Can Marriage Be Saved After Infidelity?

Yes, you can save your marriage after infidelity if both partners are committed to repairing the relationship.

Affair recovery takes serious work and transparency, but it is possible. And if you’re wondering, “Can therapy help with cheating?” The answer is, absolutely.

Our experienced counselors at Well Marriage Center have successfully guided many couples through the stages of healing after infidelity. A big part of what we do is help partners get to, and make a plan to fix, the root causes and dynamics that led to cheating. So much healing can happen when both sides reach a true understanding of the other, from why the offender cheated to an exploration of the victim’s hurt.

We’ve gathered the top six mistakes we see from both parties in affair recovery so that you can avoid these pitfalls yourself. Remember, it won’t be an easy process, but with the right attitudes and a lot of work, you two can make your marriage stronger than it’s ever been.

6 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity

People are more likely to make rash decisions when emotions are high after one partner discovers the other is being unfaithful. These high emotions can include anger and lashing out, humiliation, and decreased feelings of self-worth for both partners. When our feelings are going through such a roller coaster, it’s easy to fall into common, human mistakes that make the already traumatic situation worse long-term. Consider these six most common mistakes our counselors see from couples going through affair recovery: 

1. Pretending Everything Is Normal

Your relationship or marriage will never be the same after infidelity. This realization will probably hurt at first, but it’s also helpful to acknowledge. The betrayed partner is likely furious and devastated, and they may even feel some detachment after infidelity. They want to know how to stop overthinking after being cheated on and move forward with their life. The offender must consistently show they take responsibility for their actions in multiple ways. For example, they may need to increase communication about where they are and who they are with to show their partner that they will not be a repeat offender. 

2. Confronting the Affair Partner

Finding out your partner cheated on you usually results in an explosion of powerful emotions. Looking to direct those feelings somewhere, folks sometimes feel justified confronting the “other” person. In most cases, this confrontation will only make marriage reconciliation harder. You may learn things you’d prefer not to know or even encourage that person to pursue your spouse. There are some circumstances where a confrontation may be necessary, however. For example, a confrontation will likely be unavoidable if the victim regularly interacts with the affair partner.

3. Not Cutting off Contact With the Affair Partner

The offender must choose to cut off all contact with their affair partner. Note we said “choose.” The choice to officially leave their affair partner needs to be theirs alone. If they feel like they don’t want to stop contacting their affair partner, then they need to reconsider why they’re in a marriage to someone else in the first place. Offenders who are fully committed to cutting off the other person should discuss with their spouse how they plan to get this person out of their lives, like blocking them on their cell phone and social media.

4. Taking Revenge

We know you really want to dig your keys into the side of their pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive—but don’t do it, to your partner or the person they cheated with. Acts of revenge will only provide a short-lived feeling of satisfaction, and they do not contribute to healing after an affair (no matter what Ms. Carrie Underwood says). Revenge further deteriorates trust between partners and will likely add to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

5. Asking For Too Much or Too Little Information

The betrayed spouse needs to consider how much they want to know about the affair. Some information will only be painful to learn and hinder moving forward, like asking if the sex was “good.” However, you also don’t want a surprising, painful detail to come out about the affair years down the road. A good balance between these two is finding out how long the affair was going on. This question will reveal how serious your partner was about this person—was it a year-long affair with regular meetings, or was it a one-time mistake? The healing process will look different depending on your partner’s answer to this question. A counselor who specializes in affair recovery will be able to tailor your recovery journey based on this and other information.

6. Not Seeking Professional Therapy

Staying married after infidelity is not easy, but a marriage counselor with years of experience and education can make it much easier. They will guide you through the chaotic impact of infidelity on the betrayed spouse as well as the offender. 

Many couples suffering from an affair come to us at Well Marriage Center feeling hopeless. We get it, and if you feel this way, please know your feelings are entirely normal and valid. However, simply showing up to marriage counseling is a step in the right direction. 

Our counselors have helped couple after couple recover from infidelity by encouraging patience, honesty, care, and a willingness to make necessary changes. These results are the beauty of our strengths-based counseling approach, as we do everything we can to help you focus on the positives of your relationship and rebuild trust and love in a lasting way.

If you want to save your marriage through counseling after infidelity, schedule an appointment with us. Our intake coordinator, Melinda, can answer any questions you may have about our process. We look forward to meeting you and working together to restore the trust and love in your marriage.

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.

How to Heal from Infidelity Trauma

If you’ve recently discovered that your partner had an affair, then you may be experiencing infidelity trauma. You may be feeling debilitating, painful emotions you’ve never experienced  before and struggle to get on with your daily life. Infidelity hurts, for both you and your partner. As much as it is traumatic now, though, there is hope. Infidelity recovery is possible. You and your partner can both heal from the affair emotionally while also growing closer to one another in the process.

