. You lose trust in your partner and you question your marital vows. You find it difficult to interact with your spouse and wonder if you will ever trust them again. Can you recover from infidelity? Will you ever be the same couple again? The answer is both yes and no. Recovering from forms of infidelity requires a lot of work and couples counseling can help steer that process in the right direction.
It doesn?t matter which spouse you were, you need to come clean. The spouse who committed the infidelity needs to open up completely about the affair, their feelings, and their concerns. They need to be prepared to share as much, or as little, detail as the other spouse desires. The other spouse, however, also needs to be entirely honest and open. They need to share their truthful feelings and reactions. Keeping emotions hidden and buried will only tear the couple further apart and will make recovery almost impossible.
Coming clean does not mean making excuses. Couples counseling is not a time for the cheating spouse to put blame on the other spouse for the affair. It is not a time to provide excuses for the affair. Even if there are problems in the marriage, an affair is not a suitable solution. Successful progress cannot occur if the couples counseling process is full of excuses and blame. It is also important for the supporting spouse to avoid blame. Feelings of blame and excuses need to be put entirely aside for progress to occur.
Attend marriage intensives early
The hardest part for both spouse members is usually following the initial knowledge of the infidelity. The feelings are entirely new and both spouses are confused and angry. They are left with concerns and a feeling of the unknown, as they do not know how the marriage will end. Marriage intensives can be a helpful transition into couples counseling for infidelity. Marriage intensives provide the couple with frequent and in depth counseling services, giving them the chance to work through their new feelings about the affair.
Consider individual counseling
You may question the benefit of individual counseling when it comes to cases of infidelity. However, individual therapy services can not only be beneficial, but also crucial to recovery. The person who cheated is likely dealing with their own personal feelings about the affair, including regret, guilt, anger, loss at the affair partner, and confusion about how to handle the marriage recovery process. The other spouse is also likely experiencing many of the same feelings, but may be hesitant to discuss them with their partner.
Infidelity brings so many raw emotions to the surface. With the marital trust being broken by the affair, each spouse may be more comfortable sharing and working through these feelings in an individual setting first. Individual counseling can also help each spouse prepare for group counseling. It can give them the opportunity to test out communication styles and to truly understand the parts of the affair that are bothering them the most. After working with a marriage or family therapist, 93% of patients said they had more effective tools for dealing with their problems. Respondents also reported improved physical health and the ability to function better at work after attending therapy.
Couples counseling is crucial following an affair. The emotions in the relationship are often too high and too fresh to effectively work through the problem alone. Having an experienced and well trained third party who is not biased can be the most beneficial part of the recovery process. Many couples who undergo sessions with therapists see great results. According to the Chicago Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, research shows that about 50% of couples who participated in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy recovered upon the termination of therapy, with 70% recovering within the next three months.