Infidelity: What Happens Next?
Infidelity doesn’t have to end your relationship. Learn how couples counseling can help you and your partner stay together.
About half of all couples that suffer an infidelity crisis save their marriage or relationship. Infidelity and the process of recovery is one of the most challenging in relationships because the betrayed partner suffers trauma from the event. An experienced couples counselor can help you navigate the hard work it takes to heal and move forward.
If you’ve recently discovered (or revealed) an affair, you’re likely asking yourself, “What do I do now?” Undoubtedly the revelation or discovery throws a relationship askew and immediately creates feelings of betrayal, mistrust, anger, confusion, guilt, and sadness. In fact, the betrayed probably experiences an entire spectrum of feelings, all of which are valid and normal.
Couples have a few options after an affair is revealed or discovered:
- Leave the relationship behind
- Stay in the relationship, but don’t face what happened
- Stay in the relationship, face what happened, and work to heal and strengthen the relationship
- Stay in the relationship and allow the affair to continue
Couples counseling for infidelity helps you explore what happened and the best path forward for your relationship.
Infidelity and Individual Relationship Counseling
One of the myths about affairs is that an affair can’t happen in a happy relationship. When you learn your partner strayed, you might feel like you did something wrong. However, it is important to recognize that there are many reasons for infidelity and many kinds of infidelity. These reasons are not necessarily inextricably linked to you, which is part of what counseling sessions may help you resolve. If you’re feeling this way, you can seek individual relationship counseling first and decide what to do next. You don’t need to visit with your partner right away.
What to Expect at Counseling for Infidelity
Every relationship is different and unique, but you can expect to cover these topics in the first stages of relationship counseling:
- Relationship skills: How can you open communication with your partner and strengthen the relationship even after the infidelity?
- Trust: How is trust created, destroyed, and rebuilt?
- Emotional needs: What are the emotional needs that are not being met in the relationship?
- Intimacy and sexuality: When and how can you reconnect?
- Relatives and friends: What to say to whom, when?
- Next steps: Can you save the relationship, heal, and move forward?
- Learning from mistakes: What have you learned about one another? How can this crisis become constructive rather than destructive to the relationship?
When to Start with Infidelity Counseling
About one-third of our practice is devoted to couples going through an infidelity crisis. Many people come to couples counseling as soon as an affair is discovered or revealed. However, we also see couples after they tried to repair a relationship months later. In both cases, we recommend you try discernment counseling before deciding on divorce. These short-term sessions give you and your partner a chance to explore what happened and whether you’re willing to make things work.
Remember, statistically, half the couples who face an infidelity crisis save their relationship. In fact, and you may be surprised to read this now, but marriages and relationships saved after infidelity can even become stronger than before. If you want to explore your options and reconnect with your partner, contact us to reach one of our experienced therapists.
Hear Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum, co-founder of Couples Counseling Associates, speak about infidelity on Chicago’s WGN Radio.
How to Start with Infidelity Counseling
Couples who want to work at healing the relationship injury that comes from infidelity can do it, provided they follow the right steps. The couple needs to devote themselves, both individually and together, to rebuilding their marriage. In couples therapy, you’ll learn the relationship skills to take the first healing steps today, and build towards a stronger bond in the months and years to come.
Infidelity is like an injury: your relationship can heal, but it takes time and effort. The very first step is restoring trust and safety to the relationship. The wronged individual needs the space to express how they feel about what happened and to normalize those feelings. They’ve just lost trust in their partner, so honesty needs to be reestablished. An experienced therapist can help you work through every step of the journey.
- Learn more about Couples Counseling Associates
- Find the right couples counselor
- Find books that can help you deal with infidelity
Make Your First Call Now
Our experienced associates can help you with turbulent infidelity crises:
- What should you do next
- How do you normalize your feelings
- How can you communicate with your partner
- What are some tactics to deal with anger
- Should you get divorced or stay together
- How do you move forward and become a stronger couple in the future
More Resources for You and Your Partner
In our efforts to bring value to your life, or if you are not in the Chicago area, Couples Counseling Associates has developed a series of lessons that could have a major impact on effectively improving your relationship. We encourage you to dive into the series and discover how these resources can benefit you and your partner.
Remember, it’s the positive habits we develop that guarantee us success in all areas of our lives. Discover the seven healthy habits that improve relationships or get in touch with us to learn more about Couples Counseling Associates.