Working through an affair is rough. It involves more than learning how to get over cheating. Affair recovery is a long winding road sometimes walked in the dark alone. There is no doubt that finding out your spouse cheated on you is devastating. The hurt caused by this betrayal is isolating and volatile. One minute, you may feel like you are recovering just fine. The next, you remember something your spouse said about the affair, and you find yourself back at ground zero. Recovering from an affair involves time, as well as couples therapy after cheating to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Why You Should Seek Couples Counseling
You may think that individual counseling after an affair is key in working through the trauma of the betrayal. Well, it is, but seeking couples therapy is better. Here is why: Meeting one-on-one with a counselor will not help you get to the bottom of the affair. Individual therapy does not help you reconcile, and it does not give you both a mutual ground to stand on.
Yes, you could talk to your therapist about communicating with your spouse about the affair, but it is only going to be you making these moves. By attending couples counseling you speed up the recovery process because everything is much more transparent.
Know That It Takes Time
The biggest issue that couples face when recovering from an affair is rebuilding trust. The problem is obvious—your spouse fractured your relationship by being with someone else. However, without trust, your marriage or relationship will not move forward.
Commitment to reconciliation and recovery means learning to trust again. Unfortunately, this takes time.
Getting to the root of the affair—and the problems that caused it—is like a slow-blooming flower. The entirety of it is slow to emerge, preventing you from getting the whole truth right away.
Sometimes, in an effort to rebuild trust, it is better this way. A therapist can guide you and your spouse as you work through the affair, the underlying issues, and the emotions that arise as you discuss these things with your partner. Eventually, you will see past the defensiveness, the hedging, and the guilt then move closer to acceptance.
Form Up Boundaries
Going forward, you both need to know what to do in order to prevent another affair from happening. Boundaries help you get there. Ask one another what boundaries need to be applied to your relationship. For example, what boundaries do you have around each other’s friends? With the children? With coworkers and people at the gym? What are the limits?
So many relationships fail to recover because boundaries are never established. If you have difficulty making boundaries, be sure to ask your couples therapist about them. A therapist can teach you how to set healthy ones.
Developing Compassion For One Another
There are many things that happen once an affair has come to light. You start to figure out what happens next. You also learn why the affair happened. Past the anger and hurt you felt, you will start to see your partner in a new light. They have listened to your pain, attended couples therapy with you, answered your questions, and cooperated with the changes in your relationship.
As such, you may start to forgive them, because you understand the reason. Maybe they were stressed out at work or with a family issue, and it reduced their willpower. Maybe they were feeling emotionally neglected and reached out to the wrong person. Perhaps something happened in their past that made them feel unworthy of you. Taking such things into account reminds you that your partner is human and that they get hurt, too.
Self-Care Is Important
Recovering from an affair is going to require a lot of work from both of you, but that does not mean you cannot have time for yourself. Practicing self-care ensures that you are checking in and managing your emotions. You take time to reflect on what is happening, and you give yourself a moment to process reality. But what do we mean by self-care?
The best forms of self-care include eating nutritious food and staying hydrated, sleeping well, getting plenty of exercise, diving into spiritual practices, meditating, writing in a journal, or starting a new hobby.
There Is Still Hope For Your Relationship
There will be struggles that you and your partner face together and alone. Recovering from an affair is one of the most stressful challenges, and it takes a long time to restore what has been lost. However, your marriage or relationship does not have to end. Couples Academy has been counseling couples dealing with infidelity for many years now, and we have helped so many people find peace and happiness in relationships they thought were lost. The path to recovery begins today. Give Couples Academy a call to learn more about our couples therapy programs.