It’s important to note that even if you decide to call it quits after an affair, working together with a clinician who specializes in infidelity recovery is extremely helpful. The resulting PTSD, anger, feelings of shame and unworthiness, all of these can be processed in a healthy way so you’re not carrying such heavy baggage and developing negative coping mechanisms in the future.

Why Does Infidelity Hurt So Much?

Infidelity is painful for several reasons, the biggest one being that humans are social beings. According to social psychologists Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Lieberman, humans rely on relationships to give us the emotional and physical connections we need to survive. When we experience social separation, such as that caused after an unfaithful act, we feel pain akin to physical pain. We weren’t meant to be alone, and the feelings of loneliness that may arise after an affair can leave people feeling wounded.

An affair also hurts because it is a broken commitment. When you are in a relationship with someone, you count on being able to trust and rely on that person. Acts of infidelity, however, disrupt the stability of that commitment. You may feel that your trust was misplaced and that everything you counted on was a lie.

Depending on whether you were the one betrayed or the one who betrayed, you may experience other feelings as well. The one betrayed will likely feel a huge drop in self-esteem because they think they weren’t good enough for their partner. The one who cheated may feel guilt or shame for breaking their promise to remain faithful and ultimately may feel inadequate. They may also feel a drop in self-esteem, fearing what others might think of them for cheating.

It’s natural to feel hurt after experiencing infidelity in your romantic relationship, and you should take the time to feel that pain. That is one step in recovering (something we’ll discuss in more detail later) and healing your relationship with your significant other.

How Do I Know if I Have Betrayal Trauma?

There are many signs of betrayal trauma, all of which stem from a violation of trust or well-being. What are the symptoms of betrayal trauma? They include:

  • Flashbacks: You may often think back to when your partner admitted to cheating, catching your partner cheating, or instances when you saw your partner and the other person involved together and didn’t know what was happening between them.
  • Severe anxiety: It can present itself in physical ways, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and nausea or dizziness.
  • Uncontrollable thoughts or nightmares: You may start to think or dream about your partner and the other person involved together, your relationship ending, or what life will look like for you and your partner now. You may be obsessively looking over your relationship’s past with a critical eye, wondering if everything was a lie.
  • Humiliation: This symptom stems from comparing yourself to the person your partner cheated with. You may feel inferior to them, and your insecurities may come to the forefront of your mind. You may start to think that everyone sees your flaws and feel embarrassed by it. You may also feel humiliated that the affair happened and worry about what friends or family may think or if they knew.
  • Emotional numbing: This is a coping mechanism that the body takes on after a traumatic experience. It may come in the form of losing interest in the activities you normally enjoy; being unable to connect to your feelings, especially positive ones; and being unable to participate in life as usual.
  • Erratic moods or behaviors: It’s normal to feel a whole host of emotions after learning about your partner’s affair. One minute you may feel fine, and the next you may feel angry, sad, confused, or hopeless. These drastic changes in mood may cause you to lash out at others seemingly out of the blue,  like getting stuck at a traffic light or having to wait in a long line at the grocery store.
  • Sleep difficulties: You may either sleep too much or too little after finding out about the cheating. People sleep too much when they feel they have no energy after the news or have nothing to get out of bed for. They sleep too little due to anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts keeping them awake.
  • Avoidance: These are behaviors related to making sure you don’t get involved in a certain situation or that you leave it immediately. After an affair, this may be directed at your partner and present itself as staying out of the same room as them, canceling plans made with them, or ignoring phone calls and text messages from them or others who know.
  • Isolation or withdrawal: This isolation may be from your parner or even from friends and family. Sometimes being alone feels safer than spending time with loved ones because your trust was broken, and it seems too difficult to be vulnerable with anyone else now.
  • Trust issues: An affair is a type of broken trust. When experiencing betrayal trauma, then, it’s common to have a difficult time trusting your partner or anyone else again.
  • Relationship difficulties: This symptom closely relates to trust issues because a lack of trust in others may cause you to distance yourself from friends and family. You may also lose interest in spending time with others or lash out, especially towards those who knew about the affair or were involved. These actions can lead to strains in any of your relationships, not just your romantic one.

If you experience any of these symptoms for months or years after you initially found out about the affair, and if these symptoms affect how you function from day to day, then you might have post-traumatic infidelity syndrome, also known as post-infidelity stress disorder (PISD). When you have PISD, triggers will set off the symptoms listed above and cause you to relive the experience.

What Are Triggers After Infidelity?

