Few things can disrupt your relationship like infidelity.
While infidelity doesn’t have to end your relationship, it is a major cry for help.
Couples counseling can help salvage your relationship after a betrayal like infidelity.
Why Couples Counseling Is Your Best Option
1. Express Anger with a Third Party Present
If you’re the betrayed party, your anger can be intense and righteous. This anger should lessen over time, but it is likely to be very strong in the early stages after you discover it.
It’s understandable and natural to feel and express anger in this situation. But it’s wiser to do it with a neutral third party. You can still vent your anger, but a counselor can help you do it in a less damaging way.
2. Check the Root Causes
Some people may have other issues that can make infidelity more likely to occur. Addiction to alcohol or drugs commonly occur, but substance addiction is never an excuse for cheating. Yet, an addiction is often brought to light after discovering infidelity. You can encourage your addicted partner to get help for that issue as well.
Jobs are another common factor in infidelity. People in certain professions are more likely to cheat on their partners. Some may even have to change jobs to decrease temptation.
3. Identify and Address Underlying Issues
The unfaithful partner is always responsible for his or her own actions. But infidelity is also rarely an act that occurs in a vacuum. Unaddressed issues in your relationship need to be out into the open.
Many couples have hidden resentments in their relationship that are never addressed. But this can create the kind of environment that allows infidelity to occur. Resentments do need to be addressed so that both partners can move past them.
Talking about past resentments isn’t going to be comfortable. It will likely include at least one difficult conversation, if not several of them. Non-judgmental listening will help your partner feel safe enough to share these feelings. But you may not be able to have this conversation without a mediator. This discussion is best held in the safe environment of a counselor’s office.
4. Learn to Prevent Future Infidelity
Unfortunately, there’s no 100 percent foolproof infidelity fighter. But strengthening your relationship makes infidelity less likely. Expect some time for healing if your partner was the unfaithful one. It’s okay if you aren’t ready to invest in your relationship yet.
Having more positive interactions will help restore your relationship. These efforts also help to prevent future infidelity. But you will likely need some help to discover the right actions to take. Both partners need to learn how to show love and appreciation to each other.
Though, you need to learn how to do it in a manner that the other can appreciate. It’s like starting over again—but this time, you get help to do things the right way.
5. How to Reestablish Trust
Rebuilding trust after infidelity is a long and difficult process. The offending party likely wants to be forgiven right away and to put things behind them. But it will take time to establish the trust that was lost.
This generally requires a series of steps by the unfaithful partner to prove accountability. They may need to be more transparent about where they’re spending their time. They may need to share access for social media, email and even bank account information. And they may have to give up some privacy to prove their trustworthiness.
A counselor can help you determine the unique steps you need to take to help you rebuild trust.
Unquestionably, infidelity is a difficult experience in any relationship. But it doesn’t have to spell the end. When you still love each other, couples counseling can help you heal the rift. You can even make things better than they were before.
Jill Baumgarner, MA, LPC Intern is a couples therapist at the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin (RCC Austin). She works with couples recovering from relationship infidelity, helping them to regain emotional connection and to reignite the erotic spark they once had. Call her at 512-270-4883, ext. 108 to schedule. You may also request an appointment with her by submitting the completed form on the RCC Austin Scheduling Page and request her as your counselor.