Infidelity is extremely stressful. After the devastating disclosure of infidelity, couples feel intense emotions and have recurrent crises. The stress from infidelity affects both partners. Feelings of abandonment, devastation, confusion, betrayal and jealousy may be experienced. The good news is that many marriages survive infidelity and go on to have stronger and more intimate relationships after couples therapy.
The first issue to be addressed in therapy is clarifying whether the purpose of treatment is rebuilding the marriage, resolving ambivalence about whether to remain married, or separating in a constructive way.
A New Crisis of Infidelity
A new crisis of infidelity is emerging in which people who never intended to be unfaithful are unwittingly crossing the line from platonic friendship to romantic relationship, particularly
on the internet and in the workplace.
Emotional affairs differ from platonic friendships in that there is greater emotional intimacy than in the marital relationship, secrecy amd deception of the spouse, and greater sexual chemistry.
Internet affairs which cause marital distress without actual physical contact exemplify emotional affairs.
For those who have just discovered a partner’s infidelity, Janis Abrahms Spring (author of After The Affair) outlines three stages of healing:
- The First Stage: Normalizing Your Feelings
- The Second Stage: Deciding Whether to Recommit or Quit
- The Third Stage: Rebuilding Your Relationship
…After sharing so much history you may now feel more connected, and more accepted and accepting, than ever before, with a wiser, more clear-sighted vision of what you want your relationship to become.
– Janis Abrahms Spring
I often work with couples who choose to preserve their relationships after infidelity and affairs. I will support each partner as you express your feelings and needs and will offer guidance to you as you heal the betrayal. I will help you gain awareness of the depth of your commitment to the relationship and other factors affecting the overall health of your connection. In addition, I will teach you both the skills you need for rebuilding trust and avoiding future recurrences of infidelity.
Three main stages of affair and infidelity recovery have been identified:
- Trauma – Discovery to 6 months
- Issues Clarification – 3 to 6 months
- Addressing the Problems – 6 months to 1 year
In some instances if affairs continue it may be necessary to re-evaluate the goal of staying together. Recurrent patterns of infidelity, addictions, abuse or other behaviors can make the possibility of preserving a relationship questionable.
My psychotherapy practice is located in West Palm Beach, FL. If you are dealing with infidelity, cheating or affairs I invite you to call me at (561) 968-1505 or contact me through the website to begin the process of recovery.