There are many triggers for betrayal trauma that can remind you of the betrayal or of what your relationship used to look like and set your emotions going again. Some might be the places where the affair took place, where you found out about the affair, or even where you and your partner had happy memories together. Your home can act as a trigger. People can also be triggers, especially those who knew about the affair or were involved.

Significant dates, such as anniversaries or birthdays, or music and movies tied to memories of your relationship or finding out about the affair can take you back to the day you discovered the betrayal as well. Physical and emotional distance and suspicious behavior act as triggers, too, because they may tempt you to think that your partner is still having an affair.

Despite the many triggers you may experience, you can learn how to get past infidelity triggers. They do not have to define you. First and foremost, let yourself feel the emotions that the triggers set off within you. Don’t try to avoid it. Instead, define the emotion and why you’re feeling it. Let yourself feel it until the moment passes. Journaling can help you with this process. From there, determine what you need to make yourself feel better. It could be anything from yoga to calling a friend to repeating self-affirmations. Deep breathing can also help with calming a racing heart and mind.

Seeking out a professional will also help hinder the effects of your triggers, and likely be the single best thing you can do for yourself. A specialized marriage counselor or couples therapist in particular can assist you and your partner on individual levels as well as your relationship overall because they have the most relevant training for efficient healing.

At Well Marriage Center, we understand that an affair takes a toll on relationships. We also know, though, that relationships can heal from infidelity as long as both parties are willing to work for it. It may take time, but you can move past your triggers and build a stronger relationship with your partner than you had before.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Infidelity Trauma?

How long it takes to recover from infidelity trauma will vary from person to person. For some, it can take as little as several months to completely heal. However, it’s normal for the healing process to take a couple years, too. A lot of it depends on how long you and your partner have been together, how long the affair lasted, how many affairs there were, who was involved, the issues in the relationship from before the affair, and more. Working side-by-side with your partner as well as with a trained professional can help you two work through the recovery process and get you to a healthy point in your relationship a bit quicker.

If you decide to part after the affair, this is fine and normal as well. A specialized therapist can help with moving forward, faster, and healthier, either way.

How Do I Let Go of the Pain Caused by Infidelity?

To let go of the pain caused by an affair, there are some infidelity recovery stages you’ll have to go through first:

  • Discovery: This stage is merely about finding out that the affair happened. You may experience shock and the inability to control your emotions during this stage.
  • Reaction: During this stage, the entire wave of emotions starts to set in. If you’re feeling trauma from the affair, this is probably the stage you are in right now. To get past this stage, you’ll probably have to go through the five stages of grief, which are:
  1. Denial: You go emotionally numb to make it through each day.
  2. Anger: You become upset with your partner for having the affair, the person with whom they had the affair, and anyone who knew about it and didn’t tell you or try to stop it.
  3. Bargaining: You try to get back to the life you used to have, no matter what it takes.
  4. Depression: You start to question your entire relationship with your partner and whether any of it was real. You may also start to lose interest in the activities you used to enjoy and feel lonely.
  5. Acceptance: You recognize that the past can’t be changed and decide to take active steps towards a brighter future.
  • Forgiveness: By this stage, you and your partner have probably done some healing on your own or with a therapist. Now you’ll start to discuss why the affair happened and what you can do to solve the issue. Hiring a marriage counselor like those at Well Marriage Center can be especially helpful in this stage because they can ensure that both people can explain how they’re feeling in a productive way rather than attacking the other person or causing more harm to the situation.
  • Recommitment and Reconciliation: In this final stage, you and your partner actively work to move past the affair. That’s not to say that you both forget about the affair. Instead, it means that the affair becomes a part of your story and a reason to work on making your relationship even stronger. You work as a team to make sure boundaries, communication, and expectations are honored in healthy ways that builds more intimacy and trust over time.

Does Reconciliation Work After Infidelity?

Yes, reconciliation can work after an affair as long as both you and your partner take active steps to move forward. That means the cheating partner has to give up the affair(s) completely and both of you make efforts to better communicate with one another and understand where the other person is coming from. Your marriage is never the same after infidelity, nor should it be. After all, there were existing issues in the marriage to lead to the affair in the first place. Instead, you and your partner should view the affair as a place to grow into a new, even better, relationship.

A good place to start in the reconciliation process is recognizing reasons not to divorce after infidelity, or not to separate if you’re not married The biggest reason not to do so is because both of you want to work through it. That’s a sign that you both still love each other and care enough about the relationship to save it. Also revisit how the marriage was before the affair occurred. Do you have several happy memories together? How strong was your bond? If you had a fairly good relationship before an affair, you have a strong base to start from to repair it.

Lastly, consider who will be affected if you and your partner divorce. It may be your kids or other family members. While this reason alone may not be enough to stop you and your partner from seeking out a divorce, it can play a factor when making your final decision.

