Infidelity counseling has helped many couples to repair and rebuild their partnerships and marriages. Through therapy, partnerships can be revived and become better than they previously were.
But How Can Therapy Succeed?
An affair is not necessarily a deal-breaker in a relationship. In fact, it may be an opportunity and motivator to improve the partnership.
In order to have success in therapy, both partners must:
- Commit to improving their relationship
- Manage intense emotions and communication
- Commit to being honest
- Talk about very tough issues in their relationship
- Tolerate hearing the “truth” from one another
- Admit to their contributions to setting-up the affair
- Trust their therapist
- Assess the pros and cons of staying together
- Keep working in therapy until trust is re-developed
Nobody knows the answer to this question. About 75% of marriages in the USA survive infidelity. That means the couple stays together after an affair is exposed.
However, we don’t know what percentage of those partners engaged in therapy. And we don’t know the quality of their relationships after the affair.
What specialized infidelity therapists do know is that an affair is very disruptive to a partnership and that the repair work, with or without a counselor, is very difficult. To rebuild trust and to be able to forgive the unfaithful partner is very challenging and takes a long period of time for the hurt one to reach.
Are There Any Rules in Infidelity Therapy?
Most experienced infidelity therapists make certain demands of their clients.
In order to have a chance at success, they ask both partners to commit to the following agreements:
- The unfaithful partner must cut off all contact with their affair person.
- The unfaithful partner must take full responsibility for their transgressions.
- The unfaithful partner must make an authentic apology to their hurt partner.
- The unfaithful partner must not rush their hurt partner into healing, trusting or calming down.
- Both partners must commit to the process of recovery and improvement.
- The hurt partner must agree not to get revenge on the unfaithful partner and their affair person.
- The hurt partner must not blame themselves for their partner’s unfaithful behavior.
- Both partners must take responsibility for their participation in therapy.
Therapy for Infidelity Does Not Always Succeed
Some couples cannot repair their relationships after an affair. Most won’t go to counseling sessions. Some will engage in therapy for a few sessions and then back out. The intensity of the counseling meetings is overwhelming. Or, one or both partners come to the conclusion that they don’t want to rebuild their relationship or marriage. Some partners believe that they will be better off separating.
In most of these cases that cannot improve their relationships, the therapy is not a failure because it helped them to decide that they did not want to put in the energy to rebuild. Perhaps there is no hope left. Some unfaithful partners decide to leave their relationship and return to their affair person.
For many couples, separation can be a positive decision and a healthy outcome because their relationship is not strong or loving. They realize that there is not enough caring left to build upon. For others, the therapy motivates them to leave an abusive or unsatisfying relationship. To part with one another may give them more hope of finding a better lifestyle.
Give Therapy a Chance to Help You
Your relationship is very valuable and meaningful. You both deserve to give therapy a try in order to understand what happened and why, and to resolve some confusion and emotional pain. You have nothing to lose by trying to work things out in therapy.
Therapy for infidelity will usually have one of two possible outcomes:
- You will rebuild a trusting relationship.
- You will decide to separate.
You may be able to successfully work things out with your partner and build a fulfilling relationship.
However, you may also make no significant decisions or changes or gain any insight into what happened in the relationship. So, you may get stuck and remain miserable in an non-trusting relationship or marriage simmering with resentment, anger and distrust.
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