It seems like there is an infinite list of fictional characters, politicians, athletes, and actors who are famous for their infidelity. Don Draper. The British Royal Family. Tiger Woods. Anthony Weiner. Brad Pitt. The list could never end. And people are drawn to their stories. How the affair was discovered, who slept with whom, and how the spouse will respond makes for good drama… that is, until it happens in your relationship. Adultery in everyday life is far from glamorous… it is usually a crisis.
Infidelity forces couples to make difficult decisions about their relationship. Do they divorce? Do they try to reconcile? And a million more. Many people need guidance and support as they heal from adultery. Counseling has guided many couples through infidelity and toward healing, whether healing meant reconciliation or separation.
The Thriveworks Reston, VA counselors understand that healing from adultery is not an easy process, and they have supported and guided many couples through the crisis.
The Crisis of Adultery
Adultery. Infidelity. An affair. Cheating. These words all describe a similar concept: a person broke the rules of a committed and exclusive relationships. The rules may be formalized in a marriage or not. Either way, infidelity brings crisis to a relationship.
Adultery can take many forms. Infidelity can be an emotional affair, a pornography addiction, a long-term extramarital relationship, a one-night stand, and more. Whatever form the infidelity takes, there are a few things that are consistent:
- Infidelity always breaks trust.
- Infidelity always involves lies.
- Infidelity always involves secret.
Infidelity is often a traumatic experience, and it is understandable why. Marriage and long-term relationships should be the most safe, honest, and trusting relationships people have. Infidelity turns these upside down. A place of safety becomes a source of pain. A relationships built on honesty is filled with lies. A bond of trust is betrayed.
Because infidelity happens in a relational context, people are always affected. Family member, friends, and at times, community members may also feel betrayed by infidelity. Most of the time, the children and uninvolved spouse experience the greatest harm.
- The Children: Kids are intuitive and feel disruptions in their environment acutely. Whether they are old enough to know the details or not, when a parent commits adultery, they feel the disturbance in their family. They may internalize the difficulty, blaming themselves for the family’s troubles. Children may also bring relational difficulties in their childhood into their future, adult relationships.
- The Uninvolved Spouse: It is common for uninvolved spouses to be traumatized by their partner’s infidelity. After disclosure or discovery of the affair, they may have difficulty concentrating, anxiety, compulsive behaviors, physical pain, depression, vivid dreams, and more. Even though they are not to blame, many uninvolved spouses may also blame themselves or think, I should have seen the signs.
The deep wounds of betrayal require extensive treatment. Healing is possible, but it takes work and time and possibly the support of a professional.
Recovering from Adultery
Everyone’s road to recovery is unique because the circumstances of their relationship and of the betrayal are unique. For some couples, the most healthy path forward is a trial separation. For others, it might mean reconciling. For others, healing might look like a divorce. Each couple and each person within the couple has difficulty but important decisions to make after infidelity.
Whatever is decided, an experienced therapist can support the couple and help them meet whatever goals they have set. As couples recover from adultery, therapy may help them …
- Communicate in a healthy way – In the fallout from an affair, communication can breakdown as intense emotions overwhelm partners. Some partners may not be speaking at all. Others may communicate through shouting matches. A skilled therapist may facilitate healthy dialogue.
- Clarify their relationship – Many couples do not know what they want from their relationship after an affair. Many change their minds about what they want in the course of recovery. That’s all ok and natural. Counselors can clarify these expectations.
- Reestablish trust – Adultery destroys trust. Trust can be re-earned but how? A therapist can facilitate that process, guiding the couple toward appropriate accountability and boundaries for the relationship they want.
Infidelity Therapy Sessions
Is your relationship in crisis because of infidelity? Would you like some support and guidance in the midst of the chaos? Thriveworks Reston has sessions available for infidelity therapy.
We know that you have enough going on in your life without the difficulty of scheduling therapy. Our office wants to make that process as easy as possible. When you call Thriveworks Reston, VA…
- A person will answer your call.
- You can schedule an appointment for evenings or weekends.
- We work with many insurance providers.
- Even if you are a first-time client, you may be able to see your therapist the next day.
We are ready to help, from the moment you dial our number. Call today.