Know that it is possible to reconcile a marriage after an affair. Talking to a marriage counselor can help you and your partner figure out how to start over in a marriage after infidelity.

Well Marriage Center: Your Place for Pro-Relationship  Counseling

We at Well Marriage Center want to see your relationship succeed as much as you do. That’s why we take a pro-relationship  approach in all couples and marriage counseling journeys, including working with couples after an affair. We help both you and your partner heal from infidelity trauma and build a better relationship. 

Even when couples decide to separate after an affair, working with a licensed professional, especially one who specializes in affair recovery, can help both partners process and move forward. Working through the damaging effects can keep the trauma from snowballing into other areas of your lives. 

We work with each partner individually and together, so they can express their emotions in a therapeutic way, understand where the other is coming from, and look at the relationship from an objective space so that any issues leading up to the affair can be addressed through being on the same page about boundaries, expectations, communication, intimacy, and more.

Seeking help when experiencing infidelity trauma is completely normal. In fact, it can give your relationship a leg up in the recovery process. If you’re ready to grow your relationship to its full potential, reach out to us to get started. You can also read more about infidelity on our blog or find a therapist near you.

How Long Does It Take To Forgive an Affair?

According to the Infidelity Institute, it takes around 18 months to recover from an affair. But this is merely a standard industry answer. In reality, the road to reconciliation is different for every couple and timelines for effective affair recovery vary greatly. 

But how do you forgive someone you love for hurting you? To truly heal together after an affair, couples must understand two important concepts: 

  1. Infidelity leaves deep, painful, emotional and psychological scars that take time and dedication to work through.
  2. Forgiveness isn’t straightforward, and learning how to heal from infidelity trauma as a couple demands a lot of self-restraint and patience. 

We want to make sure that any couple who has experienced such a painful event has the resources they need. Nobody should have to carry the pain and trauma their entire lives or let it identify them forever. Let’s take a look at and elaborate on each of these points to explain how a couple can move past an affair and, surprisingly, build a stronger bond. 


Why Does Infidelity Hurt So Much?

The main reason an affair causes so much pain is because infidelity has a lasting impact on a person’s psyche. To illustrate, here are a few of the most common long term infidelity effects:

  • For the person who was cheated on, an affair can cause chronic anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. Some studies have even suggested that infidelity may produce PTSD symptoms at a relatively high rate. These feelings can last long after the infidelity is discovered and are often challenging to process and move past without professional help.
  • Infidelity can make it more difficult to fall back in love. Our brains naturally generate more oxytocin and dopamine when we are in love. But when we experience infidelity, the pathways our brain uses to release these chemicals become disrupted, which impacts an individual’s ability to love themselves and others, again. 
  • Affairs make it harder for people to trust themselves, their partners, and also cause many to develop a general mistrust of others—including family, friends, and coworkers. In reference to trust issues, Psychologist Steven Stonsy states, “Just as the harm of a gunshot wound threatens the general health of the body, intimate betrayal goes well beyond issues of trust and love to infect the way we make sense of our lives in general.” For many couples in affair recovery, learning to trust again is their most significant challenge. 

Can You Truly Forgive an Affair? 

The short and quick answer is yes; it is possible to truly forgive an affair. But short and quick solutions are not the most helpful when it comes to affair recovery. In truth, the path to forgiveness is paved with patience. Both partners in the relationship must be patient with themselves and with each other as they navigate difficult topics and heal their wounds. Ultimately, it’s best to avoid putting a timeline on your recovery process. Another point to recognize is that couples do not have to recover on their own. 

With the guidance of a licensed, specialized counselor, healing a relationship after infidelity is a much more peaceful and effective process. Throughout recovery, it’s often difficult for individuals to learn how to describe the pain of infidelity and express its impact on their personal well being. A counselor can help both parties express their feelings and unique perspectives in a healthy and productive way. They can also help you uncover reasons not to divorce after infidelity.

At Well Marriage Center, our counselors will work with you and your partner to examine the dynamics that lead to infidelity, and explore your relationship to develop a healthy solution for both partners. Our ultimate goal is to help you forgive and better understand one another so you both can achieve a higher level of relational health and forge a secure and loving relationship.

If you’re ready to begin again, take the first step and schedule your appointment today.


What Is the Most Effective Form of Couples Therapy?

If you’re like others seeking out couples therapy, you know relationships are hard work and sometimes need help. However, we believe they’re still worth fighting for! Many people who look into marriage counseling or couples therapy want to put in the work to improve their relationship but get scared that it’ll drive them and their partner further apart. And while there are no specific types of couple therapy that work best for everyone, there are several couples therapy techniques to try that can make your relationship stronger than ever.

