Healing from relationship affairs - how couples therapy can help
A lot of couples come to couples therapy having had the emotional injury of an affair. A lot of couples wonder whether they can heal from this wound and regain trust in the relationship. Successful couples therapy does rely on a foundation of trust, and it isn't uncommon to start this process in a rocky situation. I won't lie, the beginning isn't easy at times. But, if two people want to heal, it is often very possible to move forward.
It is often for difficult for both parties. The partner who has been cheated on is often struggling to lean on their partner again, and the partner who offended is often full of shame and tired of the feeling that they will never regain trust again. We need to deal with both parts of the equation. Often, we start with the partner full of shame to help validate some of those feelings so they can feel equipped to be a healing factor in the relationship. For the partner who has been hurt, we create a safe space to talk about how difficult it is to trust.
While all of this is going on, we also explore some of the reasons the earlier relationship might have been vulnerable to an affair; this is not discussed in the spirit of excusing what happened, but rather to make space to talk about some unmet needs so that the relationship is stronger in the future. In some ways, couples therapy after an affair is managing two pieces at once - the injury of the affair, and taking a close look at the mechanics of the relationship so that it is stronger and more open to avoid further injury.
If you have any more questions about this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.