After the discovery of an affair, life gets intense. If you just found out about an affair, you may be lost in disbelief. Everything you once thought you knew is now false, and your entire relationship is being examined under a microscope. Emotions can feel like a rollercoaster; from angry to depressed, from hopeless to hopeful. This traumatic event needs quick action and marriage counseling after an affair may be what you need to recover.
There are many definitions for what constitutes having an affair. It can often mean that one person had a sexual and/or intimate relationship with someone outside of the marriage. However, an affair might also mean that someone cheated emotionally — an emotional relationship in which one person has a strong emotional connection with someone outside of the relationship can also create strife. Yet other affairs may include online relationships or pornography. In my San Diego marriage counseling practice, many times I see that a couple have two different definitions of what an affair is, and the views often create another added stress. Either way, trust has been broken in the marriage and healing needs to start after an affair.
Infidelity is a serious issue for couples and should be worked through in a delicate manner. I recommend marriage counseling after an affair because it helps couples find healthy ways to heal the attachment injury. Time is of the essence. You should take quick action if you really want to heal your relationship after an affair.
San Diego marriage counseling can benefit your relationship after an affair:
- Learn how to effectively rebuild trust and the relationship through actions and words
- Get to the root of why the affair became an option and happened in the first place
- Understand the steps to get reassurance from your partner (or give reassurance) when haunting memories pop up
- Recover from hurt and blame, and learn how to forgive
- Heal the attachment wound from the affair and create a secure attachment
- Learning how to watch and catch signs to prevent future infidelity pains
- Show remorse and ask for forgiveness that is effective
If you live in San Diego and recently found out about an affair, I suggest you act quickly and find a counselor that best fits your needs. I provide marriage counseling after an affair for all areas of San Diego county. Take a look around my site and make sure I am a good fit for you. If you like what you see, make sure to schedule a therapy appointment.
How to find the best therapist that fits your needs:
If you are looking for a counselor in San Diego dealing with infidelity and coping after an affair, make sure you find the best therapist for you. There are various items you should know before you schedule your first appointment. Here is an article about how to find the best counselor for your needs.
How To Repair After You Had The Affair
While infidelity is rated as the most serious hurtful event a couple can face, many marriages and relationships can survive the storm and sometimes even make it through even stronger than before the affair occurred. Let’s face it though, it’s going to be a tough road ahead to overcome the damage of an affair and both partners need to be truly motivated to heal.
When affairs are not addressed and successfully repaired, the residual injury from the affair can corrode the couple’s sense of connection, safety and trust, making it hard to restore or keep a bond strong. The way the affair is handled will be critical in order to resolve the affair. You may at times feel discouraged or as though healing is too far out of your grasp, but hang in there and remember to keep in mind the reasons you are fighting for this relationship.
You may be grappling with such questions as: “How did this even happen?” or “How will we ever get over it?” While there may be a range of reasons why the affair occurred, the most important next steps will be to make the relationship the number one priority. If you do choose to continue working on the relationship, these steps are for the partner who had the affair and how to rebuild trust.
Here is advice on how to repair after an affair :
- End the affair Right Away: If you were unfaithful, ending the affair immediately is very important to starting the healing process. You will also want to minimize triggers and things that may still be seen by your partner as threatening to the relationship. Stop all interaction or communication with the other person. If the affair involved a co-worker, limit contact strictly to business, or get another job. It is important at this time to let your partner know that you will protect them from another injury.
- Acknowledge the hurtful behavior: Be accountable for the affair and any lying or deceitful behaviors that may have occurred when concealing the affair. Yes, you may believe that it was justified because you were unhappy in the relationship. Although it will be necessary to address your sources of unhappiness in the relationship during the healing process of the affair, justifying yourself and/or blaming your partner will make it difficult for your relationship to heal and your partner to feel like you understand the devastation that this action has caused.