Your therapist will draw from and combine these techniques (plus others!) in a customized plan that targets your relationship’s unique needs and goals. Let’s review some of the techniques.

What Kind of Therapy Is Best for Couples?

There is no one-size-fits-all couples therapy. In fact, the best couples therapy is adjusted to fit the needs of your relationship. That’s because each relationship, its past and challenges, and the people in it are unique. When you go to couples therapy, your therapist may decide to try out one or a combination of a few of these techniques to renew your relationship:

  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy: This technique works to break poor communication habits that hurt relationships, such as criticism and stonewalling, through methods such as love maps and positive perspectives. This strategy will improve communication between significant others and allow their relationship to reach a deeper level of trust and intimacy.
  • Developmental Model of Couples Therapy: Just like children have developmental stages, so do relationships. When partners are at different stages of intimacy, the relationship may start to feel disjointed. This technique works to reconnect partners and assist them in growing together towards common goals.
  • Imago Therapy: Our childhoods shape who we become as adults. That also means that our childhoods can affect how we approach our relationships, which sometimes causes disconnects between partners. This technique helps individuals separate past experiences from their current relationship, work through negative coping strategies, and emotionally mature to build trust and connection with their significant other.
  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: This technique suggests that human experiences center around emotions, that this is how we structure our lives. It aims to make the emotional bonds between a couple stronger so that they can withstand any issues that may arise now or down the road.
  • Behavioral Marital Therapy: Positive reinforcement can greatly influence how people act, whether they are actions that should be perpetuated or not. This technique teaches partners to positively reinforce good behavior so that communication between the two can improve.

You do not have to go into your first couples therapy session with a specific technique in mind. Your therapist is an expert who can determine the best route for you and your significant other to take to reinforce your relationship.

What Is the Goal of Couples Therapy?

The main goal of couples therapy is to rekindle the spark between you and your partner and to strengthen that relationship. It involves:

  • Practicing good communication
  • Building trust
  • Working through issues as a team
  • Breaking bad habits
  • Boosting intimacy
  • Learning how to work towards greater life goals together
  • Overcoming past individual complexities that harm your relationships

When looking for the most effective form of couples therapy, make sure to seek out a therapist with a pro-relationship mindset. That means that the therapist works to help you repair your relationship when possible. You won’t have to be scared of a relationship-friendly therapist encouraging you and your significant other to split up. At Well Marriage, our goal is to bring you closer together so you can achieve your relationship and life goals together.

That said, you and your partner should also have couples therapy goals and objectives in mind when beginning your sessions, goals that focus on building up the other person and the relationship overall, rather than goals to “win” couples therapy or to win the therapist over to your side. Seeking out couples therapy means that you’re willing to put in the work for your relationship. If you and your partner do that work, couples therapy is sure to work for you.

What Is the Success Rate of Couples Therapy?

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, over 75% of people who see a marriage or family therapist experience an improved relationship with their significant other. 90% of people report an improvement in their emotional health, and almost 66% experience an improvement in physical health. Couples therapy can work wonders for your relationship as long as you put in the effort and have the right therapist on your side. Finding a skilled therapist who specializes in working with couples can boost the odds of restoring and strengthening your romantic relationship.

Where Do You Find Couples Therapy That Works?

If you’re looking for the best couples therapy out there, Well Marriage Center has you covered. Our licensed therapists specialize in couples therapy and relationship wellness. Not only do they stay up-to-date with the latest techniques to bolster relationships, but they have also worked with over 15,000 couples, giving them the experience to create a plan that works best for you and your significant other. If you’re ready to reignite that passion and intimacy between you and your partner, reach out to our intake coordinator, Melinda.


Success Stories: Nadia and Liam

On the vulnerability of sharing success stories:

Sometimes a couple wants to share their story. We’re really appreciative of the vulnerability and trust such a feat takes, and we hope you appreciate these stories as well.

(Names have been changed to preserve the author’s privacy.)

If your relationship is struggling, or if you feel empowered to take preventative steps to keep your relationship in a good place, we’re here to work with all couples who are willing to put in the effort.

Great relationships can be built, rebuilt, and sustained.

Nadia and Liam

Mary asked me to be honest with this, so here goes: when we first came to see Mary, we were ready to separate.  I don’t think I had ever felt more disconnected with Liam.  We fought most of the time, and honestly, we hurt each other quite a bit.  I know I definitely felt hurt.  I honestly didn’t think we could make it.  I cannot describe in words what that feeling is like.

When Liam and I think back to where we were, we’re thankful for two main things.  First, that we went and saw someone instead of just giving up.  And not just someone, but someone who understood what was happening to us.

