relationship problems

The aftermath of an affair


Online Couples Counselling understand that the pain and shock discovering a partner’s infidelity can be one of life’s most traumatic events.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it can take several years for couples to repair a relationship after infidelity.

The initial shock of discovering an affair creates uncertainty. Resulting in  reactions such as anger, hurt, depression and shame. Thoughts can become obsessive and we monitor our partners every move. We have an inability to concentrate on anything else except the details of the affair.

The initial reaction

The best way to deal with the initial reaction is to discuss your feelings with someone will simply listen without offering advice. Typically, advice is not useful at this point. Because people are too emotionally distraught to think clearly or make decisions that are in their best interest.

Immediately after the discovery of an affair, as hard as it might be. It isn’t usually helpful to express your emotionally charged feelings to your spouse at this time at this point in time. Cheating spouses are probably unable or unwilling to listen and provide support. Instead they may well become defensive, potentially denying what happened or attempt to shift the blame. Alternatively, they may withdraw completely.  Unfortunately, such responses are only likely to intensify the wounded party’s already hurt feelings.

Sharing feelings with someone who is not willing (or able) to listen often has the opposite effect – unacknowledged feelings become more magnified.

After the Initial Shock

After the initial shock has subsided, it helps to make an assessment of how each party feels and if they both genuinely want to explore and resolve the problems in order to save the relationship?

If one side is ambivalent about how they feel. Or confused about what they want to do it is important to discuss how will this get resolved? To save a relationship after infidelity, requires two people working toward the same goal. Individual counselling is often useful for couples who are unsure about their feelings or are uncertain about the future of their relationship.

Restoring Trust

If both parties decide that they want to try and save their relationship.  It will require patience and understanding to establish the underlying reasons which led to the affair in the first place. And importantly take steps to change these factors.

People often lack insight into their own behaviour. Even if they do understand why they cheated, they often do not want to disclose this information with their spouse. Thinking that in doing so will only cause more damage and hurt. However, if the real issues aren’t identified, they won’t get resolved. They just get pushed under the carpet only to re-surface further down the line.

Interestingly, by approaching the problem as a couple empowers the spouse who has been cheated on. Understanding, enables a sense of control because nothing is hidden. Working together can bring back a sense of certainty or reassurance, which is important when trying to restore trust

How couple counselling can help

Our counsellors are here to help all relationship problems. They will help you identify the motivation underlying the affair. It is essential to openly and honestly discuss the details of what happened.  Again, most cheating spouses attempt to hide the details of the affair, thinking that telling the truth will only lead to more problems.

However, concealing the details often leads to lingering questions which are unlikely to go away on their own if not addressed.  When questions are left unanswered, it will be almost impossible for a spouse not to dwell on the incident. Revealing the truth can be painful. But it’s necessary when trying to move forward.

Identifying the motivating factors behind the affair, along with discussing the details of what happened, are really difficult for most couples to manage.  These tasks require tremendous insight and effective communication skills.  If things are not handled carefully it can lead to further problems – more anger, resentment and frustration.

Given the skills required to work through these issues effectively. Couples counseling is almost always needed in order to do so.

Further professional help

If you would like some help with your relationship problems following infidelity. Please contact us a Online Couples Counselling today. Request an appointment