One of the most difficult things that a marriage or relationship can face is infidelity. While it may come in a variety of forms (emotional, physical, financial), the impact is almost always devastating to everyone involved. As an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in multiple locations throughout the country, I see this on a weekly, if not daily, basis. One of the more common questions that people invariably ask early in the process is whether it’s true that this could possibly bring the couple together in unexpected ways as healing takes place. The short answer is that I see couples come back from almost unimaginable pain and disconnection after an affair quite often. How can this bring a couple together?
Everyone can agree that infidelity is not the ideal way to surface relational issues that need to be addressed. However, once an affair has been discovered or revealed, it can open communication up around deeply entrenched issues. One of the ways that I help couples to begin the healing process is by creating two separate and congruent paths forward.
The first path is to heal the infidelity or affair itself by using impact letters, transparency, and a structured forum to answer all the swirling questions that a betrayed partner may have about what has occurred. We need to offset the previous dishonesty with an abundance of truth. The second path involves looking at the relationship dynamic leading up to the affair. While the betrayed partner is never responsible for the choices of the partner who stepped out of the relationship, it is critical to understand what about the relationship created fertile soil for the affair to take root. These two paths, looking at the relationship dynamic while also directly addressing the affair, are fundamental in moving forward to see if restoration is mutually desired and possible.
As a Westport, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. based relationship therapist with years of experience helping couples to navigate sexual challenges, communication dysfunction, affairs and infidelity, as well as a variety of issues related to the complexities of partnered life, I invite you to reach out for a free consultation to discuss your unique circumstances and how I may be able to help.