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Healing relationships through infidelity counseling

Healing relationships through infidelity counseling

Navigating the aftermath of infidelity is a complex and emotionally charged journey, one that can take on various stages and challenges. From the initial shock of discovery to the long process of rebuilding trust and healing, each step demands careful consideration and often professional guidance. 

Whether you’re seeking to understand the stages of infidelity, the role of counseling, or how to cope with the emotional aftermath, this comprehensive guide aims to provide clarity and support for those on the path to healing and reconciliation. If you and your partner are ready, you can schedule an infidelity counseling session with a skilled couples therapist near you.

What Are the 4 Stages of Infidelity?

There are many stages of infidelity, but they can be broken down into 4 stages:

  • The discovery: This involves discovering infidelity and learning what happened. Estimated zero to 6 weeks.
  • The reaction: This is the stage where one is grieving the loss of trust in the relationship and/or loss of relationship. Attachment distress happens here as there has been a broken attachment. Searching for the “Why” occurs and saying things like “Why did this happen? Why did this happen with my partner? Where did my love go?” 
  • The release: This involves releasing difficult emotions you may have confronted in the “Reaction Stage”. This involves processing forgiveness, repairing the relationship, building trust, learning new ways to communicate, and increasing understanding. 
  • The recommitment: The marriage of the couple’s partnership is solidified. A recommitment to one another is established. Marital satisfaction occurs and is significantly higher when healing has occurred, strengthening the relationship partnership. 

It is difficult to place a timeline on healing, as the timeline is different for everyone healing from infidelity.

What Type of Therapy Is Best for Infidelity?

Couples counseling, specifically infidelity counseling, is typically the most helpful approach for couples who are looking to heal their relationship if one or both partners have cheated.

However, individual therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful in working through addictive or compulsive behaviors, such as sex addiction, if a partner is struggling with intrusive sexual thoughts, desires, urges, or behaviors that cannot be controlled.

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Benefits of Infidelity Counseling for Couples

Infidelity counseling at Thriveworks offers the following benefits: 

  • Rebuilding trust: Trust is often shattered after infidelity is discovered. Infidelity counseling provides a structured environment for partners to work on rebuilding trust. Counselors can guide discussions and exercises that facilitate the trust-building process.
  • Improved communication: Infidelity counseling focuses on enhancing communication skills. Couples can learn to express their feelings, needs, and concerns openly and honestly, fostering better understanding and connection.
  • Emotional healing: Counselors help individuals and couples address the emotional wounds caused by infidelity. They provide tools and techniques to cope with intense emotions such as anger, sadness, and betrayal, allowing both partners to heal.
  • Conflict resolution: Counseling equips couples with effective conflict resolution strategies. Learning how to manage disagreements and conflicts in a healthy way can prevent future issues and improve overall relationship satisfaction in a safe and nonjudemental way.
  • Comprehension of the root causes of cheating behavior: Infidelity counseling delves into the underlying causes of infidelity, which may include issues like dissatisfaction, unmet needs, or communication breakdowns. Understanding these root causes can lead to better problem-solving and relationship growth.
  • Enhanced emotional intimacy: Through counseling, couples can work on emotional intimacy, which involves sharing feelings and vulnerabilities with one another. Strengthening emotional intimacy can lead to a deeper and more fulfilling connection.
  • Forgiveness and closure: Counselors guide couples through the process of forgiveness. Forgiving a partner who has cheated can be challenging, but it’s a crucial step in healing. Counseling helps individuals explore forgiveness and find closure.
  • Setting boundaries: Infidelity counseling assists couples in establishing clear boundaries to prevent future breaches of trust. Setting and respecting boundaries is vital for maintaining a healthy relationship.
  • Increased self-awareness and self-reflection: Both partners can gain insight into themselves and their contributions to the relationship dynamics. Greater self-awareness can lead to personal growth and improved self-esteem.
  • Renewed commitment: Many couples find that infidelity counseling strengthens their commitment to the relationship. They gain a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and a renewed sense of dedication to making the relationship work.
  • Preventing recurrence: Counseling can help identify potential triggers or vulnerabilities that may have contributed to the infidelity. Addressing these issues reduces the risk of infidelity recurring in the future.
  • Emotional growth: Some couples emerge from infidelity counseling with a stronger, healthier relationship than they had before the infidelity occurred. They learn valuable skills and insights that contribute to long-term relationship success.

Infidelity counseling is not only about addressing the immediate crisis but also about fostering lasting positive changes in the relationship. It provides a safe and structured space for couples to heal, grow, and work toward a healthier, more fulfilling partnership.