Mary told us she works primarily with couples and it was obvious she had experience.  Second, we could tell from the very beginning that she wanted us to make it.  It was just a few subtle comments she made in our first meeting that seemed hopeful – at least they gave us hope.  That turned out to be really important for us.

Throughout our time with Mary she really worked hard with us to make progress, to help us understand what was happening in our relationship and also what was happening to us individually.  She helped empower us to heal some old wounds that I never even realized were causing so much pain.  And she got us working right from the beginning to communicate better, which seems like a simple thing, but for a couple that feels so disconnected, it was a big deal for us.

Today we have better self-esteem which helps us to have a better connection with each other.  We have a stronger bond that we both feel.  We are incredibly grateful to Mary – I wish I could rave more freely about her.  What I’ll say is the greatest thing about her: she will work hard for your relationship in a way that helps you feel hope.  You won’t waste your time with her – she gets you moving right from the get-go in a very safe and supportive way.”


Support for Anxiety and Depression in Relationships

by Sharon Hamilton, LPC

I often work with couples that struggle to understand each other when one person suffers from anxiety or depression. This has become even more common since the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has caused an uptick in the number of people struggling with these conditions while having to adjust so many aspects of their lives in a very unpredictable and ever-changing environment.

Anxiety and depression are mental health disorders that are not the same as typical sadness, stress, or worry. They are defined primarily by the persistence and severity of the emotional distress someone experiences and they often create difficulties with functioning, including participation in family and romantic relationships. 

Making Relationships Harder

When anxiety or depression is present in a relationship it tends to make the common relationship challenge of effective communication even more difficult. One of the ways all of us attempt to understand or support someone we care about is by putting ourselves in their shoes, and trying to relate to how they are feeling. This isn’t always very effective in general, as different people feel differently in similar situations and circumstances due to their individual experiences and perspectives.

However, when anxiety or depression are involved it almost inevitably leaves one person feeling confused or frustrated and the other feeling misunderstood and unsupported. Simply put, it is very difficult for most people to understand the experiences of someone suffering from anxiety or depression without having either experienced it themselves or having been very close to someone in the past who was suffering from it (like a parent or sibling).

Often partners of someone struggling with anxiety will say things like, “there’s nothing to worry about” or “just stop thinking about it” or “it could be worse” or “just cheer up.” These things are taken by the anxious or depressed partner as dismissive, as they show a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of their feelings. 

There is Hope

Working with a couple who present with this dilemma is something I find very rewarding as a counselor. The process involves a few things, including helping the anxious or depressed partner recognize the difficulty their partner has in understanding them. It also involves helping educate both partners on the nature of anxiety and depression, what it is and what it isn’t, and how to communicate more effectively about it. I also help the couple identify what allows them to feel they are partners in coping with the real problem, the anxiety or depression, rather than seeing each other as the problem.

Depression and anxiety are really difficult for the person suffering, but when their partner is able to really understand and support them it tends to lead to more effective coping strategies and symptoms improving, particularly in combination with other treatment or support. 


What Are Common Goals In Couples Therapy?

The idea of going to marriage counseling can feel like the first domino falling for a failing relationship, but this is a tired and untrue sentiment associated with the practice. Deciding that therapy is the right move for the health of your relationship is one of the best actions you can take as a couple. Our team at Well Marriage Center puts our all into helping couples establish healthy practices they can implement every day so that you can find your way back to one another. 

Every couple we see is unique. Some come in with goals and a plan to attack the hurdles in their relationship, and others feel that something is off but want a professional to talk with. Whether you are in one of these camps or another altogether, there is hope for your unique relationship. Our aim with this blog is to cover the more common goals related to couples counseling so you can go to your sessions with confidence and a plan of action. 

What Is The Most Common Problem Addressed In Couples Therapy?

There is not a single problem that comes up more often than others. Normally, we see a combination of elements that has led a couple to our offices:

  • Communication Issues
  • Emotional Disconnect
  • Affairs & Infidelity
  • Intimacy Issues
  • Significant Life Events
  • Overcoming & Processing Trauma

What Are Examples Of Goals For Therapy?

Therapy goals help outline each session and create a structured path towards a happy relationship. Here are several examples our therapists see that can lead to successful results. 

