Discovering an affair is never easy. Fessing up to committing infidelity is also a challenge. But once it’s been found out, there is no going back to normal. Most people are left feeling overwhelmed by emotions like guilt, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Sometimes, marriages implode almost immediately. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you and your partner are willing to work through the pain of infidelity, you can save your marriage. How do you do that, though? Does marriage counseling help after infidelity?
Let’s find out.
Are Marriage Counseling and Infidelity Counseling the Same?
The short answer is sometimes. Marriage counseling and infidelity counseling do cover a lot of the same subjects, such as learning how to communicate with one another better, overcoming obstacles in the relationship, and building a sense of understanding and trust.
However, marriage counselors are specifically trained to improve the relationship of a couple. An infidelity counselor, on the other hand, has received specialized training to deal with the pain and grief associated with an affair. However, most marriage counseling services can double as infidelity therapy. Who you decide to speak to is, ultimately, your choice.
When it comes to healing from infidelity, both marriage and infidelity counseling can help.
Does Marriage Counseling Help After Infidelity?
Any form of marriage counseling is going to up your chances of surviving infidelity. That said, you and your partner are going to have to be committed to it for at least several visits. Recovering from infidelity isn’t a one-and-done deal.
Infidelity therapists will take you through phases of counseling that help both parties overcome the emotions they feel. They help you through PTSD, rebuild trust in one another, and teach you how to communicate more effectively.
Studies on the lasting effects of infidelity therapy have shown that couples who attend infidelity counseling have the same level of happiness and stability five years after their counseling as couples who never had an affair. Moreover, couples who visit marriage counseling after an affair have a reduced risk of psychological trauma.
Therefore, it is safe to say that talking to a therapist after an affair is the best way to save your marriage.
Benefits of Marriage Counseling After an Affair
One of the main goals of attending infidelity counseling is to re-establish trust. The other goal is to restore intimacy to the relationship. Both trust and intimacy are required for the marriage to continue on.
Professional help also has numerous benefits along the way to these end goals, including:
- Unbiased advice
- Talking about problems in the relationship
- Learning how the affair happened
- Unlocking old traumas that could hinder healing and progress
- Dealing with substance abuse
- Coping with an affair when you have children
- Developing a plan to move forward
The therapist is there to help guide the conversations and give you insight to reasons behind certain behaviors or actions. You need an unbiased and educated opinion to see some of the issues, because love and trauma can make us blind.
Having a therapist working with you through the aftermath of infidelity is a blessing, because they will not take sides. They will allow both parties to air their grievances, work through the hurt, and delve into the reasons behind the betrayal.
This is important when you’re trying to figure out where the relationship got derailed. Whoever was involved with the affair will be encouraged to speak the truth, if not for their hurt partner, but also for the health of the relationship. Infidelity counseling can play a pivotal role in helping you identify the signs of trouble within the marriage, as well as give you tools to confront them in the future.
What to Consider Before Starting Marriage Counseling?
Once an affair has been discovered and you decide to keep the marriage going, don’t wait to seek professional help. Opening up to someone you don’t know after an affair is going to be difficult, but you have to remember that, with a therapist’s guidance, that pain will be soothed much faster.
Attempting to recover from infidelity alone is going to be riddled with pitfalls. This is especially true when a truth doesn’t come out and trust can’t be rebuilt.
During counseling, you also need to be ready to own up to your mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you have been betrayed or had the affair. You want to look at every angle of the issue; that often means answering challenging and awkward questions, such as the frequency of sex, issues in the bedroom, the severity of arguments, and whether you are both still attracted to one another.
Also, keep in mind that this is a commitment. The therapist might want to see you both together once a week or ask you to come in separately. Finding a therapist who is right for you, such as one who understands the effects of trauma on the brain, or who is a specialist in infidelity recovery, can make the sessions work better for your situation.
Saving Your Marriage is Possible
Does marriage counseling help after infidelity? That’s a resounding yes. Having someone to talk to, who understands the issue without taking sides, is a huge benefit to working through the pain you feel. Licensed therapists have the tools to show you a clear path—one that leads to your marriage being stronger than ever.
Looking for help after infidelity? Consider Couples Academy, a program designed by an infidelity recovery specialist. Couples Academy provides you and your partner with skills for strengthening your marriage and working through problems in a healthy way. If you’d like to learn more, fill out the contact form today.