- Listen to your partner’s hurt: Really hear your partner’s pain and try to understand his/her perspective and truly acknowledge the damage caused. Whether the infidelity was one night after too many drinks or a long-term affair, your partner’s hurt really Hurts and they are struggling with the fact that they have lost some degree of trust or safety through this injury.
- Help in rebuilding the trust: This will be a critical time for the partner who cheated to take practical action to demonstrate sincere remorse and show that the relationship is a priority worth fighting for. This may entail increased transparence such as access to email or phone calls or an increased priority to follow through on promises both big and small. Complete Honesty, Consistency, and Dependability will be key ingredients to starting to rebuild the trust that has been broken and showing your partner that they can start to trust in you again. Do what it takes to protect your partner from repeated hurt.
- Give your partner time to heal: Facing the aftermath of the affair may feel never-ending, but hang in there. It won’t be this way forever. It will take some time for your partner to recover from what has felt like a legitimate crisis to them, the relationship, and their sense of safety. Your partner wants to move forward too; it just gets difficult to fully trust that they can let their guard down when their body is telling them to protect themselves from getting hurt again.
Try your best not to abandon your marriage prematurely, without allowing sufficient time for the healing process to take place. Yes, this may take some time and there’s no telling how long. Variables like: the type or circumstances of the affair, the length of the marriage, the amount of lying or deceit that took place, whether injuries like this have occurred before, and other factors can further increase the length of time it takes to heal. If you really want to save your marriage, both of you need to hang in there long enough to see positive results.
If you are in San Diego and trying to rebuild trust in your relationship, affair counseling can help. Schedule your appointment here at Estes Therapy and we will help you get your relationship to the next level. You can learn how to repair after an affair…and it is possible!
- Your Internal Alarms Are Going Off – Do you have that sick-to-your-stomach feeling that something is just not right? Our intuition is there for a reason, and is rarely wrong. If your instincts are telling you something is off or your partner is having an affair, it might be right. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but you need to trust your internal alarm system. One sign that your partner is cheating is that you will instinctively know that something is off.
- Hygiene and grooming changes – Does your partner look a little too good to be going to a yoga class? Maybe you’ve noticed they focus on getting ‘done up’ a little more than usual before doing tasks, such as going to a friends house. Or you might have noticed your partner has been spending more money on new clothes and lingerie. It is common that hygiene and grooming improves dramatically while people are courting outside of the relationship. This can include an increased effort with shopping, style, and overall appearances. If you have noticed the hygiene and grooming changes, this can be another sign that your partner is having an affair.
- Phone phobia – Did your partner’s iPhone passcode just mysteriously change from your anniversary date to another code for no apparent reason? Or do they hold their phone close to their chest when texting as you walk into the room? Does it seem that their phone attachment is over the top? Increases in technology use didn’t necessarily increase cheating behaviors, but they definitely altered how the cheating process can take place. Texting someone under a fake name or having hidden dating profiles are ways that people can engage with lovers outside of the relationship. In couples counseling, we believe in an ‘open phones’ rule- so that if a partner wants to see what is in their partners phone and asks permission first, they should be able to see it. If this request is met with defensiveness, or these other behaviors are present, this can be a red flag that your partner is having an affair.
- Disappearing acts- We all know that it shouldn’t take 2 hours to go to the grocery store, right? (Well, unless you are going to Costco on a Sunday). Cheating partners need to get creative about finding ways to escape the relationship to meet their mates. One thing to look out for is time that isn’t being accounted for.
If these signs are happening and you feel like your relationship is on the brink of a breakup, you need to know that every move counts right now.
Each reaction and conflict that occurs will impact the relationship either positively or negatively. Get into therapy to address these issues as quickly as possible to ensure your relationship has the highest chance of success. Couples Therapy has been proven to help couples recover from cheating and affairs, however most couples unfortunately wait too long to get help. At Estes Therapy, we value both partners perspectives and help both feel seen, heard, and understood as we work towards healing together. Recovery from infidelity is possible, but noticing the problem is the first step. Don’t wait to reach out. We are already looking forward to meeting you.
