Infidelity and Adultery Counseling – Therapists and Coaches in Maumelle
You Are Not Alone
“I had to make a decision: Am I willing to work through this situation [infidelity] with him, which is going to be a long-term thing? And how will that impact me for the rest of my life? How am I going to feel about us? How am I going to trust again? Can I love him with all of my heart again? I’m telling you, that’s a hard, hard, hard, hard thing. Harder than I ever thought. Because even though it’s been a few years, still, you seem to doubt… In my head I thought, ‘I love these kids so much, and I want them to have [their parents] together for the rest of our lives.’ Marriage is a lot of work, and people don’t realize that. They just think, ‘Well, we’re married and everything should be total bliss and we should be totally happy for the rest of our lives.’ Period, end of conversation. And [they think] they’re not going to have trials. But that is just so not the case.”
“Brittany” is not alone—in nearly 20% of marriages one or both partners commit adultery. If either you or your partner act outside the relationship, it’s common to experience anger, frustration, sadness, and feelings of isolation or confusion. It’s also common to struggle with whether or not to reconcile, particularly if there are children present or you have beliefs that do not support divorce.
What Causes Infidelity?
The exact trigger will be different in each situation, but the act of infidelity is most often a symptom of a larger problem. Though that problem may be general dissatisfaction in the primary relationship, it could be low self-esteem, avoidance of personal or professional problems, or a desire for control. Major life changes, such as moving, a new child, or job loss can also be a factor. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to work through the pain of infidelity and address the root issue to avoid repeating the action in the future.
Types of Infidelity
A sexual affair typically comes first to mind. In this type of affair, one of the partners participates in sexual activity outside the primary relationship. This does not necessarily include any emotional attachment.
Conversely, in an emotional affair, close attachments form though there may be no sexual component. Instead, the person having the affair may have long phone conversations and text or e-mail constantly with their secondary partner.
An affair may include both physical and emotional cheating, resulting in a secondary relationship. The secondary relationship is often the most difficult for the betrayed partner to forgive.
There are also situations in which one partner becomes interested in an outside activity or hobby to the point of neglecting their primary relationship; though at first glance this may seem different than the first two types of affairs, the impact on a relationship can be just as serious.
Finally, digital affairs in which the partner talks or texts online, either with or without a sexual component, can also negatively impact the primary relationship.
What one person considers unacceptable in their relationship may be different from another’s definition of unacceptable. The feelings each of these evoke can be similar. Just because the relationship does not have a physical component does not mean it is not an affair.
The Road to Recovery
Realize that if you’ve just admitted to or discovered infidelity in your relationship, now is not the time to make rash decisions. Initial response to infidelity can range from anger and shock to jealousy and feelings of betrayal. These feelings will come and go over the course of recovery. After the immediate emotional reaction, it’s important to determine what caused the action in the first place. Finally, each partner must work through the issues that have been brought to the surface.
It is absolutely possible to rebuild a relationship—in fact, it’s possible to build something much stronger than what was there previously. But, if both partners wish to reestablish the relationship, it will take work from each person. The betrayed partner will have a range of feelings that need to be addressed as they begin to learn to trust their partner again. The partner who stepped outside of the relationship will work to communicate more effectively and/or alter their behaviors so as to avoid falling into similar patterns in the future.
It’s possible the partners will choose not to continue the relationship. If this happens, counseling can be helpful in recovery and creating successful relationships in the future.
How Counseling Can Help
If you are experiencing the consequences of infidelity from either side of the fence, it’s important to know you can heal. Counseling can help.
Living with this situation can seem paralyzing. If you are ready to move forward, call Thriveworks Maumelle today at 501-628-9066 and we will set your appointment. We can see you within the next 24 hours.
Should I Keep Trying to Work It Out: A guidebook for individuals and couples at the crossroads of divorce (and before). Alan J. Hawkins, Ph.D., and Tamara A. Fackrell, J.D.