Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful
Learning that your partner has been unfaithful can be one of the most devastating and upsetting moments possible. How to cope with such shocking news can be very difficult to comprehend. It is easy to lose the concept of who you are, and what you had, and can bring out fear in what your life will look like moving forward. A profound sense of loss is normal once the betrayal amongst partners is disclosed. There are numerous consequences once the infidelity comes to light. Along with loss of trust, partners who admit to having extramarital relationships often find their relationships with other family members (including parents and children) to be damaged. Emotional problems such as lowered self esteem, feelings of betrayal, depression, and anger are very common. Due to the damage that infidelity can cause, it is no wonder why it is frequently cited as one of the top reasons for divorce.
Affairs occur for many reasons. There are many external stressors that can push people off balance. An affair can occur even in a perfectly good marriage. Blaming yourself, doubting self and taking responsibility for the affair is a common reaction. Thinking that “you” are the cause of an extramarital affair can be an inaccurate assumption. Sometimes both partners play a role in what has happened. It can be that the relationship has been lacking commitment, communication, and intimacy for a while and neither of you addressed such issues. Whatever the reason, an affair can be a mistake that happened one time or can take place over a couple of months or years. The length of time during which one engages in an affair does not equal the hurt an affair can cause. The hurt is devastating whether it occurred one time or lasted for five years. Making the decision of whether to re-commit to the relationship is a difficult and personal one for both partners. Are you both committed to working through this trauma? Are you both willing to work through trust issues? In many cases the relationship can be restored and actually strengthen your marriage…a difficult concept to accept early on in the process of healing.
Staying together for the sake of your children is a personal choice. However, chances are that your marriage will be stronger if you make the decision to stay together because you love each other, are remorseful for what happened and are committed to restoring what’s been lost. Trying to rebuild trust takes time and a commitment from the betrayer. It helps to recognize if the betrayed partner is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experiencing flashbacks and a need to go over and over the details of the infidelity in therapy. Apologizing, staying in constant contact whether by text, phone, email, and being reassured of the commitment to the relationship is essential in order to move forward, past the painful feelings.
In therapy, the couple can begin to work on processing the shock and trauma of the infidelity and eventually work on forgiveness. Forgiveness takes time and there is a healing period that must take place on its own. It is helpful for the couple to enter into therapy and learn positive and effective ways of processing the hurt instead of blaming one another and reliving the negative experience.
At the Hellenic Therapy Center, we have a team of licensed professionals who can help you navigate through this process. We will see you together as a couple, and also meet with you individually, with your permission. As we meet with you individually, all information shared in these individual sessions is confidential. We provide therapy for both individuals and couples. We are located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and are available day, evening and weekend hours. Please call 908-322-0112 or visit www.hellenictherapy.com