Steps to Take
- Understand why and where things went wrong in your marriage. Get to the root of it. Meet with a therapist to sort through it in a confidential environment without judgment.
- Put the other man on hold until you figure out your next step. It’s best to close one door before you open the next. Your guilt won’t fully go away until you make a clean break, regardless of which man you choose, so stop communicating with the other man until you figure out if you’re going to give it a shot with your husband.
- Read the book “Too bad to stay, too good to leave”. This book can help you sort out your feelings. Sort through the feelings about staying in your marriage or leaving to be with the new person (or to be alone).
- Decide whether or not you will tell your husband about the affair. You can either tell yourpartner or not tell him, it’s up to you, but either way he needs to know how BAD things actually are in the marriage. He may not realize how bad you think things are and that you are feeling neglected and lost. You know your husband best, and can tell if it would be beneficial to your relationship to tell him about the affair, or if you can even live with yourself by keeping it a secret forever.
Fixing your relationship after an affair isn’t easy – but it can be done. Infidelity doesn’t have to signal the end of your marriage, but it does mean that something is seriously off course and you need to work together to get it back on track. The guilt can be overwhelming, even to the point where it impacts your physical health, so it’s important to deal with the issue head on and make a decision about staying in or walking away from your marriage.
Steps to rebuild trust after an affair
Rebuilding trust after an affair can be extremely difficult, especially for the partner who was deceived. For your relationship recovery to be successful, the involvement of both participants in the relationship is absolutely necessary.
Initially, the person who shattered the trust will need to work hard to build it back. Showing remorse, being consistent, and understanding his partner’s pain are all very important to rebuilding the once solid foundation.
The unfaithful participant will also need to prove to the other partner that he can be a trustworthy and emotionally-safe person once again.
The partner who was deceived, on the other hand, will also need to do some work. Don’t just shove the affair under the rug and pretend nothing happened.
Here are a few tips to help you relearn how to trust in your partner after the affair:
- Notice when your “radar” is on. The person who was cheated on can often have heightened anxiety and may become obsessive in their search for untrustworthy behaviors. For example: a man and woman are out to dinner and the woman knows the exact location of every beautiful woman. She may watch his eyes, and wait to catch him when his gaze wanders. This behavior is very common and can be very toxic.
- Don’t be unrealistic. If you expect your partner to be available at every minute, you are setting him/her up for failure. Your partner cannot be expected to stop his life, but he can make a more concerted effort to keep you involved in it. Don’t expect that every time your partner is doing something wrong every time he doesn’t answer the phone.
- Keep your mind on track. Since the trust was broken, insecurity and worry about the relationship may set in. When your thoughts go down the ‘what is my partner doing right now’ path, redirect your thoughts and give yourself assurance. These ongoing and otherwise destructive thoughts can create a cycle of anxiety, all of which can prevent future growth of the relationship.
- Choose your lens. People see the world through different lenses. Don’t let your lens be a ‘lens of mistrust.’ You have a choice regarding how you want to see the world.
- Tell your partner what you need. You may need some concrete evidence that your partner is sincere with his words. Let your partner know what you need for comfort, but ensure all requests are realistic and unobtrusive. Your partner can’t read your mind, so make your needs as clear as possible.
- Avoid hinting. Hinting is not an effective means of communication and often causes more problems at a time of distress. Your partner might not get the hint as quickly as you would like, and the lack of understanding might set him up for failure. Be clear and to the point.
These steps might not be sufficient enough for recovery if you have a history of broken trust in your life. The past can impact your current relationships, and prevent you from moving forward.
If you can’t seem to stop thinking about the affair and constantly feel like you are walking on egg shells, see a professional therapist. Therapists are trained to help couples get back on track after relationship trauma.
To learn more about the author, or to book an appointment with Jennine Estes MFC, visit her website at estestherapy.com or call (619) 558-0001.