Recovering After an Affair
Couples typically struggle with mixed negative emotions once an affair has been discovered.
The one who has had the affair can often be consumed with guilt and remorse while simultaneously trying to deal with the loss of the affair. The other spouse; anger, betrayal, disbelief and self-doubt (did I do something wrong?) Both partners need to have an arena to discuss these feelings without challenges from one another.
Recovery from an affair is more likely to happen if such an arena is made possible through counselling. It is very difficult and for some impossible to process all of these highly charged feelings without professional help. Friends and family are often at a loss as to what to do, very often despite their good intention, they end up taking sides creating even more hopelessness.
Is it Possible to Regain Trust After an Affair?
It is possible to regain trust after an affair has been disclosed but it won't happen over night. Initially, trust is non-existent, even after the one who has had the affair proclaims "it is over". The other spouse very often remains doubtful and suspicious which in turn frustrates the other spouse who just wants to "get on with the marriage".
In counselling, couples are coached and encouraged to be patient with each other and to accept where their partner is at without pushing for acceptance. There is also a danger of "sweeping everything under the rug" if the affair person doesn't want to talk about the affair and expects their partner to simply take their new commitment to them at face value.
How Marriage Counselling Can Help the Process
In marriage counselling, couples are supported and challenged to verbalize their concerns — both thoughts and feelings — without fear of reprisal.
Couples are also provided with specific tools and guidance as to how to have difficult conversations at home that do not lead to serious escalation. Counselling also provides objectivity to keep couples on track as there is a high probability that one or both will escalate, topic change, or simply shut down.