Stories of adultery and infidelity are everywhere people turn. Magazine and clickbait promise the juicy details about the latest public figure who was caught in bed with someone other than their life partner. TV shows are full of Don Draper-types, and it’s understandable. Adultery can create intriguing and salacious drama that moves a show’s plot along and brings viewers back for more.
But adultery in real life is rarely that glamorous. In fact, it is usually the opposite—infidelity is often a time of crisis.
Adultery can end long-time or newly minted marriages. But there are couples who reconcile. Which is the right option? No one can make that choice except the people who are in the relationship, but there is help and support for the difficult decisions couples face in the aftermath of an affair. Counseling has helped many couples recover from infidelity, whether they choose to separate or continue the relationship.
Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia) knows that infidelity is not fodder for clickbait—it’s a traumatic and chaotic time a couple’s life. Our therapists have helped many couples navigate the devastation and heal from infidelity.
Infidelity and Trauma
Adultery. Cheating. An affair. Infidelity. Regardless of the word people use for it, the concept is consistent: the expectations within a committed, often long-term relationship were broken. Those expectations may have been formalized in marriage vows, but they did not have to be for the cheating to be disruptive and painful.
The adultery might be a one-night stand. It might be an emotional affair. It might be a long-term extramarital relationship. There is no limit to the form adultery can take.
Yet, infidelity almost always involves secrets, lies, and broken trust. A big reason infidelity can cause so much pain is because a marriage or long-term relationship should be a place of safety, honestly, and trust. Adultery turns the world over: what was safe may now be dangerous…what was healing may now cause pain…what was reliable has not betrayed.
The context of infidelity is relational, so adultery affects other people: extended family, friends, and often community members.
In most cases, the people who receive much of the harm are the children and the uninvolved spouse.
- The Uninvolved Spouse: When an affair is discovered or disclosed, many uninvolved spouses report the experience as traumatic. Some may also experience post traumatic stress symptoms. Everybody responds in a unique way, but spouses often have trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviors, and more after learning about infidelity.
- The Children: Children often feel betrayed by infidelity. Even children who are too young to know about the affair are affected by the instability, chaos, and uncertainty infidelity brings into a family. They may blame themselves for the disruption, especially if the marriage ends.
Infidelity can cause severe harm and trauma. Betrayal leaves a deep wound, so treatment must be far-reaching.
Recovering from Infidelity
Recovery will look different for each couple. For some, recovery may mean divorcing as amicably as possible. For others, recovery means pursuing reconciliation. Whatever their goals may be, counselors can guide couples as they move forward in their lives.
Counseling may help couples by giving them the structure and support to …
- Communicate better – Its normal and understandable for communication to break down after infidelity. With such intense emotions, couples often go back and forth between communicating with cold silence and communicating with hot anger. But there is a better way. A counselor can facilitate healthy communication.
- Clarify their goals – Some couples want to reconcile. Others want to separate. Many do not know what they want. A therapist can help the couple make reasonable and achievable relational goals.
- Restore trust – Trust is always broken after infidelity. The right boundaries and/or accountability may, over time, restore trust. An experienced counselor can guide couples toward the exercises that may benefit them the most.
Scheduling an Appointment for Infidelity Counseling at Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia)
Is your relationship on the rocks after an affair? Are you ready for a professional to guide you and your spouse passed the cold standstill and toward healing, whatever healing may mean for you? The counselors at Thriveworks Alexandria, VA have appointments available for infidelity counseling.
Navigating infidelity’s aftermath is chaotic, so scheduling an appointment for infidelity therapy should not be. Here is what we have done to make the process easier.
- Scheduling specialists (i.e., real people) answer our phones and schedule our appointments.
- You may be able to see your therapist the day after you call, even if it’s your first appointment.
- We do not keep waitlists because the time for healing is now.
- Our therapists offer weekend and evening appointments to fit your busy schedule.
- We accept many different types of insurance.
Infidelity is a crisis, but many people come through the crisis as a stronger person or with a stronger relationship. Ready to start healing? We are too. Call today.