The British Royal Family. Mad Men. Tiger Woods. Anthony Weiner. And the list could go on and on. Celebrities, politicians, and fictional characters are often made famous for their infidelity. People are drawn to stories of adultery and want to know… how was it discovered? Who was involved? What will the couple’s future be? Infidelity creates salacious and intriguing drama… until it happens in your relationship. Far from glamorous, infidelity is usually a time of crisis and trauma.
Adultery can bring a marriage to its end, but some couples choose to reconcile. What is the right way forward? That is a very personal question that only the couple can answer, but there is support and guidance as they weigh difficult decisions in the fallout from infidelity. Skilled counselors have journeyed with couples through infidelity and toward recovery, whatever they choose for their relational future.
The counselors and psychologists at Thriveworks Charleston understand how challenging life can be after an affair, and they have walked with many couples in their journey of recovery.
The Trauma and Drama of Infidelity
An affair. Adultery. Infidelity. Cheating. Many words describe the same concept: someone in a committed relationship broke its expectations of fidelity. The expectations may have been marriage vows, but they did not have to be. In either case, infidelity brings disruption and pain.
Adultery can take an infinite number of forms. It can be an emotional affair, a one-night stand, a pornography addiction, a long-term extramarital relationship. There are a few things that are consistent, regardless of the form infidelity takes.
- Infidelity is secretive.
- Infidelity involves lying.
- Infidelity breaches trust.
Understandably, many people have described learning about their spouse’s infidelity as a traumatic experience. Long-term and marriages relationships are supposed to be the most safe–the place where people can be known and loved. Infidelity turns people’s world on its head. What was safe feels most dangerous. What was healing is now painful. What was connection is now betrayal.
Because infidelity occurs in relational context, people are always harmed. Depending upon the situation, community members, extended family, and friends will feel betrayed by an affair. However, the uninvolved spouse and children often receive the greatest harm.
- The Children: When a couple has children, they feel the effects of their parent’s infidelity. They may feel betrayed and resent the parent who cheated. They may also internalize the difficulty infidelity brings to a family. Affairs knock previously stable families off balance, and children may blame themselves for the chaos, especially if their parents divorce.
- The Uninvolved Spouse: Many uninvolved spouses experience trauma when their partner’s adultery is disclosed or discovered. They can have anxiety, difficulty concentrating, depression, flashbacks, compulsive behaviors, and more. Uninvolved spouses may also blame themselves, thinking I should have seen this coming, even though they are not to blame.
Betrayal leaves wounds that are deep, and recovery must, therefore, be equally extensive.
The circumstances of the couple and the affair will determine the road to recovery. Each couple is unique and has unique relational goals. For some, a healthy relationship might mean separating. For others, it might mean divorce. For others, they may pursue reconciliation.
Therapy for infidelity can guide the process of recovery. A skilled counselor can give a couple the support and structure they need, whatever their goals may be.
Counseling may help couples …
- Communicate – Couples can feel intense emotions during the fallout of an affair and communication can breakdown. A skilled counselor may be able to restart healthy dialogue.
- Clarify their relationship – Many couples are not sure whether they want to separate or continue the marriage or how to achieve what they choose. Counseling may help couples set achievable goals and evaluate how they are doing along the way.
- Earn trust – Infidelity shatters trust. With time, appropriate boundaries and accountability can restore it to the level the couple needs to move forward.
Appointments for Infidelity Therapy
Is your relationship experiencing turmoil because of adultery? Do you think a little help could help you move through the difficulty? Thriveworks Charleston, SC counselors have helped many couples recover from adultery, and we have available appointments.
Infidelity is chaotic and painful. Setting up an appointment for therapy should not be. We have done our best to make the process of asking for help as easy as possible.
- A real person will answer your call and help you schedule an appointment.
- Even if you are calling our office for the first time, you may be able to see your therapist the next day.
- Healing should start now, so we do not keep waitlists.
- Weekend and evening appointments are available.
- We work with many different insurance providers.
Many people come through infidelity’s pain a stronger person with stronger relationships, whether they continue in their marriage or not. Are you ready for infidelity recovery? We are ready to help. Call today.