The first month of 2013 an unusual thing happened in my marriage counseling practice. I’ve been working with couples since 1996 and a good portion of those couples have come to me for help with surviving infidelity. This one month I seemed to get way more than the average. In general I work with about one or two new couples a month with infidelity recovery. This month I had over six couples and individuals within the first two weeks of the year. I’m writing this with the intention of giving hope to whomever is reading and is experiencing the pain of infidelity.
It can be tempting sometimes to give up on a relationship, and when someone experiences infidelity, recovery is not the first thing that person has in mind. Instead one is likely to feel devastated, wounded, angry, confused, foolish, and lost. Regardless how painful and hopeless you may feel, consider there’s a good chance you can recover. I don’t mean just get by, or survive, I mean you can heal those wounds and move beyond them to a joyful, thriving relationship with your partner. In order to do so you need to begin the healing process one step at a time.What does it take for infidelity recovery?
First, an understanding that both of you hurt. However it may seem to you, whenever there’s infidelity, both people suffer a lot, even the offending partner.
Second, you should know that the problems of the relationship didn’t start with the infidelity, they began long before. It’s important that you be willing to address those difficulties. It won’t be the first thing you address, you need to first address the pain, but you will need to look within yourselves to find the root causes. Believe me you can do this!
Third, couples in these situations generally feel like they’re on an emotional roller coaster. One moment they may feel in love, forgiving, and hopeful, the next angry, bitter, and full of despair. This is natural and there are things you can do to deal with the ups and downs.
Fourth, do not make any long term decisions. Being emotionally charged means you are not likely to be the best person to see what’s really best for you. Give yourself time to come down from the pain you’ve been feeling.
Fifth, get help soon. When you select a counselor you should have an experience of trust. A good marriage counselor will have both compassion and a willingness to help you look at difficult things you may not like to look at. Good marriage counseling in infidelity recovery is direct, firm, respectful, informative, and compassionate.
Sixth, get busy living. Even though you’re addressing things that are painful you must keep your eyes and heart on creating a healthy relationship! It’s not impossible, think of yourself as a scientist setting out to solve an interesting mystery.