Can Counseling Help Get Over Cheating?

Yes, infidelity counseling is specifically designed to help address the needs of both partners in order to move on and heal from infidelity. At Thriveworks, our couples therapists who specialize in treating the causes and aftermath of infidelity can work with a couple in their relationship, heal, and repair trust.

10 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity

Some of the most common marriage reconciliation mistakes to avoid include: 

  1. Rushing the healing process: It takes time to heal from the betrayal and rebuild trust. Rushing the process can hinder genuine progress. 
  2. Ignoring the underlying issues: Addressing the root causes of the infidelity is essential to prevent future occurrences. Ignoring these issues can lead to the repetition of the same mistakes. 
  3. Lack of open communication: Honest and open communication is critical for healing. Avoiding difficult conversations or not expressing your needs can create barriers to reconciliation. 
  4. Shaming: Shaming the partner can hinder the healing process. It is important to take responsibility and accountability for the infidelity without deflecting blame on the other person. 
  5. Blaming: The betrayed partner should not be blamed for the infidelity. It is essential for both partners to take responsibility for their actions and work together to rebuild the relationship.
  6. Not addressing unresolved emotions/issues: Ignoring unresolved emotions such as hurt, anger, and resentment will hinder the reconciliation process. Both partners need to process their emotions to move forward.
  7. Not rebuilding trust: Rebuilding trust is a critical aspect of reconciliation after infidelity. Failing to take the necessary steps to regain trust, such as being honest and transparent, reliable, and accountable can slow the progress or hinder progress.
  8. Lack of forgiveness: Holding onto deep resentment and refusing to forgive can prevent true reconciliation. Forgiveness is a process that does not occur overnight but is a vital step in healing. It should not be forced or rushed.
  9. Neglecting self-care: Taking care of yourself is vital to this process of healing. Neglecting self-care can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and potential resentment towards the relationship. Prioritizing self-care can help cope with the challenges a couple can face. 
  10. Handling the betrayal alone: Trying to handle the aftermath of infidelity alone without seeking outside help can be very difficult and lonely. Therapy can help both partners heal and develop ways to repair and rebuild trust. 

Does the Guilt of Cheating Ever Go Away?

Yes, the guilt of cheating can and does go away. However, at times, when we feel upset about things we have done that we cannot go back to undo, the old feelings of guilt may pop up. 

Therapy can help you to identify your guilt or shame associated with infidelity and help you learn ways to break down guilt or shame and honor yourself with self-compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. 

This is a process that does not happen overnight and will take time.

Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Someone Has Cheated?

Whether a relationship can go back to normal after someone has cheated depends on many factors, including the individuals involved, the circumstances surrounding the cheating, and their willingness to work on rebuilding trust. 

It is possible for a relationship to recover and even become stronger after infidelity, but it requires open communication, understanding, and a commitment to rebuilding trust. Both partners need to be willing to address the underlying issues that contributed to the cheating and make the necessary changes to ensure it does not happen again. 

Issues Addressed by Infidelity Counseling

Infidelity counseling addresses a wide range of emotional and relational issues that arise after infidelity has occurred. It provides a platform for couples to explore and understand the underlying causes of infidelity, helping them navigate issues related to trust, communication, and emotional intimacy. 

Additionally, it assists individuals in coping with emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger, while offering strategies to prevent future infidelity.

Rebuilding Trust and Healing Emotional Wounds

Infidelity counseling aids in the process of rebuilding trust by fostering open and honest communication between partners. Through therapeutic techniques and exercises, couples can address the emotional wounds inflicted by infidelity, helping both the betrayed and the betrayer to heal. By providing a safe space for the expression of feelings, infidelity counseling allows individuals to work through their pain and anger and gradually rebuild the emotional connection essential for a healthy relationship.

Does Cheating Ever Stop Hurting?

It may take time for the pain to diminish, and healing can be a gradual and ongoing process. It might never completely go away, but it can become less intense over time. Rebuilding trust and repairing the relationship will play a significant role in reducing the pain caused by the betrayal. 

What Percentage of Marriages Survive Infidelity?

While more comprehensive research is required, it is estimated that approximately 53% of marriages in which infidelity has been discovered were able to heal and even thrive after working through issues together.

How Do I Stop Overthinking After Infidelity?

At first, it is difficult to not think about infidelity and the distressing emotions and thoughts associated with this discovery. As opposed to attempting to stop your thoughts or feelings from being experienced, in therapy, it is often encouraged to notice these thoughts and emotions in order to process them. 

