Of the things that could happen in your marriage, infidelity is probably the one situation that you always dreaded the most. Not only does it hurt to know that your marriage vows have been broken, but you also have no idea if you will be able to heal the bonds that have been harmed. While infidelity is one of the most sensitive issues to arise in a marriage, it is one that occurs more often than you might think. According to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, physical or emotional infidelity happens in 41 percent of marriages. While it may seem embarrassing to tell your marriage secrets to a counselor, the truth is that counselors know how common it is for one or both partners to cheat. This is why they use these strategies to help you tackle infidelity issues with sensitivity and compassion.
Identify Your Healing Point
Every couple that comes to counseling because of infidelity is at a different place regarding how they have adjusted to the situation. While some people are still bitter or angry, others are depressed. Alternatively, you could feel a sense of acceptance but just want to make sure that it never happens again. Couples also have unique views of the affair since one party may be hurt while the person who broke their vows feels guilty, or they may even feel like they did nothing wrong. To help you get the most out of your sessions, our marriage counselors at Cuppls always begin your therapy by helping you to identify where you are on the spectrum of healing. This way, your sessions are tailored to help you meet your unique needs as a couple.
Shift Your Perspective
Often, couples dealing with infidelity get caught up in a cycle of blame where anything negative that happens gets attributed to the affair. The partner who cheated may also get defensive and start using the things wrong in the relationship as a way to justify their actions. In marriage counseling, this cycle is stopped by learning how to look at infidelity as an opportunity to grow as a couple and as individuals. Once you understand that infidelity does not define your relationship, it becomes possible to move forward.
Address Underlying Issues
The Center for Addiction and Mental Health reports that 16 percent of couples who go to counseling claim that it is for infidelity issues. However, marriage counselors know that infidelity is rarely the only issue because people are generally tempted to cheat when other things are going wrong. For instance, one spouse may feel rejected when you are also dealing with sexual incompatibility, or it’s possible that infidelity was one person’s way of handling emotional issues, such as isolation in the marriage. Identifying and addressing these underlying issues allows you to know that your marriage will survive after the wound of being cheated on has healed.
Learn to Renew Broken Trust
When you got married, each of you made vows to the other person that you would be honest and faithful. Right now, it probably feels as though this breach of trust cannot be overcome. While it takes time to learn to trust again, it is important for healing. Constantly checking on your partner or demanding to know their whereabouts will only drive more discord into your marriage. However, that is not to say that the partner who cheated shouldn’t follow some boundaries. In your relationship therapy session, a counselor will help you define respectable boundaries that work for both of you. Naturally, this will look different for every couple and the boundaries will change as trust is restored.
Although it may seem right now as though your marriage will never recover, our counselors can help you work through the issues that infidelity has revealed about your marriage. Whether you want to save your marriage or just heal from the broken trust, begin counseling today so that you can move forward in a healthier relationship.