Can you ever fully recover from an affair? Does the pain of infidelity ever go away? These questions and more are likely racing through your mind as you and your partner attempt to move past infidelity and start anew. These questions also come up for those wanting to heal as a single individual, and healing in both cases is absolutely possible.
After experiencing such an intense betrayal, it’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, humiliation, sadness, and despair can often seem permanent. But no feeling is final, and it is possible to fully recover from the trauma of infidelity and go on to have a happy relationship in the future. If you’re wanting to save your marriage or relationship after an affair, it’s possible So as long as you and your partner put your minds and hearts to the task., your bond can be healed and made stronger than ever before. Alternatively, your relationship with yourself can also come out on the other side healthier and more vibrant.
However, you both will likely need some help along the way. Whether you decide to stay and create a healthier, stronger relationship together or decide to part ways, there is hope for dealing with the fallout, including damaged self-esteem, trauma, PTSD, obsessive overthinking, shame, and more.
That’s where we come in!. To start you and your partner off on the right path, Well Marriage Center put together this quick guide to offer a bird’s eye view of the affair recovery process and explain what to expect as you begin to rebuild your relationship.
What Are the Stages of Healing After an Affair?
The road to recovery after infidelity is paved with many challenges, and no two situations are the same. However, there are three common stages that all couples must navigate:
- Discovery: In affair recovery, the first step is to allow the person who was cheated on to express their perspective and emotions. Confusion, embarrassment, anger, hurt—people obviously feel many emotions when they discover their partner has cheated on them, but a trained counselor will help them navigate and express those feelings in a healthy manner. Additionally, a counselor will help the person who cheated process their partner’s feelings without resentment and learn how to move on from the mistakes they made.
- Processing: After the first phase is complete, it’s time for the couple to evaluate what led up to the affair. Ideally, this is where both people take responsibility for the underlying issues in their relationship. Of course, nothing excuses such a significant breach of trust as infidelity, but in order to move past infidelity, both partners must communicate honestly about what happened to their relationship. This will help the couple evaluate the reasons that led to one person stepping out and improve their communication moving forward. This is a very delicate process and takes a lot of time and effort to work through.
- Reconciliation: Here is where you begin to build trust again. After the main pain points and issues surrounding your relationship have been identified, you and your partner can work together to reconcile and move forward with your relationship. This takes time and patience. If you and your partner are truly willing to give things another chance, it’s entirely possible that you will achieve and maintain a deeply intimate and strong relationship, even after such a traumatic event
How Long Does Infidelity Trauma Last?
Infidelity recovery is not a linear process, and the effects of betrayal on the brain can produce life-altering changes. Oftentimes, couples take two steps forward and one step back. Although it is completely natural to feel impatient, you must give yourselves time to heal.
Understanding how you both got into this situation and taking steps to reconcile intense emotions takes time and determination. However, neither of you should dwell on resentment and allow yourselves to become stuck.
Working with a counselor can help you both stay on track and make consistent progress while ensuring the healing process of both parties is respected. At Well Marriage Center, our counselors will work with you on your own terms and on your own time. We believe that you and your partner should resist the urge to put a strict timeline on things. Ultimately, how you heal is far more important than how quick the process is.
Your Healing Journey Starts Here
Working with a skilled therapist who specializes in relationships – and all they entail, including trust, trauma, communication, intimacy, and forgiveness – has multiple benefits for couples and individuals after an affair. The trying times can be processed with a guide in a compassionate way that promotes healing. Having an objective expert voice to gently help unravel the pain and disappointments can make a huge difference in how you process and move forward, even if ultimately you decide to separate post discovery. Many couples, however, do find success after infidelity; we’ve seen it happen.
Willingness to seek help and admit wrongdoing are some of the main signs your marriage will survive infidelity. At Well Marriage Center, our team of professionally licensed counselors have years of training and experience in helping all types of couples navigate infidelity. Our expert team is committed to being “relationship friendly.” This means our goal is to help you and your partner build trust in one another and rekindle the loving relationship you once had without advocating for separation or divorce. If you and your partner are willing to put in the work, Well Marriage can help you pick up the pieces and trust each other again. Schedule your appointment today or read more on our blog.