Unexpressed emotions and thoughts often never go away, but once you acknowledge them with courage in a safe, therapeutic environment, you can get “unstuck” in these thoughts and feelings and feel a sense of freedom in understanding why they exist in the first place (usually to keep us safe and protected, free from having to experience the hurt again).

How Long Does Infidelity Trauma Last?

It is never helpful to put a timeline on your healing. It is difficult to answer this with an exact time frame. For some people, the “trauma” may last for years, especially if there is no plan for healing and recovery. If a person avoids their trauma reaction or internalizes it, it will take much longer to heal from infidelity trauma.

It is best to positively position yourself to heal in the way of honoring your emotions and thoughts following any trauma as opposed to running from these difficult thoughts and feelings associated with this traumatic event. 

When to Consider Infidelity Counseling for Your Relationship

Infidelity counseling should be considered when a couple is grappling with the aftermath of infidelity and struggling to move forward. It’s particularly beneficial when trust has been shattered, communication has broken down, or when unresolved emotions and insecurities are affecting the relationship’s quality. 

Seeking infidelity counseling early on can prevent further damage to the relationship and increase the chances of successful healing and reconciliation.

Infidelity Counseling Near Me

Finding therapy online with Thriveworks is a straightforward and accessible process. Thriveworks offers the convenience of virtual counseling, making it easy for individuals to access professional support from the comfort of their own homes. 

To begin, you can visit the Thriveworks website and explore their extensive network of licensed therapists and counselors. From there, you can browse profiles to find a therapist who specializes in your specific needs or concerns, ensuring a personalized and tailored approach to your therapy journey. 

Infidelity Counseling Online

Thriveworks offers couples counseling and individual counseling online via virtual therapy. Once you’ve selected a therapist, you can schedule an appointment online through our user-friendly platform or contact our scheduling team for assistance.

Some of our Thriveworks infidelity counselors also offer flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend appointments, to accommodate your busy life. With secure and confidential telehealth services, you can engage in therapy sessions via video calls or phone calls, allowing you to receive the support you need, no matter where you are.

Thriveworks’ commitment to providing accessible and high-quality online therapy makes it a convenient choice for individuals seeking professional counseling services.

Qualified Infidelity Counselors at Thriveworks

Thriveworks offers access to highly qualified and experienced infidelity counselors who specialize in helping couples navigate the complex challenges associated with infidelity. Our counselors are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective support tailored to your unique needs, fostering a safe environment for healing and growth.

Booking Your Infidelity Counseling Sessions

Scheduling an infidelity counseling session with Thriveworks is a straightforward process. You can easily book your appointment through our user-friendly online platform or by contacting our scheduling team by calling your local office. 

We offer flexible appointment options, including in-person sessions and online counseling, to accommodate your preferences and schedule. Begin your journey towards healing and renewed intimacy by scheduling your infidelity counseling session with Thriveworks today.

Understanding Infidelity Counseling: A Path to Healing

Embarking on the journey of infidelity counseling with Thriveworks is a courageous and vital step toward healing and rebuilding your relationship. Our experienced and compassionate counselors are dedicated to guiding you through this challenging process, offering a safe and non-judgmental space to address your concerns, rebuild trust, and rediscover the love that brought you together. 

By choosing Thriveworks, you’re choosing a partner in your journey towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling relationship. Don’t wait to take this essential step towards healing and reconnection.

  • Clinical writer
  • Editorial writer
  • Clinical reviewer
  • 2 sources
Christine Ridley, Resident in Counseling in Winston-Salem, NC

Christine Ridley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in adolescent and adult anxiety, depression, mood and thought disorders, addictive behaviors, and co-dependency issues.

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Alexandra “Alex” Cromer is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who has 4 years of experience partnering with adults, families, adolescents, and couples seeking help with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and trauma-related disorders.

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Jason CrosbyMental Health Writer

Jason Crosby is a Senior Copywriter at Thriveworks. He received his BA in English Writing from Montana State University with a minor in English Literature. Previously, Jason was a freelance writer for publications based in Seattle, WA, and Austin, TX.

We only use authoritative, trusted, and current sources in our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our efforts to deliver factual, trustworthy information.

  • Irvine, T. (2023, January 24). Rebuilding after infidelity. The Gottman Institute.

  • Hasani & Danielle Pettiford. (2022, November 10). What percentage of marriages survive infidelity? Couples Academy.

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