Is Marriage Counseling Worth It After Infidelity?
Yes—it certainly is. If you’re wondering “Can therapy help with cheating, really?” we at Well Marriage Center are here to tell you that recovery is not only possible, but easier to start than you might think. We’re happy to share some things about how helpful marriage counseling can be for any partnership.
Overcoming infidelity can feel impossible—whether you’re the one who was cheated on or the one who was unfaithful. Marriage counseling gives couples a much better chance at affair recovery. If both partners are willing to approach the healing process together with transparency, vulnerability, and an open ear, there are very few things that cannot be worked through. While recovery will be a challenging endeavor, with the right therapist by your side, the process of healing infidelity wounds is more than possible. Let’s answer some common questions partners may have about infidelity, including:
- What helps couples rebuild their relationship after infidelity?
- How do therapists help couples heal their marriage?
- Will my marriage ever be the same again?
How Can Couples Rebuild After Cheating?
Healing starts with each partner committing to repairing the relationship. A therapist can help with this commitment by providing a space where each person can explain what they need to feel heard, seen, and have their feelings validated throughout the process. While couples technically can work on their relationship without a therapist, having a relationship-friendly counselor provides a more objective, professional perspective from someone with a vast amount of experience.
Additionally, therapists provide exercises or frameworks to guide couples through their unique situations, all while creating a neutral space to discuss the marriage. The initial path to recovery is somewhat universal, but that will begin to diverge quickly as couples address the specifics of their partnership. A therapist uses their many techniques to approach infidelity recovery in a way that is just right for you and your partner.
*Even if a couple decides to separate after such a traumatic shock, therapy can help them overcome the long-term effects of infidelity as individuals.
How Do Therapists Handle Affairs?
Couples therapy after infidelity will generally start with two steps: allowing the partner who was cheated on to express their feelings, then examining what was going on before the cheating occurred.
During the first step, therapists provide space for the partner who was cheated on to openly express their emotions, often while their partner is listening. This step can be quite painful for both partners, which only underlines why having a counselor present is helpful. Feelings of betrayal, anger, sadness, and even embarrassment are all complex things to understand alone, or even with your partner. But with the outside perspective of a counselor, these feelings are easier to unpack and understand.
The second step involves looking at the relationship as a whole, prior to the cheating. Here, we begin to understand what patterns existed before and how each partner was perhaps not having their needs met in the marriage. Having a counselor present ensures that both sides have their feelings validated, and that even the person who cheated is able to express themselves. Then, a plan for recovery can form.
Each of those steps will have their own timeline, and each of them may require revisiting multiple times. The healing process is non-linear, but with commitment, there is a way to a better future. While the beginning process is essentially universal, the step-by-step stages of forgiving infidelity will look different for each partnership—and each partner.
Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Infidelity?
Yes and no. While moving forward is definitely possible, it’s important to know that your marriage will need to change, and in some ways, it already has. Cheating is a massive shock to a marriage, but this shock does not have to define the marriage forever. If anything, cheating can sometimes be the catalyst to a much deeper connection—one that is forged through undergoing an intentional healing process.
Many couples who suffer from infidelity emerge with an even better relationship, but that requires leaving old ways behind. Remember, therapy is not about going back to the way things were—that’s what led the relationship to its current state. What you really want is to establish a new ‘normal’—a better ‘normal’ that encourages healthy communication, vulnerability, and addressing each partner’s needs. And with a therapist’s help, this new normal is entirely achievable.
Ready To Move Forward? Well Marriage Is Here
No matter how dark things seem, there is always hope for a brighter day. Well Marriage is here for you and your partner, and together we can build a road to that brighter day for your partnership. When you’re ready, reach out to Melinda and schedule an appointment. We’ll be here when you need us.