Do you recognize these lyrics? Most likely, you have heard this description of how one woman took revenge after adultery…
“I dug my key into the side
Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
I slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats”
Many people can belt out these words with Carrie Underwood. “Before He Cheats” is one of country music’s all-time most popular songs, and even people who do not like country music often resonate with the song. It captures the intense feelings people have when they learn that their significant other has cheated on them. While singing about revenge may be cathartic, there are healthier (and less illegal) responses to infidelity than destroying property. Counseling has helped many people find healing after infidelity, whether they reconcile with their partner or not.
The infidelity counselors at Thriveworks Arlington know that adultery can be a painful and traumatic experience, and they are ready to offer the support and guidance people need to recover from infidelity.
The Many Shades of Infidelity
In theory, cheating is a simple concept: someone in a committed and exclusive relationship broke the relationship’s rules. Those rules may have been codified in marriage vows, or they could have simply been agreed-upon by both partners. In either case, fidelity was the expectation, and in either case, infidelity unleashed a world of hurt.
The theory of infidelity is simple, but unfortunately, the reality never is. Counselors often label different types of infidelity to help couples sort through what happened.
- Emotional Infidelity: Emotional infidelity is a deep bond that one partner forms outside of the relationship that interferes with connection within the relationship. Emotional affairs are very different than close friendships. Emotional infidelity usually involves secrecy, flirting, competition with a partner, innuendo, and fantasy. Friendships, in contrast, support the marriage or relationship and do not involve secrecy or lies. Emotional affairs break down trust within a marriage. Friendships build up trust between within a marriage.
- Sexual Infidelity: Infidelity can also have no or very little emotional element to it. Instead, the affair involves highly sexual escapades. Examples include pornography addictions, soliciting sex from a prostitute or online, one-night stands, visits to strip-clubs and more. Sexual infidelity may also involve an element of sexual addiction.
- Emotional and Sexual Infidelity: Many affairs include a sexual and an emotional element. An emotional affair can turn sexual, for example.
Counselors also consider the circumstances that may have led to the affair. While excuses do not help the person who conducted the infidelity or the uninvolved spouse, understanding the affair can help people chart a course toward healing. Sometimes, people engage in illicit relationships because of a deficit in their spouse, themselves, or their marriage. This is an internal and personal reason to commit adultery. The deficit can be real or perceived, and recovery may require the spouse who cheated to pursue therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy can help the spouse process any untruth or negative beliefs that they feel justified the affair and replace them with true, positive beliefs. Cognitive behavior therapy may also help the spouse learn healthy coping mechanism.
Sometimes, the context of an illicit relationships contributes to it. Certain contexts foster adulterous relationships. For example, many people meet the person they commit adultery with at work. Or people may solicit prostitutes while traveling. Recovering from adultery where context played a role may require strong boundaries and accountability. An experienced counselor can help couples process the details of the infidelity and find a healing that that is right for them.
How Can Infidelity Counseling at Thriveworks Arlington Help?
Whether or not to seek professional help after infidelity is a difficult decision. Talking about the intimate and painful details of your relationship takes courages. The therapists at Thriveworks Arlington, VA know that going to therapy can be hard, but we also know that therapy has helped many people communicate with their significant other in a healthy way, regardless of whether they are continuing the relationship or not.
If your relationship or marriage is struggling after adultery, know that the challenge is normal and real. Many couples have found the help they needed for infidelity recovery through counseling.
If you are considering therapy, it may be helpful to know what you can expect from Thriveworks Arlington, VA. If you call to make an appointment…
- You may be able to meet with your therapist the next day.
- A scheduling specialist will answer your calls.
- We do not keep a waitlist (so you will not be put on one).
- Evening and weekend appointments are available.
- We work with most insurance companies.
- We have online counseling opportunities!
Are you ready to heal from an affair? Thriveworks Arlington, VA has kind and experienced counselors who are ready to help. Simply give us a call to get scheduled.