  • Identify the Root Cause of the Problem: Couples may come to our office for one major issue or a host of irritations, but there is usually more under the surface that has led them to this point. Finding the root of an issue will shed light on all the related topics that both parties need to address. For example, you may be frustrated that your partner never plans anything for both of you to do. But perhaps at the root, you find there is an imbalance of relationship responsibilities that neither of you has addressed head-on. 
  • Better Understand Your Partner’s Perspective: Everyone has a lot going on in their life, and it is easy to lose sight of one another. Therapy creates an environment where both of you sit and hear each other honestly. A past situation that seemed trivial to you could have had a profound emotional impact on your partner, turning a molehill into a mountain. Coming to counseling to understand each other more deeply is a fundamental goal that is a great indicator of success. 
  • Enhance Intimacy: Intimacy is vital, as we thrive on close personal relationships with one another. However, intimacy is often solely thought of as a sexual relationship between two people. Couples counseling will expose you to other types of intimacy, such as experiential, emotional, and intellectual intimacy. Couples can have great sexual intimacy, but if the other types are not being met, your relationship could lack key elements of trust and vulnerability.
  • Achieve Better Communication: It is not uncommon for someone to feel blindsided by couples therapy. In some cases, one party may be ignoring important issues and feel that the relationship is fine. This lack of communication is something consistent sessions can fix over time. Keeping what is bothering you bottled up will lead to festering resentment towards your partner. Therapy can teach you healthy and straightforward communication methods that help avoid meaningless arguments. 

Is It Normal For Unmarried Couples To Go To Counseling?

It is absolutely normal for unmarried couples to go to counseling. Regardless of your marital status, holding off on discussing issues can lead to other, more significant problems. This is only one of the many stigmas around couples counseling that we are working to do away with here at Well Marriage Center. Additionally, we believe that heading into couples therapy even before problems arise can help you build a foundation that lasts.

Practicing healthy communication through therapy at any stage in a relationship enables couples to be better equipped when challenges do arise. Think of it like this—couples therapy is like taking care of your body by going to the gym. You don’t start going after you pull a muscle or break a bone. You go before problems start to appear to ensure that you are capable of surviving, healing, and then moving on.

What Is The Best Therapy For Relationship Problems? 

There are many different forms of couples therapy that counselors will attempt to implement to fix complex relationship issues. Some counselors will keep divorce on the table early on as an option for the couple. That is not how our team sees a successful change for a couple. Well Marriage Center believes that couples enter counseling because they want to get their relationship back to a point where respect, love, and affection are front and center. The best way to achieve this is through what we call pro-relationship counseling. A pro-relationship counselor always advocates for saving, healing, and restoring your relationship. Our team uses clinically proven methods and is committed to avoiding divorce or separation whenever possible.

Well Marriage Center: Where Happily Ever After Begins

Your relationship is special, which is why we refrain from cookie-cutter questions like “what seems to be the problem?” Over our 30+ years of experience with over 15,000 couples, we’ve repeatedly seen our pro-relationship and strengths-based approach work. When we meet with a couple, we start with an extended session (90 minutes) and begin our time with a structured relationship strength-and-wellness assessment. Our counselors are committed to helping you build a brighter relationship future. 

Get started here to put the spark back in your relationship. 


How Long Do Couples Usually Go to Counseling?

Challenging issues  in a relationship can be tough to work through on your own. And research tells us that it takes over two and a half years before couples attempt to address their concerns through marriage counseling. But is counseling really worth it? The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy estimates that the marriage counseling success rate is about 70% and, in some instances, the longer you attend counseling, the higher your chances of success. Of course, the average length of marriage counseling is different for every couple, but ultimately you should expect 10 – 25 sessions for success. Each counseling plan should be tailored to your specific needs. 

At Well Marriage Center, we believe that creating a customized plan around your goals can help you and your significant other discover a renewed, more mature, intimacy and partnership. In this blog, we’re going to talk about marriage counseling (also known as couples therapy) and how long you should expect your sessions to last. 

How Long Does Couples Therapy Take to Work?

Couples therapy lasts between 10 and 25 sessions on average. A typical therapy plan will most likely have you attend more frequently at the beginning of your counseling (around once a week) and lessen over time (to around once a month). Depending on your progress, the number of sessions will be determined by your therapist. After deciding what would be beneficial for you as a couple and what your end goals are, counseling could last up to a  few years to complete successfully. Don’t let this be daunting, however. Healing and growing  your marriage takes commitment, but has proven successful for over 12,000 couples with Well Marriage CenterOne of the biggest predictors of marriage counseling success is the experience of your therapist, and our therapists have devoted their careers to helping couples like you.

To make the most of your time, you should follow these actions to increase the likelihood of success:

  1. Set personal goals to: 
  • Address what you’re bringing to the table
  • How they impact your relationship
  • What steps you can take to acknowledge your shortcomings
  • Ways to change your behaviors. 

Marriage counseling is not  a place to point fingers at your partner. Remember that they will be taking the same steps as you.Reliving blame can perpetuate toxic cycles instead of finding a way forward.

