“You hurt your spouse, not so much by the infidelity, but by the negative feelings about yourself that you bring home.”
– Michael Zaslow
Has your partner had an affair? Have you?
People define affairs differently. I have worked with couples where one person has had a physical relationship with someone else. I’ve also worked with several couples where one person has had an “emotional” affair – there has been no physical ‘cheating’ but they had created an intimate relationship with someone outside their marriage. Sometimes an emotional affair can even occur with someone online and the other party can be anonymous. There are some couples who define pornography as an affair. Regardless of how you define infidelity, it comes down to one thing: betrayal.
The Emotional Tsunami
Perhaps you are struggling with the common emotions of anger and shock. Maybe you are dealing with confusion and guilt and having the recurring thought: “It’s all over. There is no way to fix this.”
When a couple experiences any level of betrayal it is common to ask:
How can I ever trust again?
How could I have been so stupid?
Is this even fixable?
What do I do now? Do I move out? Do they?
Counseling allows a couple to approach this thorny topic in a structured and safe manner. It’s important to “get it all out” and to come to terms with the truth of the situation. Despite the pain that is happening, it is important to understand exactly what happened and what led to it.
It may be hard to believe this, (and perhaps controversial for me to say it) but my experience shows me that infidelity can actually be a good thing. Stay with me here!
It’s not the affair that is the good thing – it’s what happens after the affair that can lead to a good thing. Of course I don’t advocate cheating and I think it should be avoided at all costs, but I do believe that such an event can be an opportunity to explore the humanity of yourself and your partner. It can be a chance to understand each other more completely.
We all make mistakes. We are all vulnerable. This is a chance to see your partner in totality – their weaknesses and failures. And it is a chance to explore the concept of forgiveness and begin to explore what led to the infidelity.
Not that the injured party is to blame, but affairs happen when marriages are not healthy and counseling allows the chance to explore not only the impact of the affair and to begin the process of healing but also to see the challenges of your particular marriage and to begin building a better foundation. Maybe. Just maybe this is a chance to make your marriage better than it was.
Think you are alone?
Infidelity happens all too frequently. I believe that affairs are almost as old as the concept of marriage itself. Monogamy is hard. Temptation is all around us. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who have survived affairs and I am here to tell you that it is possible. Seeking couples counseling is the first step to understanding what has happened to you and seeking to heal from it and move on.
Not My First Rodeo
While this may be new and overwhelming to you, it is what I do everyday. I’ve heard it all. In such a tragic and vulnerable situation, you want to go to someone that has worked with hundreds of couples through situations of infidelity.
Does every couple come out the other side intact? Of course not. Each situation is unique and all options are on the table. But regardless of the outcome, please know that I have the expertise and knowledge to give you tools as you work your way through.
Though I’m based in New York, Online Marriage Counseling allows me to work with you from wherever you may be located. Email today to set up your free 15-minute consultation.
Online Marriage Counseling can help.
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