  1. Find vulnerability in the safe space so you can be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Holding back feelings of anger, annoyance, resentment, helplessness, and embarrassment helps no one—especially yourself. Telling your partner how you feel might open new doors for stronger communication.
  2. Give the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume your partner is being insincere or dishonest. Part of accepting and acknowledging this is recognizing your intentions and insecurities. 
  3. Understand that partnership isn’t making each other whole. Be a “whole” person independent of your significant other. Relying on your partner to meet all of your needs for happiness puts a lot of pressure on them, which can lead to anger and resentment, rather than love and support.
  4. Put in the time and effort your partnership requires. Rather than counting down the sessions, go into each one with an open mind and willingness to participate. You won’t find success without putting in the work.

When it comes to marriage counseling and what to expect, Well Marriage Center likes to address the following first: 

  • interrupt toxic cycles you may be stuck in (arguments, high conflict, blame game, criticisms)
  • generate a little momentum and spark (disconnected, sexless couples, cold relationships)
  • address trauma that your relationship may be experiencing (infidelity, loss, old or new trauma)

Making progress with these goals are significant signs marriage counseling is working. Seeing improvement is great! Depending on your goals as a couple and as individuals, you may work out a longer plan with your therapist.  You should  expect to attend all of the sessions laid out in your initial settings as part of your larger plan to really introduce and implement new techniques in your relationship and make sure they stick.

Is Couples Counseling a Bad Thing?

Absolutely not! Attending counseling does not mean your partnership has failed, it means you want it to succeed. Couples counseling is an important solution to working through issues with your partner. While we would all like to avoid confronting the faults in our relationship, marriage counseling can be a beneficial and positive experience. Not only that, but investing in couples counseling is important to show you’re committed to making the relationship work. A good therapist will make you feel comfortable as a couple with a safe space to voice your feelings and guide you through any rough patches you might encounter. Counseling can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

It’s also important to note that therapy can still be a resource after the initial reasons for visiting are resolved. After therapy, many couples work yearly visits with their therapist into their long term plans to promote commitment, accountability, and communication. Going to therapy while the relationship is in a good place can be beneficial too, as it lays positive groundwork for the future. As part of our mission to help all couples build a better future together, Well Marriage Center even offers therapeutic premarital and dating services for those who are in committed relationships regardless of their legal status.

Marriage Counseling Built for You

At Well Marriage Center, we know marriage counseling actually works and we have the numbers to prove it! Even in situations when the couple believed it would be too late or the relationship was too damaged, we’ve seen therapy turn it around in thousands of our clients. We make time for you to work through your strengths and weaknesses as a couple so we can learn about you and help us develop a plan specifically for you. 

If you’re ready to take the next steps for your marriage, visit our website. You can get started by filling out our intake form and getting in contact with our intake coordinator, Melinda. 


Marriage Bonding Analogy

I want to pass along a wonderful email from one of our clients after their very first visit with us.  He wrote it himself and gave us permission to share it. Marriage analogies are hit and miss but this one seems like a home run. We shared it at staff meeting and I think many of our counselors are sharing it with their couples. This comes from a man with basically 20 years in the construction industry and I’m grateful for creative people like him who can help simplify broader concepts. I hope it’s helpful for your marriage…

“Just a note of thanks to Mary today for our first session. It was nice to have an outsider’s view into our marriage, and I wanted to share something with you all that I wrote this morning just before heading out of DC for our appointment.
Take care and thanks so much for being here.”


The Bonding Capacity of Humans

Intimacy and Love are qualitative forms of expression that have some interesting similarities to the bonding of adhesives. This may not be the most romantic way of discussing this topic, but as I have been in construction for 19 years now, I can’t help but notice the patterns.

When we don’t like something, but cannot get rid of it, we often say we are “stuck with it,” but if we want to stay with someone, the closeness that is represented by that statement also has a bond associated with it.

If you have ever tried to apply tape to a dirty surface, you know that the dirt sticks to the tape, and the tape becomes useless. If you don’t know how to prepare the surface for adhesion, you are wasting time, energy, and money.

In order for two people to “stick together,” both people need to be “bondable.”

We have to want someone to be attached to us, and they must want someone attached to them. This is not a law that must be submitted to, but simply a process that needs to be understood if you want a better relationship.

Our “bond-ability” can change over time, and is most often heavily influenced by how we interact with each other. It’s not just a one-time event that defines our attachment to each other, nor can it be defined or maintained by a legal contract or any other means of authority.

On the contrary, the bonding capacity of humans is an ongoing, dynamic and iterative process where the results of prior interactions feed back into the bonding equations of the future, as they have a direct impact on how we allow others to stick to us and how much we want to stick to others.